Drawing Delightful Animals in Photoshop: A Photoshop for Illustrators Class | Stephanie Fizer Coleman | Skillshare

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Drawing Delightful Animals in Photoshop: A Photoshop for Illustrators Class

teacher avatar Stephanie Fizer Coleman, children's book illustrator/bird artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Sketch Studies


    • 4.

      Defining Unique Characteristics


    • 5.

      Shape Exercise


    • 6.

      Creating Cuteness


    • 7.

      Photoshop: Flat Colors


    • 8.

      Photoshop: Adding Details


    • 9.

      Photoshop: Texture and Shading


    • 10.

      Photoshop: Final Details


    • 11.

      Class assignment


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About This Class

In this class you’ll learn the basics of drawing delightful animals in Photoshop, from sketch studies to simplifying anatomy and exaggerating characteristics to create a charming animal illustration.  You’ll also get a look at my Photoshop workflow from digital sketches to finished art.

Drawing animals is a central part of my career as a children's book illustrator and licensed artist.  My adorable animal drawings appear in nonfiction children's books and trade picture books, as well as on greeting cards, wall art, puzzles and a variety of other products, so being able to draw charming animals is a skill that has served me well and of course, it's something I really love.

My process (almost)always begins with sketch studies so I can spend some time familiarizing myself with an animal's anatomy and general characteristics.  Next I'll work on stylizing some sketches either through a shape exercise that I'll go over with you in this class or from random sketches as I puzzle things out.  From there, I'll move on to the fun part: adding color and texture in Photoshop.  

In this class, I'll walk you through that entire process from start to finish. This is an intermediate level class so you'll need at least basic Photoshop skills and basic drawing skills to get the most from this class.  

However, even if you're not interested in Photoshop, you'll still learn a lot about how I stylize my animal drawings, focusing on the unique characteristics of the animal.  

By the end of this class you'll be drawing your own delightful animals!

Be sure to share your finished project with the class and if you're also sharing your work on Instagram, feel free to tag me(@stephfizercoleman) and use the hashtag #stephfcskillshare so everyone can keep up with your work.  

Most of all, this is about having fun while learning new skills.  Let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Stephanie Fizer Coleman

children's book illustrator/bird artist



Hi! I'm Stephanie Fizer Coleman, a picture book illustrator and licensing artist known for creating wildlife illustrations full of layered color and texture. 

One thing I'm passionate about, whether I'm illustrating a children's book or designing a series of greeting cards, is creating digital work so full of lovely detail and texture that it's tough to tell whether it's a digital painting or a "real" painting.  

