Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Spring Snow

Drawing a Snow Leopard

Prints, posters, stationery cards, and signed fine art reproductions  
are available for purchase in my Etys shop at: 
Snow Leopard. 11x17" Ballpoint Pen and Ink wash

The ultimate cool cat! The Snow Leopard is one of those animals that looks too beautiful to be true. Almost like an apparition, it is extremely elusive and secretive, lives in remote mountainous regions, and is incredibly well camouflaged which makes it very hard to see. Sadly it is also extremely endangered with estimates of only 4,000 to 7,000 left in the wild today. In 2008 it was placed on the Red List of threatened species. For all those reasons I just had to add this majestic cat to my list of "Big Cat" drawings. It has always been one of my favorites.

Snow Leopard. original photograph by Anthony Festa

The inspiration for this drawing came directly from an amazing photograph that Anthony Festa took of a Snow Leopard. Anthony is a friend and amazing photographer. He does landscape, nature, and wildlife photography and his work is stunning! He graciously gave me permission to use his work as reference. You can see and purchase his photos on his website at selectimagesphotographycom. Thanks again Anthony for you generosity! The only thing I decided to change from the photo was that to Snow Leopard's look appeared slightly timid to me, so I tried to achieve a more confident stare and demeanor. I hope I was successful.

This time I took a lot more photos as I progressed through the drawing. Since people have been asking me more about my working process I thought more pictures will make it clearer. On this piece I started with a fine pencil sketch of the basic outline of the Leopard. After that the pencil is exchanged for my pen. It's all pen work from this point on. I usually always start some where on the animals face. This gives me the opportunity to breath life into the drawing, and then I slowly expand to finish the overall body. Drawing fur has always been a challenge for me. I feel I gained some knowledge this go around. I work from light to dark and begin by applying very little pressure to the pen as I let it glide across the paper. This let me draw the finest of lines. To achieve the darker areas I slowly build up those areas with layers of lines. After I have finished the inking of the animal I start brushing in the background with india ink. I love cutting out the animal. It almost feels like creating a sculpture to me. I do this with Pro Art India Ink. It's very thick and covers the papers quickly. I've noticed that different bottles have different consistencies of thickness, so I mix them to get that perfect flow. Thanks again for dropping by, and taking the time to visit my blog! It's onto the next animal for me!

Here are some photos taken during my drawing process

Prints, posters and signed fine art reproductions are available 
for purchase in my Etys shop at: 

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