Red Panda Drawing with Lightfast Pencils by Alice Hibbert

My favourite thing to draw is animals so I grabbed my Derwent Lightfast Pencils and decided to draw this autumnal looking red panda.

Materials used:

The Process

Drawing the outline

When beginning a drawing I always start with a light pencil sketch using my Graphic 2H pencil. It’s important not to press too hard with this as it can indent the paper. For this particular piece I am also using washi tape to leave a white border around the drawing.

Drawing the eyes

When working on animals I like to begin on the eyes as these are arguably what give the drawing it’s character. 

I began the eye by drawing the outline with ‘Black’ and ‘Midnight Black’. Next I added the blue tint at the top of the eye with ‘Mid Ultramarine’ and ‘Light Aqua’, I also added some ‘Mars Black’ around the outline. In the fourth photo I drew in the pupil using ‘Chocolate’ and began to blend the iris with ‘Van Dyke Brown’ using circular motions and overlapping the other colours for a smooth finish. Finally I finished it off by adding a white highlight using a gel pen and the eyelid below. 

Drawing red fur

When working on fur it’s important to look very closely at the colours in your reference; no fur is ever just one solid colour. In this particular area I followed a dark to light colour gradient by using very thin pencil lines, following the fur direction. I used the colours, ‘Blue Violet’, ‘Cherry Red’ , ‘Merlot’ and ‘Mars Orange’. Once laying these colours down, I repeated the process overlapping colours to add more density to the fur and burnish.

Drawing the nose

When drawing the nose I used the same circular blending technique as with the eyes, which will leave it looking very smooth with an even blend between the blue tones. Lastly I added small white dots using a white gel pen to create the texture and slightly shiny appearance. 

Drawing white fur

White fur is definitely one of the trickiest fur colours to draw but the most important part is choosing a variety of colours. As you can see in the photo, I have included colours you wouldn’t necessarily expect to use. The yellow and blue tones bring a lot of depth to the fur which helps it appear 3D. It’s also important to use a range of grey tones. Here I also used ‘Warm Grey’, ‘Granite’, ‘Platinum’, ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Black’.

My 8 Top Tips 

1. Keep your pencils sharp for fine fur strokes – the Derwent Super Point Manual Sharpener is perfect for this.

2. Follow the fur direction on your reference, this can make a huge difference to how realistic it looks.

3. Be patient, coloured pencils can take a while to use, this drawing took me 16 and a half hours! 

4. Pay close attention to the colours in the reference.

5. For whiskers and bright highlights use a white gel pen to make them stand out.

6. Choose a contrasting background to really show of your drawing, here I made mine with soft pastels.

7. Place a piece of paper under your hand to prevent smudging the drawing.

8. Add the first few layers of fur with light pressure then gradually build it up to burnish. 

Thank you to Alice for providing us with this cute red panda for our blog.

View more of Alice’s work on her Instagram here.