I work in Photoshop and Procreate and have developed a style of working that blends both digital and traditional elements.  I enjoy playing around with pattern, texture and brilliant colors in my work. Animals are my favorite subjects to illustrate and I'm thrilled to be illustrating the kinds of books I would have loved w... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Stephanie Fizer Coleman and this is drawing delightful animals in Photoshop. If you follow my work at all, you know that animals are one of my favorite subjects to illustrate. As a children's book illustrator and a licensed artist, those animal illustrations have appeared on a variety of products including books, greeting cards, puzzles, mugs, stickers. In this class, you will learn how to draw adorable animals too. You'll get to follow my entire process from sketched studies to final art in Photoshop. Even if you're not using Photoshop there's still so much to learn in this class, including my technique and tips for creating adorable animals that are still easily recognizable. Join me and by the end of this class you'll be drawing your own delightful animals. Now, let's get started. 2. Tools: Although this is a Photoshop class, you can follow along without Photoshop. You're still going to learn a lot about the techniques that I use to draw adorable animals. Even if you're not doing the Photoshop bits, this is still going to be a fun class. That means that at very least, you're going to need a pencil and paper to take this class. You don't need anything fancy. I'm using a mechanical pencil and a stack of copy paper. I usually find that if I've got a stack of something like copy paper, or printer paper, or whatever. I don't feel super precious about it. Then I feel more comfortable just making a mess, and scribbling, and getting out a lot of the bad art so I can get the good arts. Copy paper usually just makes me feel more confident in that process. Whereas sometimes having a fancy sketch book makes me feel a little bit uptight. That's what you need if you're just going to be following along with the basics of the class. Now, if you want to do the Photoshop bits, obviously you are going to need Photoshop. I'm working in Photoshop CC. If you have an older version of Photoshop, you can still use it. Things might look a little bit different, but you should be able to follow along and use the same techniques as me. I'm not really doing anything that an older version of Photoshop Should allow you to do. If you don't have Photoshop and you want to try it, you can get a seven day free trial from Adobe's website. The last thing on the list is optional, but recommended, and that is a graphics tablet. You don't necessarily need those, especially if you're new to Photoshop and maybe this is your first exposure. But if you really want to take advantage of the beauty of painting in Photoshop, you need at least a basic graphics tablet that's going to give you the pressure sensitivity. That is going to allow you to get a variation in your line and the strokes that you're creating when you're painting. If you're brand new to digital art, I would say don't spend a ton of money on like a [inaudible] or a massive tablet. You just want to start off with something small that will help you get used to painting digitally. Then of course, if you're really enjoying painting and Photoshop, you can always upgrade later. Wacom has some affordable options that are under a $100 and I would recommend starting there. I personally use AS antique 22 HD most of the time. Again, it's pretty pricey and that's really not something that you need if you're just starting out. Another option is for those of you who have iPad Pros. If you are also using a Mac, you can download an app on your iPad Pro called Astropad. It'll basically turn your iPad Pro into AS antique. You can run Photoshop mirrored on your iPad Pro and you can draw right on it. It's basically just like a little baby [inaudible]. That's just another option. Really you just need the basics of pencil and paper if you're just going to be following along and you don't want to use Photoshop. If you want to follow along with the Photoshop parts, obviously you need Photoshop and then of course you need a graphics tablet if you want to have the ability to paint and Photoshop like I do. Next up we're going to get started on our Skype studies. 3. Sketch Studies: Let's get started with some sketch studies. For this class, I'm going to be sketching in Photoshop, but you can feel free to use pencil and paper if you prefer. I honestly love sketching digitally, and I also love sketching on paper so I just tend to bounce back and forth between the two. Just basing which one I'm choosing on, how big the project is, deadlines and of course, what I'm feeling like. Sometimes I feel like drawing on paper and sometimes I would rather draw on Photoshop or on my iPad. So it's totally up to you which one you do, but I'm going to be sketching here in Photoshop. Before we get started with our sketch studies, I just wanted to show you guys the two Brushes that I'm going to be using for sketching in Photoshop and both of these brushes are Kyle Webster Brushes. The first one is going to be his Animator Pencil and actually any of his pencil brushes are really fantastic. This is just what I like and this pencil has just got a really nice texture to it. It's got a really nice shade when