Gulp. The big leap – I finally did something with a full body. And… the body is better than the head. I had to redo the eyes about six times to get them to this point. It’s not finished – the darkest values need to be kept at. Using my Pentel GraphGear 500 0.9mm 2B. About an hour, probably a little more, to get to this point. So not long.

Black bear with a body

And here he is about 30 minutes later. Better, but not enough mid tones. Looks like I need to get out the value key for more practice.

Bear shaded in all its glory

Trio of bear heads. Expanding, slowly expanding… for some reason (note the size difference between left-most and right-most). It’s from the exact same photograph. GraphiGear again.

The first head started life as line art and looked like complete shite. I mean, it belonged on one of those cheesy child-oriented sites where kids (ages 5-8) learn how to draw happy animals. A little shading started to make it look like a sketch.

The gray noise to the right of the pic is from the scanner.
A trio of bear heads

Fox studies

So Matt at Drawing Tutorials Online spends a lot of time talking about

  • basic shapes
  • measuring
  • values
  • shading
  • line

Solid basics, all. He does it with human figures, but you can apply it to anything. And what he says makes a difference to all of the following.

My colored fox (no shapes at all, here – I just followed the patches of color on his coat):

Fox with several colors

My jumping fox – the bottom two I was drawing the darkest shadows only and looking at value changes (yes, that’s a mouse to the left from a sketch of an arctic fox hunting, and that’s handwriting in the lower right):

Three foxes

And my little fox faces and tail. These may not be the best three drawings I’ve ever done, but I probably like them more than just about anything else I’ve ever done – ever:

Two fox faces and a fox tail

General practice

Snarling wolf face

This is worth including because of the flaw it started with. The nose was completely wrong – so I kept changing it and measuring it and altering the depth of lines and erasing – a real pain in the arse. Then I stopped and noticed the chin was wrong as well – presto, as soon as I started adding weight to the chin the nose started to automatically realign. Problem solved (okay, I know the nose is still wrong, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was).

Standing warthog

I never knew warthogs had such wonderful ears. His eyes and tusks are wrong, but this was all about different shading for the shadows. So I don’t care that they are off.

No matter how hard I tried, this mongrel just kept smiling

Stupid smiling wolf. To be fair, I don’t believe the photographer knows what a wolf is, and so I’m dubious about their claim. I think this is a dog enjoying some quality time with its owners, rather than a rapacious creature from our sexual nightmares.

Standing full body wolf

I decided to upload this because it started out as a bunch of messy lines. I didn’t intend to flesh him out, I was just after basic forms for his shape, but the more I measured him up and got the balance and weight of the squares and ovals that make him up, the more the picture drew itself.

Bored gargoyle

This was done by drawing all the shadows first. A surprising approach that was fascinating to see unfold the whole.

I had done an earlier sketch of this most famous of gargoyles that was a lot better – except I had included his hand (the original chap has his head in his hands) and it looked like complete shite. I needed to do some serious measuring. So this version has some measuring, and excludes the shiteful hand.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Shading techniques

A few shading techniques described here:


  • both good for doing quickly


  • most organic – avoids leaving a line, excellent for non-porous surfaces (think porcelain)

Wrapping the form

  • gives shapes volume

Cross Hatching

  • both old school, can be effective if used judiciously, the latter is very slow to do

Note the use of a consistent light source/direction throughout (the little arrows) – what an artiste.

Value changes & two point perspective

This gate is a quick study in value changes – depth comes from the contrast between dark and light. In this pic, the lighter area is actually the deepest part of the sketch – a little different from usual (allegedly).

Oh, and by the way – don’t try to use an F to get a dark line because you’ll just scratch holes in the paper. Use a bloody 6B or something and like magic the lines are dark. I can be such a dumb arse.

There’s somewhere around 40 lines used to construct this – as in, 40 used as guides, not what is drawn to make the little house. There are two flaws: The first is that I did not draw/close/construct the base of the house, and I think that has thrown the right (hidden) wall out of shape; the second is that I had a chimney disaster. I think I saved it (it looks correct) but it’s seen better days.