My favourite subjects to draw are birds and animals. I use mainly colour pencils but occasionally dabble in pastels, graphite and charcoal. Layering the colour is important to build the texture whether it be the fur in an animal, the feathers of a bird or the skin of a rhino. To achieve this a paper with some texture is required.
Cartridge paper was the surface I started with. It has a bit of texture or tooth as it is sometimes described. I found that the depth of colour in a bird’s plumage could be rendered reasonably well as in this Coal Tit.
Drawing animals with thick fur did, however, require something with more tooth. Pastelmat was the paper I started using with pastels but I have found it works equally well with colour pencils. That is so long as you are happy to use a lot of pencils. This black German Shepherd dog is drawn on an A3 sheet and there is a lot of red, blue and even purple in the fur. It took a lot of time to get to this stage but having looked at it again, I think it could do with some more layers of colour to the fur around the neck. So far it has been worth it and hopefully, with the addition of some more layers, it will look even better.
In contrast, I will not fill all the tooth of the paper completely for this drawing of a rhino as the roughness coming through in my opinion contributes to the texture of the animal’s skin.
A few weeks back I did try a velour style of paper using pastels. It was a drawing of an otter that I never finished as it just seemed odd drawing on what felt like a carpet tile. Now with a bit more experience of filling the tooth of a paper, I will go back to it. On reflection, the drawing does not look as bad as it did a couple of months back.
The main challenge will be to complete it in such a way that the fur looks wet as if the otter has emerged from the water. At the moment, it looks like a dragon with scales. That will be the next challenge.