you tilt it. This is just the brush that is most comfortable for me to sketch with in Photoshop. You have to play around and find what is most comfortable for you to sketch with, so I always recommend trying out a few different brushes until you find something that works really well for you. The other brush that I tend to use when I am sketching in Photoshop is a second Kyle Webster Brush and it's his Gouache A Go Go Brush. I use this brush a lot for my final art as well. But I like to use it when I'm sketching because if I need to add some really quick shading or some depth to an area of my sketch. It gives me a nice quick coverage. These are the two brushes that I'm going to be using for this portion of the class. Now, Kyle Webster's Brushes are actually exclusive to Adobe Creative Cloud now. So if you don't already have these brushes, the only way to get them as with a Creative Cloud subscription. I know that some of you that are using older versions of Photoshop are not super happy to hear that. But the good news is there are some other good brush makers out there. I'm actually going to include a link in the class notes that will take you to a couple of artists who make some really awesome brushes that you can also try out. So onto our sketch studies. For this class I'm going to draw one of my favorite animals, which is a fox. I'm going to start out by looking at some reference photos. Now, if you're drawing along with me, you can choose to also draw a fox if you just want to follow along. Or you can choose another animal for practice and learn how to apply the techniques that we're going to use to all sorts of different animals. It's completely up to you. Follow along with me drawing a fox or choose your own favorite animal, and then follow along using my techniques. The first thing that I'm going to do is I am going to look up some reference photos for myself. I know that for this, I'm going to be drawing a red fox. I'm just going to type that into a Google images search, which I'm sure you guys are pretty familiar with. If you're not, you can just go to images.google.com, type in whatever you're looking for and you get all of these photos that pop up. Now, a note about using reference photos. At this point because I'm doing a sketch studies and I'm just learning about the animal and this isn't going to be the style that I draw in. I'm not super fast about looking at reference photos and drawing from them too closely. Now, if you're working on final artwork, you don't want to just look at one specific reference photo and draw directly from that because you don't want to be copying someone else's photograph or someone else's idea. I usually look at a lot of reference in the beginning when I do these Sketch studies and then when I'm ready to draw my animal, I just do it from my head because I've drawn it enough that I've got a good idea of how everything works. I've got my search results pulled up here and I'm just going to scroll down a tiny bit so I'm not looking at the first few references. We've got a good amount of reference here. Just some different poses and some different directions where the foxes are facing. We'll just scroll through here and take a look and figure out what we're going to draw from. I'm going to go back to Photoshop and I'm going to have the references pulled up on my other monitor. You won't be able to see them, but you'll be able to see what I'm drawing here. Back over in Photoshop, I've just got a document open to any old size, this is 10 by 10 inches. But you can really work at any size you want to. This portion of our study is just going to be for learning basic anatomy and taking notes of proportion, and then also taking notes of any unique characteristics that make our animal easily recognizable. As I'm looking at all the reference images, I'm already making mental notes of the characteristics of this animal. In this case, I'm drawing a fox and that means that I'm paying attention to the white markings on the face, the markings on the chest, and then the markings on the tip of the tail and I'm also looking at the black socks on the feet and then the proportion of the ears to the face because that's something that we can play with later and really exaggerate it when it comes to stylizing the drawing. Right now, I'm just going to look at my reference photos and I'm just going to be doing just some rough sketches and again, this isn't really going to be in my style. This is just me learning the anatomy of the animal and just figuring out how things work. You can see that these are really rough sketches. I'm not really being really precious with it. Just getting a feel for the animal, for the anatomy, for the things that make a fox, a fox. Make it easily recognizable as a fox and I'm obviously not trying to be realistic. I'm just getting an idea of how this might work. As I'm doing these rough sketches, I'm just sort of thinking about how I might tackle this particular animal when I draw it in my style and I really stylize it. But again, I'm really not putting too much time or thought into it. I'm just going with the flow, figuring out what works and what doesn't work. Then eventually, this will turn into something pretty adorable. I've got a full page of little rough fox sketches here. Like I said, these are very rough, they're not realistic. I'm just sort of getting a feel for their anatomy and how I can play around