I finally finished reading Drawing and Painting Animals: Problems and Solutions by Trudy Friend and am all excited to practice drawing and painting fur. I found the book totally inspiring and am impressed with how much the artist put into it. It’s formatted so that on the left page there’s a typical animal drawing or painting, and common mistakes or oversights are described. Then on the right page Trudy shows her solutions with a much-improved drawing.
The remarkable thing about it is how it pushes you to take your work to a more advanced level. If I had seen the “problem” pieces out of context, I probably wouldn’t guess there was anything off about them. But in context, you totally see how much better things get when you look and render with a more careful eye.
To get a little more familiar with drawing animal textures, I’m watching some videos that show the actual real-time process (as opposed to static pictures from the book). I found a super cute colored pencil bunny tutorial from Brushes and Bunnies that was perfect for jumping in with drawing colored pencil fur.
The drawing of all of those little fur strokes was relaxing — I think it helped that I didn’t have to figure anything out, just follow the directions. I find that I enjoy that sort of repetitive or detailed work if it’s separate from the act of planning or concepting. Once the hard part of figuring out what to make is established, my mind can loosen up be present with much more ease.