My latest project involved taking four sketches of big cats that were drawn using charcoal: a tiger. a lion, a leopard, and a cheetah and redoing them in color. Here are the charcoal cats and here are the cats in color.
charcoal sketches of a tiger, lioness, cheetah and leopard
Drawings in color of a tiger, lioness, cheetah and a leopard
Do I have a favorite?
The answer is no as they all have different expressions and characteristics. The tiger looks chilled, the lioness looks as if it is thinking about something important, the cheetah is clearly on a mission and the leopard still looks as though he is startled!
I really enjoyed drawing them!
But what next!
As using shades of orange for the tiger was new to me in contrast to the usual of using browns, blacks, and greys, I think I will now go and explore the color orange.
I completed the lioness and I am very happy with the way she turned out.
Progress then turned to the other three cats. I began with the leopard that had a startled expression. Having continued to layer up the fur and refine the detail I thought the expression would soften. It hasn’t… it still has a startled look. At first, I admit I was a bit unsure. But now I am now OK with it. It is good to capture emotion within a drawing rather than always portraying a perceived perfection. The expression did provoke discussion which is always welcome.
Portrait of a Lioness
Leopard work in progress
A nearly finished Tiger
Two images showing the early stages of drawing a cheetah
After good progress, I then did some more work on the tiger.
Thankfully with the inclusion of the eyes, it is now looking a lot less ghoulish. Usually, I am building up the texture of brown, black or grey fur and therefore combining all the different oranges, yellows, and reds with cinnamon and terracotta to build a plush tiger coat has been quite a challenge.
Being so engrossed in this, I did not do my usual of rotating between drawings. I find rotating between different drawings worthwhile as it lets you figure out where to go and what to do next. Not taking that time to consider a drawing can lead to mistakes. This nearly happened with the tiger as the area around the mouth was in danger of looking like he was recovering from an anesthetic after a trip to the dentist!
As well as that near miss, the result of not rotating between drawings is that no further progress has been made on the cheetah.
I will now give the tiger some space and will continue with the cheetah and the Leopard.
It was interesting drawing this male lion with the scars across his nose and the droopy eye suggesting that he had experienced an eventful life.
Did he get the scars fighting off rivals as he defended his position as leader of the pride?
Was he successful?
Or was he defeated by a younger, stronger lion that took his place?
I had quite a task in drawing him!
It was a time-consuming project filling the entire sheet of pastel mat!
But I enjoyed it!
Looking back at my drawings it seems that all I have done is draw lions.
Prowling lioness coming towards you
Head drawing of an angry lioness.
Lioness walking towards you
I do like lions. Unlike a lot of cats, they are sociable living in groups and are fascinating for it. But I like other big cats too! They too have their own distinguishing features.
It’s just that I have not drawn them yet. Quite why that is, I am not sure!
Anyway, it is time to rectify that.
After searching for suitable source material, I have come up with some sketches of potential subjects.
As I already have a good reference image for a lioness, it seems a shame not to draw her in color. And, I also fancy the challenge.
After that, I will draw the cheetah as the reference image is a good one showing good clear detail. Her expression is brilliant as she is clearly on a mission!
As for the Leopard and the tiger, the reference images were not the best. I will keep looking for the right source images and once identified and the necessary permissions obtained I will attempt to draw them too.
In the meantime here is the first work in progress for the lioness.