with the proportions and the unique characteristics that define this particular animal. So you can do as many or as few of these as you want. If I'm drawing an animal that I've drawn tons of times before, I may not always start with because I'm pretty familiar. For example, I'm pretty familiar with birds because if you follow me on Instagram, I draw a lot of them. I usually don't do this whole process with my bird drawings. I usually just skip right to the actual stylized version that I'm doing. This is just a good habit to get into though, because it'll really help you understand the animal that you're drawing and even though we're not doing a realistic rendering of an animal. It's still helpful to be aware of the anatomy and the markings, and everything else so you can have an easily recognizable version of whatever animal you're drawing. Like I said, you can do is few or as many of these sketches as you want to, just as long as you feel a level of comfort in drawing the animal that you've chosen. Maybe you'll just do a couple of sketches and you'll feel ready or maybe you want to do a few pages of animals. Whatever feels good to you is what you should be doing. Go ahead and do your sketch studies of your animals. Make sure you feel comfortable drawing your animal and then when you're ready, move on to the next lesson. We're going to do a fun practice exercise. 4. Defining Unique Characteristics: Before we begin the practice exercise, let's take a moment to define the unique characteristics of whatever animal you're drawing. In my case, I am going to take a look at the fox studies that I've already done, and I'm going to look back at my reference photos, also of foxes and just see the things that stand out to me that specifically say, this is a fox so it's easily recognizable. You'll be doing this for whatever animal you're drawing. Or if you're drawing a fox, you can just go through this process along with me. I'm going to go ahead and let's just make a new layer on top of my fox sketches here. Then I'll just select a brush and we can go ahead and start making a list of the specific things that make this stand out as a fox. Some of the things that I am looking at are going to be color specific and then some of them are going to be specific to the anatomy of the animal. In the case of the fox, the things that I am noting are of course, the red color of the fur. Let's go ahead and let's just make a note here. Now, normally I would maybe scribble this down on a piece of paper or I might scribble it in my sketchbook, or I may not scribble it down at all. I may just make a note of it mentally. But I do definitely find out, especially when I'm first starting to draw an animal, that it helps to make an actual list that you can refer back to. The next thing also color related is that the fox has black socks on its feet. That's super important. Then also color related, you'll find white markings on the face, the chest, and the tail. We need to make sure that we're taking those things into account. Then let's see what else. Speaking of the tail, foxes have that really distinctive floofy tail. Just this really beautiful floofy tail. Let's just make a note of that. Maybe we'll spell tail correctly. Then I think maybe the last thing that I'm going to make a note of is the pointy ears. I guess maybe we'll call the snout point two. We'll just write pointy ears and snout. Now you can get really insanely specific with these lists if you want to. But it's going to take away from the immediacy and the simplicity and just the general charmingness of the animal that you're drawing if you take it too far. Because we're not working in a very realistic style here. Basically, the point of this list is to pinpoint the things that are going to make it easy to say this is a fox, or this is a penguin, or this is an ostrich or whatever it is that you're drawing. You need to pick out the things that stand out the most to you as making that animal easily identifiable. The real point of this exercise of making this list, you really get to see it in the next video when we do our practice exercise is, the theory here is that basically I can take any shape, a square, a circle, a blob, an amoeba, whatever. As long as I'm hitting these five points right here, then it's going to be easily recognizable that, "Oh, this is a fox." Then I can really play, since these are the main things that make this stand out as a fox. These are things I can really play with. Maybe I can really exaggerate how big and fluffy the tail is. Or we can really exaggerate and play with the colors of the fur. We can really exaggerate and play with the size of the ear. This is where we really get into the fun part, where we're starting to make this adorable, charming animal that is not necessarily realistically rendered at all. In the next video, we're going to take this list and we're going to practice making some shapes into a fox. 5. Shape Exercise: For our practice exercise, we're going to be taking the list that we made of unique characteristics. If you're working with a fox, your list will probably be similar to mine. Or if you're working with a different animal, you're obviously going to have some different characteristics listed. Again, here are our characteristics. It's going to have red fur, which is something that will deal with in color. Black socks, same thing. It's got a white face, chest and tail. It