How to Draw a Deer: fur texture

In the summer, deer fur is smooth, glossy, and warm brown. It gets thicker and dull gray as winter approaches. You will not see the hairs on animals with short fur. The cracks that are so useful in describing the pelt of  long-haired animals also are less prominent.

Tricks for Short Hair

  1. Vole showing out to in flicks or "Bill Berry marks", suggesting breaks in the fur.
    Vole showing out to in flicks or “Bill Berry marks”, suggesting breaks in the fur. Note that these marks are also used on internal contours such as around the head or the back of the folded forearm.

    Do not draw the hairs, draw the pelt.

  2. Concentrate on the shadows and contours of the muscles. Much of the anatomy will show through.
  3. Add a subtle suggestion of fur texture into the contour (the line around the edge). In places where skin passes over a bump, add a few small out to in flicks to suggest small cracks in the fur. Do not overdo this technique and do not make these marks similar in size or spacing. Think “consistently inconsistent”. Study the work of William D. Berry to see this approach masterfully done.

Click on the first image to follow a step by step sideshow, detailing my process in painting the fur of the blacktail deer.