When I start to draw any animal or person I draw the eyes in first. I want them looking back at me while working on the drawing – besides it creeps me out to see empty eye sockets! I use mostly Conte sticks for the eyes. I have marked the pupils on the cat and for the iris I’ve put a ring of green around the edges even though this cat has rather dark golden eyes. If you look at eyes, even yours, they are never just one color. They have flecks of many colors giving them depth and sparkle.
Here I have darkened the outline around the eyes also with black then used several golds, oranges, browns and white to fill in the color of the eyes and put in the reflections. I also have taken a taupe brown color and added a shadow across the top of each eye – this sets the eye in the socket and gives you the impression of an eye lid creating a shadow on the eye itself. At this time also I have marked areas of white in the fur.
I decided I just want a plain background so it won’t compete with the cat and before going too far with the cat I’ve added some background color. This will help the cat to be seated well in the drawing and eliminate having to go back and "color" around the cat to put the background in. I have also added more darks with a Rembrandt black pastel and put some of the background
colors in the cat.
It is about at this point that I always wonder if I’m doing things right because it is at that ugly stage. I continue to add several shades of browns, beige and white to the cat forming the tufts and patterns in the fur.
Pastels can’t be mixed like paint. You just add layer on top of layer letting the under layer show through. So I continute to put cools next to warm colors, darks against light, creating depth and textures. I don’t blend too much either but do occasionally rub the color down in to the velour. This will dull the color a bit but more color can be added – at least up to a point. Eventually the paper won’t accept any more color because the pastels have filled the "tooth" of the paper. If you find you need to add a bit more color when the paper won’t accept any more you can take a small stiff brush and rough up the surface and remove some of the pastel. One time I even took a vacuum cleaner hose to another drawing to remove some of the pastel – it worked but you need to be very careful!
I have continued to add bits of color all over the cat. I will continue to do this building up color for the fur and create texture.
More updates to come later. . .