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Tutorials

Welcome to my tutorial page!
People tell me all the time they don't know how I do what I do. My artwork sometimes looks so real I hear strangers insist it is a photo or a printed image/photograph. I am going to demonstrate some steps on how I create an illustration.
Let's start with a cat portrait in pastels.

Evacuation Cats Tutorial

Final illustration

Stages

Source Photo

Stage 1:sketch basic shapes

Stage 2: Fill in base colors.

Stage 3: Layer detailed strokes.

Supplies


  • Soft Pastels
  • Hard pastels
  • pastel pencils
  • paint brush
  • pastel paper
  • stump
  • Fixatif

Pastel Cats Tutorial

 

Workspace

You want to begin by finding a nice flat workplace where you won't have distractions or interruptions while working.  We don't want your pet walking over the work area or destroying what you are laying down.

Pastels Information

Pastels are a beautiful medium to use on your projects.  I like to use hard and soft pastel sticks as well as pastel pencils for final details.  You also have amazing choices when it comes to paper selection or materials you want to draw on.  I like a paper or surface with a little grit or roughness for pastels.  You don't want a smooth paper for this project.

Fixatif

If you are going to use chalky pastels like the ones I suggest, you will need to buy a workable fixatif and a permanent fixatif.  Pastels, like chalk easily rub away and smudge.  The workable fixatif will keep the pastels from rubbing off but still lets it be editable.  The final fixatif sets your final piece and protects it from smudges.  Both of these fixatifs have strong fumes so they should only be used outside or in well ventilated areas.  I prefer to give it a quick spray outside in my backyard because the fumes are too strong for me.  Just hold the paper 12 to 20 inches away and give a light spray and than let air dry.  Do this in stages while you are working on the project.

Process

Start by drawing in your borders. I like to have a 1 inch border around medium size images and a 2 inch border around large size images.

Next it is time to sketch in your image. Lightly use a pencil to sketch in the outline of your image.

Once sketching is complete, you can start filling in your base colors. Find the lightest color in the fur of the animal and cover major areas of the animal with this color. Blend in a few colors of your base until you find the best blend. This is also when I lay down my shadows and shading. All of the fill should be soft and blended, almost smudgy looking.

Once your base colors are down, bring your project outside and spray it with the workable fixatif. Let air dry for 10 minutes or until dry.

Now it is time to work on the eyes. I actually paint in the eye by breaking the pastel into a powder and mixing with water. You can than paint the mixture on with a brush. Practice on a scratch piece of paper first. If you are uncomfortable with this method, you can also draw in the eyes using pastel pencils. This way you will have more control of the pastel.

Once the eyes are done, begin layering small strokes to make the fur. Fur has many different colors in it. Especially cat fur, so make sure you use similar colors and begin to layer it down in small tiny strokes.

Once your portrait is complete, remember to spray it with the fixatif. Let it air dry.

Congrats, you have completed this tutorial.