Toad Hollow Studio's Drawing Tutorials And Classes by Carol Rosinski

Buddy on the Blanket

The First Steps

A look over my shoulder as draw a sleeping tuxedo cat.

This piece was created on plate finish 2 ply Bristol Board with graphite pencils. I used a value scale system of 1 to 10 with "1" as white and "10" as black. I refer to these values as numbers as I talk about the steps of the drawing.

step one of cat drawingMy first step was to make a detailed line drawing on tracing paper. I put in as many details as possible.

I transferred the line drawing to my drawing paper using a sheet of transfer paper I'd made myself by hatching over a thin sheet of paper with the side of a soft pencil

It's very easy to dent paper when tracing a drawing by pressing too hard with your pencil. Dents in the paper can mar a drawing, so I always try to avoid them by using a light touch during this step.

step two of cat drawingI filled in the darkest areas (10's and 9's) with a light hatch using a 4B pencil. If I had completely darkened those areas at this stage of the drawing, a lot of the graphite would have fallen off and they could have smudged badly as I worked on the rest of it. I put some dark values in those areas, though, so my eye would have clues about them, helping me to correctly adjust the other values as I worked.

To draw his forehead whiskers, I hatched around their outlines with tiny strokes of my pencil point. Some of them would need to have hard edges and some would need soft edges, but I kept all the whisker outlines a little blurred and fuzzy at this point.

Since the values in his face, chest, front leg and blanket were going to be very light, I lightened the lines of the original line drawing by tapping them lightly with a kneaded eraser.

I used a small brush that I'd dipped into a little powdered graphite to fill in the 2 and 3 values in his face, chest, front leg, and blanket. I used a soft rubber stump tool to smudge in the slightly darker 4 values. Then I used an eraser to lift out accidental smudges.

Since I could now see my composition better, I decided I would not need all the detail I had drawn over his back, so I erased that.

step three of cat drawingHis facial features were the most important part of the drawing, so I made sure they were in the right locations and then carefully drew them. I worked on this part of the drawing upside down to give myself a new perspective and to increase my observation ability.

To keep the blanket he was sleeping on very soft looking, I used a rubber stump and pencil with a very soft touch to create the shadows there. I kept the graduations very smooth looking, too.

"White" areas are usually a lot darker than they seem, so I took some time to make sure the light values in those areas were correct.

At this point, it felt like the drawing started to take on some "weight." It started to look as if he was actually making a dent in the blanket he was napping on, and I could almost hear him purring.

Carol Rosinski
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