Mountain lions have short fur covering most of their bodies revealing strong muscles below the skin. They have slightly longer fur on the belly, chest, and back of the legs that may form clumps with distinct cracks between them. Use a combination of the techniques you have seen for drawing animals with long and short fur.
Techniques to draw fur
Do not draw individual hairs, draw the pelt by showing the cracks between clumps of fur.
Suggest breaks in the fur or cracks along the contour or edge of the animal by strategically placing out-to-in flicks or “Bill Berry lines” where the contour abruptly changes angle or where the fur stretches over a prominent bulge.
Suggest the shapes of muscles below the fur with shadows and highlights.
If the fur is glossy like that of a horse, add sharply contrasting highlights.
Click on the first image to follow a step by step sideshow, detailing my process in painting the fur of a mountain lion
I started with a line drawing that clearly indicates the contours of major muscles. Out-to-in flicks along the contour and cracks in deeper fur suggest the texture of the pelt.
I painted shadows with shadow violet (Daniel Smith) emphasizing the contours of the body. Note that I left a thin rim of light along the back of the triceps. This reflected light helps give form to the back of the forearm.
Once the shadows were dry, I overpainted them with a glaze of Natural Sienna. With just these two steps, the body is starting to take form.
Feeling that the body felt a little flat, I deepened the shadow colors and use the “lifting out” technique to remove some of the paint from highlight areas. Lifting out involves wetting a small area and blotting up some of the loosened paint with a damp brush. It works better with some colors of paint than others.
Using a combination of Neutral Tint and Bloodstone Genuine to create the dark accents of the pelt.
I like crisp edges in an illustration so I reinforced some of the edges and details with a sharp brown pencil. You can easily add colored pencil on top of a watercolor illustration one the paper is bone dry.
As a final step, I used a white prismacolor pencil to further develop the texture. Avoid the temptation to “draw hairs”.
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