has a very fluffy tail, and it has got pointy ears and a pointy snout. Those are the things that I'm going to take into account when I'm working on this practice exercise. Now to set up the practice exercise, I'm actually just going to draw 12 random shapes on this page, it's a standard eight and a half by 11 page, and you're going to be able to download this page and also another page of shapes under the Your Project section. If you just go there, you should be able to see this under the list of included files, and you can just download this, you can print it out, and you can draw over top of it or you can open it up in Photoshop, or Procreate, or whatever you want to use to make your art, and you'll be able to do this exercise along with me. I'm just going to choose a brush, and I'm just going to pick a gray color here, and I'm going to start drawing some random shapes to start with. You can see here I've got my shape layer setup in Photoshop and I've just adjusted the opacity, so I can just barely see my shapes. They're not going to distract me, they're just going to inspire me. For those of you who are following along in Photoshop, I am just going to be sketching over these in probably just a darker gray color, and I'm going to use one of my favorite sketch brushes in Photoshop, which is Kyle Webster's Animator Pencil. He has a bunch of other really awesome pencil tools as well. If you're using Photoshop CC, you will have access to all of his brushes. Otherwise, you actually won't have access to Kyle's brushes anymore. But also in the Your Project section under the attached files, I'm going to include a file with this class that will give you guys some list to some other really awesome Photoshop brushes because I know not everyone has Photoshop CC. I want to give you guys some options for things that will work in older versions of Photoshop as well. What we're going to do now is we're just going to take the characteristics of the fox that we listed, and we're going to turn these shapes into foxes. Some of these, I'm going to stick exactly to the shape as much as I can. You can see this triangle here looks like it's going to be pretty easy to turn into a fox. Then some of the other ones, I'm probably going to take a little bit of artistic liberty with and see what inspires me. Then we're going to be using one of these as the basis for the final project that I'm going to create it for this class. What a fun exercise. Now, I won't pretend that each of these drawings is stellar art or even anything that I would take any further than this. But it really is fun to play around with these shapes, and to see that you can really make an easily recognizable, very charming animal without being realistic just by hitting the main points on your unique characteristics list. If you take a look at my sketches here, not every single one of these hits every single point on my list. Some of them, obviously, they're just the head only. You're only going to see the pointy ears, the pointy snout, and then I've used my sketches to indicate where maybe the white fur would be. Don't forget, you've got two of these practice exercise sheets that are listed under the Your Project section. You'll find those as downloadable files. You can print these sheets out and you can draw directly on them. You can put them in Photoshop or in Procreate if you want to sketch there, or if you want to use a light box. The possibilities are pretty much endless, it just depends on how ever you want to work. Anyways, what we're going to do next is we're going to take a look at these sketches, think about which one we might be using to do a final piece of art. Then in the next section, we're going talk about some tips and tricks for making your animal drawings look extra adorable and just some ways that you can play around with the unique characteristics to make your own unique piece of art. Before we do that, I just want to take a quick look at these sketches and see what I might consider moving forward with. I'd like the shape of this fox right here. Let's just change the color real quick. Yeah. I really like just the overall shape of this guy. He's a definite possibility. I also like this guy, but these two are very similar in pose and layout. I obviously like those two. Then this guy, I like his jaunty little attitude. I'm thinking that probably this one and this one are going to end up being where my final art is inspired from. We'll have to see what happens as we continue on, and just work through some ways to make these foxes really extra adorable. 6. Creating Cuteness: In this video, we're going to be looking at ways that we can create cuteness, and charm as we draw animals in a stylized way. In my work, I tend to create this sense of cuteness by simplifying forms, and by playing with proportions of the animals. Charlie Harper famously said, "I don't count the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings." That's the same theory that we're following here. We don't need to draw every single feather, every single bit of fur. We can simplify, we can be sure that we hit our unique characteristics, and still come out with a reasonably recognizable animal drawing. Now there are a few ways that we can up the adorable factor, and we can play around with these options until we find something that feels right, and comfortable, and it works for the piece that we're working on. Often, the