We draw a wolf

Do you like photorealistic digital pictures, but not enough time or skills?
If you answered yes, then this is a lesson for you!

Avoiding learning digital painting is stupid. It is this direction that will help you to explore deeper Photoshop, an understanding of lighting and perspective, as well as provide new general knowledge in art and design!

Simply put, if you study digital painting, other aspects of your work will benefit.

In this tutorial I will tell you about one of the methods for drawing furs in Photoshop.

In order to practice and speed up the process of work, we will use a photo with a wolf.

Let’s start!



Step 1

In order to start work, we need, first of all, to find a high-quality source (reference) with high resolution and size. On the original photo should be clearly visible details and clear outlines of the main object. You can use the image I found on DevianTarT, the link is provided in the source code for the lesson.

Follow the link and save the photo to a convenient folder, and then open the image in Photoshop.

Activate the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L)), in the advanced settings, select “Add to selected area“(” Add to selection “). Using this tool, draw the outline of a wolf to create a selection of the animal’s body.

In most cases, I prefer other contouring tools, but in this lesson, it is well suited Lasso (Lasso Tool (L), as it allows to imitate as much as possible the motion of creating an outline (similar to the one you would use when drawing on paper with a pencil).

After you finish painting the wolf, your outline will look similar to the image below.

In principle, we simply set the boundary between the body of the animal and the background. Please note that the photo source doesn’t see the paws of the wolf completely, but when creating the contour I drew them.

Now create a new layer. Activate the tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G)) and gray fill the selection. In order to get the main color closest to the natural color of the fur, you can activate the tool Pipette (Color Picker (I))) and select the desired shade of gray on the wolf’s body. Change the name of this layer to “Base”.

Lower Opacity (Opacity) layer “Basic” to 25%. This will allow you to see a photo sample. Create a new layer on top of the “Base” layer. Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool), in the settings you can set the most convenient type of brush for you (for example, standard round) and then draw the outlines of the muzzle, paws, tail and ears. Do not go into detail drawing at this stage! Name the resulting layer “Sketch”.

Restore the base layer to 100% opacity. Now an important nuance! From this step, you do not have to use the original photo for the outline! Of course you can look at the original image, but not draw on top of it! This is very important, otherwise, you just will not learn anything!

Use the tool Frame (Crop Tool (C)) and increase the size of the working canvas. Drag the photo with the wolf to any convenient corner of the canvas, so that you can look at it and work further on the created sketch.

Step 2

Create another layer on top of all the previous ones and name it “Color.” Activate the tool Pipette (Color Picker (I))) and take color swatches from a photo with a wolf. This layer will serve as a palette.

Create a new layer between the “Basic” and “Sketch” layers. Then right-click on this layer and in the submenu select “Create clipping mask“(Create Clipping Mask). Further, all that you will draw or add to this layer will remain within the outline of the layer” Basic “. Cool, yes?

Name the new layer “Light and Shadow”. Activate the tool Brush (Вrush Tool) and set the settings that are listed below in the screenshot.

One of the keys to success when mixing colors is the small value of the brush parameter. Pressure (Flow). Lower the opacity of the “Sketch” layer so that it does not distract you. And then, draw the main darkened and clarified areas, standing on the layer “Light and Shadow.” When drawing, look at the photo source and use the color palette created.

Step 3

Have you noticed that many pictures look good at the sketch stage? But with further work, when there is more detail, if you zoom in on the image it will already look not so good. In order that you could add more elements and make more detailed drawings, set the initial size of the image larger than it will be in the final.

To change the size of the picture go to Image – Image Size (Image – Image Size). Make sure that you set a resolution of at least 300 pixels / inch (you can try working with a higher resolution if your computer allows it), also you can see the dimension of your work, which can be changed.

Step 4

Look carefully at the wolf. Now you have to mentally break the animal’s fur coat into layers in order to understand how to draw wool fibers, in which direction.

