Nexi at Time Nexus is an amazing photographer here on WP, and she posted a link for me yesterday featuring lots of great cat photos. One cat in particular really drew me – I’m guessing its name is Snowy, but Nexi will let me know if I need to change it.
I started with a preliminary sketch in graphite (a B pencil) in a drawing journal. This is a Canson sketchbook called Universal Sketch. The paper barely has any tooth and is lightweight (65 lb.). (Don’t let that number fool you though, because it’ll even take a light watercolor wash!) Kirk at Dumb Sketch Daily recommended it to me, and it really is great. There are 100 pages and it’s like $3.50 at Blick. You can’t beat it. It’s given me the incentive I needed to really draw, draw, draw. I bought some expensive sketchbooks when I was just starting out – there are a couple I still haven’t used at all yet! They can be a little intimidating when you’re afraid of wrecking them! I find this Canson book to be perfect, because I won’t hesitate to just pick it up and draw something – even if I think I’m taking on something way too challenging and headed for a drawing fail. But I digress!
I was pretty happy with the initial quick sketch, so I switched to pen and moved over to the journal I use for my daily sketching. The mixed media journal has a fairly rough/toothy surface. So if I were going for a very finished look and wanted to do a really detailed pen study, I probably would have chosen a different paper entirely, something like a smooth Bristol. But in this case, I wasn’t sure at all how it would turn out in pen, so I just went for it. I used to be really afraid of drawing in pen, but I find two things really helpful: 1) a very light touch saves the day (and for me, that’s with most any medium) and 2) a very fine nib goes a long way to help you hide mistakes that inevitably crop up.
I put this Copic drawing pen on my Christmas list, and one of the artists at Blick was kind enough to send me a free sample of the refillable one as well. (Have I mentioned I just love Blick?!) Anyway, these pens are golden. The tip on this one is very fine, measuring just 0.05 mm. The smallest I had discovered prior was the Micron 005, which measures at 0.20 mm, so this gives you a much finer line, perfect for animal fur. (These pens also come in a 0.03 mm size, even smaller!) Needless to say, I’ve ordered a set of the refillable Copic pens, because I’m finding neither the Micron nor the Pitt pens last as long as it seems they should. They are more expensive initially, but I expect to save lots of money in the long run, as the nib and ink can both be replaced/refilled.
After the ink sketch was done, I went back in with several shades of Polychromos colored pencils to add some color in the eye and nose areas. What a beautiful white cat! He/she really was a joy to draw, and I want to thank Nexi once again for posting those terrific cat photos. Tune in tomorrow, you never know what I’ll be cooking up next. Peace and Happy Weekend to all!