options that I'm going to talk about, I don't necessarily use one option consistently. I will use whatever feels right for the animal that I'm drawing or for the project that I'm working on. So it's really just a matter of finding out what works best. Before I get started, I'm just going to show you some examples of some animals that I have illustrated over the last few months just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about as we go through these different options. I'm just going to flip through these really quick. I've got a bird drawing that I did here of an American avocet, I've got an adelie penguin drawing that I did, a gray squirrel, a raccoon, this one's one of my favorite, a koala, and a capybara. As I go through the different ways that you can use to create some cuteness in your animal drawings, I'm going to refer back to some of these images just as examples, and I'm also going to be showing you examples with some of the foxes that I've been drawing. So you have tons of examples of how these different methods can help you create cute animals in your Photoshop drawings. The first thing that you can do to add some extra adorableness to you animal drawings is to play around with the size of the eyes. It's fun often to do really big eyes or really small dot eyes, but usually if it's somewhere in the middle, it's less interesting, and sort of mess. We definitely want to try to exaggerate things as much as we can to really bring out that all factor. Let's take a look at some of my animal examples, and then we'll take a look at the foxes. You can see the capybara has actually got a pretty big I, and I'll talk about this in a second too. With him, I have actually done, you can see the pupil, and you can also see the block of the eyes. That's something that I don't do very often because I feel like sometimes it comes off as cartoony, but with this particular guy, it really fit. I tried a bunch of different eyes, and it didn't work out so well. So this was a good choice. Koala has got pretty small little dot eyes, a raccoon has gotten bigger eyes, and then the same thing with the squirrel. I did an unusual eye shape with the squirrel just because it worked better with that animal, and I'm just building from some of the reference that I had looked at. The adelie penguin has got a big eye with a blue ring around it because adelie penguins actually have that, and I wanted to make sure that I captured this, even though it's not realistic. I wanted to make sure that I was capturing that unique characteristic of this penguin. Then our avocets, I also went with a big eye. Let's just take a basic look at some eye options and I'm just going to grab my sketch. Usually what I do is either really small dot eyes like this or you can do bigger dot eyes or you can do like I did with the capybara. You can do an eye with a big pupil or you can do a big circle with a tiny dot in it, but again, these last two can look pretty cartoony pretty easily. It's important to keep that in mind when you're drawing and just try different things and see what works best for you. Generally, what works best for me is either a small dot or big dot. Sometimes I'll put a ring around it if there is a necessity for it, but sometimes I'll just leave it completely black though. It just depends on what you're working on. If it's a project, if it's something personal, and then a lot of it also is just the personality of the animal that you're trying to draw, and just how the eyes are going to affect the level of cuteness, and also the level of realism. Let's take a look back at our practice sheet where we drew our fox with all of our different shapes here. Actually I'm going to take a look at this bottom fox down here. Let's zoom in on him and I'm going to duplicate this layer so I can erase the mess around with it, and not lose the original artwork. You can see right here, I've got a pretty small dot for an eye already. We're just going to play around with it a little bit. This was what he looks like with a small dot, and then this is what he looks like if he had a bigger dot eye which is fun. That looks fun, and then let's try him with a circle, and a little dot. You see now he looks cartoony, but he also looks fun like that, and then we can also do a circle with a bigger dot. As I'm drawing here, I'm also looking at my reference photo of red foxes. The way their eyes are shaped and the way their face is shaped, it almost looks they've got a little bit of a slant to the eye, so, we can also try that. He looks a little bit angry there. Let's try a different option, and let's see. We can just go with friendlier, almond shaped eye. There we go. That looks a little bit better, and I feel that's just in-between on size. So I'll probably just make it a little bit bigger or it would make it a little bit smaller if that's what I was going to go with for my final art. The next thing that we can look at when we're trying to make our animal drawing extra adorable is we can look at exaggerating some of the features. That's going to mean maybe we're going to exaggerate the length of the legs or the size of a tail or the size of the ears. There are all sorts of different ways that we can exaggerate these animals to just make them look a little bit more fun, and a little bit more charming. But again, we want to make sure that they still look like the animal that we're drawing, and we don't venture