Activate Brush (Brush Tool) and set a small diameter for the tool. Sharp strokes mark the hairs, which will become reference points in the further drawing. When sketching, use different shades of color from the palette.

To draw short hairs, or those areas of hair that are raised and we do not see them in full length, use the parameter in the brush settings. Scattering (Scattering).

In the figure below, I marked in green the places on the wolf’s body in which it is best to use the “scattered” brush.

Step 5

When the fur is thick and long, it is not evenly distributed. There are places where it bends, which changes the overall contour. This is very important, as many beginning artists forget about it and as a result they get not fur, but something similar to tow. Activate round Brush (Brush Tool), choose a dark color with a shade of blue or greenish and paint the places where the wool is bent.

Then select the main color of the wool in the palette and draw it over the planned bends in the direction of hair growth.

Change the brush color to a lighter one and paint the hairs to add more volume. As a hint, you can use the picture from step №4. Light fur should be painted on the edge of the areas marked in green.

Step 6

It is also necessary to add details on the wolf’s face — nose and eyes. Use round, soft Brush (Brush Tool) dark shades and create a sketch.

Increase the rigidity of the Brush (Brush Tool) and add light glare to the eyes of the animal, using a light blue color. Draw highlights on a new layer. Set the blending mode for this layer to Linear light (Linear Light). Set the layer opacity at your discretion.

Using the same method, draw light highlights on the nose to make it look wet. Do not forget to draw a dot where the mustache grow.

Step 7

Create a new layer. Set the brush color to black and paint the claws on the paws. Do not forget that the wolf is a wild animal and its claws are not perfectly even, in some places may be broken off.

Step 8

Go to the “Basic” layer. Activate the tool Finger (Smudge Tool). Walk along the contour of the wolf, blowing wool. Also, use this tool to mix the fur on the wolf’s body.

Step 9

Create a combined copy of all the layers with the wolf, except the layer with the palette and background. Create a duplicate of the merged layer (Ctrl + J) and apply it as a clipping mask (clipping mask) to the underlying layer. Thus, you will be able to edit the picture without going beyond the wolf’s body.

At this stage, the fur has a not very natural look. We will now consider a very quick way to fix this.

Switch to mode Quick masks (Quick Mask Mode) (so you can select the desired parts with a brush). Select a soft brush (hardness 0%) and draw, in the quick mask mode, areas of fur where the fur grows in the same direction.

When the necessary sections are selected, click again on the icon Quick mask (Quick Mask Mode) to exit this mode.

As a result, you will get a selection of traced areas. If you have formed the contour of the entire area (except for the drawn one), you need to invert the selection by pressing the key combination Ctrl + Shift + I. Then go to Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filters – Blur – Motion Blur). The settings that have been used by me, you see in the figure below. Of course, your settings may differ from mine. Experiment!

Using this method, walk through all areas of fur (use the direction of wool growth).

Step 10

After blurring the contour became softer and more uncertain. Create a new layer (as a clipping mask) over the blurred wool, and paint some areas so that the outline returns an explicit shape (as in step 5).

Do not forget to walk along the dark contour of the main color. Also detail some areas with fur. Draw hairs in the direction of growth.

Go to the wolf’s head and paint the hairs near the ears. The direction of the brush is shown in the figure.

This is what should happen:

Step 11

The important point is the addition of light and shadow. They depend on the environment in which the character is located. In our case, the light falls from the upper left corner. So it is necessary to lighten the face and back of the wolf and darken the tail, paws and stomach. Do not forget about the reflexes on the wool from the grass.

Step 12

We come to the final step. Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool). Select a small brush and set a small pressure (flow). The color of the brush can be determined from the pattern or from the palette, it should be light. Draw the hairs that are “closer to the viewer”, as well as go through different parts of the fur to form clearer “curls”.

This work is ready! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. This method of drawing wool is pretty fast. It remains only to devote time to training!

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