so far away that it's not recognizable. Let's take a look at our fox real quick, and let's think about the things that we can exaggerate. I think one of the things that we can definitely exaggerate is the size of the ears, and then I think that we could also probably exaggerate the size of the tail because foxes have that fluffy, luxurious tail anyway so we can really make the tail of enormous. Then I think we could probably also exaggerate the legs. We could make them really long, and thin or maybe you just really dainty, and pointy. It just depends on what we decide we're going for in the end. This time, let's just open up a new document. Let's go back to where our eyes are, and we'll just make a new layer. Let's play around with exaggerating the features on our fox. You can see here that I've drawn three different versions of our fox here. We've got this guy who's got short little legs, larger ears, and a larger tail. This guy, I just quickly adjusted in Photoshop, I made the legs a little bit longer and the tail smaller, and then finally, I made the legs an in between size, neither too large or too big. So I'm not really exaggerating the proportions there very much, but I did make the ears look much smaller, and I gave him just this luxuriously enormous tail which I like. We'll have to see how that plays out as we go on. Let's take a look at some of the other animal drawings that I am sharing with you here, and let's just discuss how I have played with exaggerating the features here. On the capybara, the thing that I really wanted to exaggerate was the nose and the teeny tiny ears, then on the koala bear, again, the ears are something that I really exaggerated the size of. The raccoon, I really wanted to exaggerate the roundness of him, so I really exaggerated the roundness of his body. Then with a penguin here, I exaggerated the size of the eye quite a lot, and then with the avocet, I really exaggerated just in general, the shape of the body and also the length of the legs. Of course, I definitely exaggerate some of the colors, but we'll get to that in the final piece that we do for the class. The next thing that you should be thinking about when it comes to making your animal really adorable, is playing with scale and proportion. Generally, what I mean by that is you can play around with making your animals very rounded and small and just so cute, and then you could play if you wanted to with making it much larger, and much bigger in proportion. I personally tend to draw chubby little versions of animals, almost like little babies. I think that's really adorable. So let's take a look at how we would do that. We're back here with our fox again, and let's just take a look at just playing with the proportion of this guy a little bit. We've already got this gorgeous fluffy tail, so Let's take a look at what would happen if we made the fox smaller, dirtier, and just maybe a little bit rounder in general. Let's just take a look at that. You can see now we've got a more rounded version of our fox. I have played with the proportion of his body, so maybe he's not as long as a fox might normally be. His legs are really short, his ears are probably proportionately much larger to his body, and of course, his tail is enormous in relation to the size of his body. Honestly, now that I've drawn it, I think he looks a little bit like a corgi now with an extra little fluffy tail. That's just something that I'll think of when I'm working on the final art project for this class is just again, reminding myself that I need to make sure that all my unique characteristics are met, and that this definitely is going to look like a fox, and it's not just going to look like a silly little dog with a weird tail. I'll have to keep that in mind as I work. One of the other things that you can do to make your drawings of animals look extra adorable and sweet, is to use a lot of curves and a lot of rounded edges instead of really boxy hard lines. Generally speaking, when you've got something that's rounded and curved, it's just automatically interpreted as being softer and sweeter, friendly, happy, and all those things. We'll just take a quick look at some of the art pieces that I've got here. This little guy, the capybara, he's a little bit of a box here, sort of rodent, but even so, you can see that I've used a lot of curved lines for his back, for his face, even though his snout is really squared off, it is rounded on the edges. Then we'll see the same thing with the koala. I've used really curved lines, his back is curved nicely, his nose has got curve lines. Same thing with raccoon here, you'll see that he doesn't really have any sharp edges. Even the point of his tail ends in a soft rounded shape. He's got a nice round curve on his back. His face has got nice curves on it, and then the same thing with the squirrel here. He is just built almost entirely of curves, and that's just a pleasant friendly shape. You do some experimenting, if you have a style that tends to be a little bit more boxy and have a lot of sharp angles, try to soften it up a little bit and use some rounded edges and some curves, and see the difference that it makes in your final art. We'll go back over to our foxes real quick. I'm just going to draw one that is a little bit boxier, so you can see the difference between this guy who's already got a lot of nice curved rounded edges and a version of this fox that is a little bit boxier. [MUSIC] You can see that he's still actually fun and pretty cute. But I definitely feel like this guy is doing a little bit better on the adorableness scale than this guy who's got a little bit harsher lines. This isn't wrong, this is just a different stylistic approach and it's one that I use in my work sometimes too. But for this particular project where we're focusing on drawing an animal that is adorable and timing. We definitely want to go with rounder shaped. If you look under your project section of this class where you'll find the downloads. You're going to find a worksheet that is going to have a few examples of some different animals that I've drawn using these different techniques for making them adorable. You can get more of a feel for how you can use these techniques to make your own animal drawings. Next what I'm going to do is I'm just going to take a few of these tricks, and I'm going to try to apply them to our fox drawing so I can see where I'm going to be going for final art and then the sketch that I come up with this, I'm going to be painting in Photoshop in the next lesson. I'm going to go back to my practice sheet again and I just want to remind myself of what I really liked and I really did like this guy a lot. I'm just going to play with the proportions of him a little bit and just work on adding some more softness and working on some of the angles and maybe also working on some of the proportions as well. Then once I'm finished, I am going to have a drawing that I'm ready to paint. [MUSIC] Now I am ready to move on into creating my final Fox illustration. Here is what we started with, this guy up here. You remember him from our practice sheets where we used our shapes to apply our unique characteristics and see what sort of layouts we could come up with. I really liked this pose, I knew I almost definitely wanted to use it, but I thought this guy was just sort of boring looking as far as adorable this goes, he's a pretty okay look and Fox, but I wanted him to be even cuter. You see in this sketch that I just did, a lot of it is trial and error. A lot of the time when I'm sketching and this was one of the things that I love about sketching digitally and Photoshop or on my iPad Pro, is that I can just easily resize things by using the Lasso Tool, or I can just erase and draw over and over and over and over, and not have to worry about making a mass or messing up my paper or anything like that. It's really a lot of trial and error. As you saw in the video, I changed the size of the head about halfway through, I changed the size of the ears, I moved the curve of the back. He was a little actually too round, I think for my taste and for this piece of art. He started out a little bit chubbier and I ended up trimming him down a little bit just to make it visually work a little bit better. You can see the things that I have exaggerated here and played with as far as scale goes. He's got pretty tiny years, a really big eye, and I might change those as I go to final art. It's not set in stone, so we'll see how it turns out. But right now I really like it. He's got pretty short little legs and then a really nice fluffy tail. I think I actually might make his tail a little bit of fluid. Maybe we'll just follow that in, but I'm not really sure, I'm afraid that that looks a little bit too step. Again, that's just something that I'll tackle when I go to final art. Then I just went ahead and drew some indications of some for, I could get an idea of how this section might stand out from this section because this is going to be the white part that comes from his face and goes all the way down into his chest. I want to make sure that everything looks okay there. I am going to take this sketch and then in the next video I'm going do a Photoshop demo, so you can see how I paint my animal drawings in Photoshop. 7. Photoshop: Flat Colors: Now it's time to start the fun part, color. I always feel like the sketching process is just like working out a puzzle, figuring out which pieces go and which pieces don't go until you get a final sketch, and you're ready to proceed on to final art. I always feel like when I'm working on the sketch bit, I'm already thinking about color and already thinking about how the final art is going to work, so when I get to this point, it can just be relaxed and exciting, and meditative, now that I'm getting to actually work on color. Before I jump into the color, I'm just going to show you my setup in Photoshop. If you're following along in Photoshop, you can play along with me. First, I'm actually just going to clean up the bit of a mess that I have here with my layers. I'm just going to go through and just delete these extra layers where we were playing around before, and I don't need this guy up in the corner. I'm just going to select him and get rid of him. Maybe I am. There we are. Now that I've got that done, I've got my fox sketch here on a layer by himself, and I'll just double-click on it and name it sketch, just so it makes it a little bit easier to keep track of things as I work on the art. I'm actually just going to "Control" "T" and adjust the size a little bit. We can make him a little bit bigger on this canvas. We'll just make him a little bit bigger. Then something else kept on the screen up here, so I'll just erase that. Then you will crop this. You will see. There we go. We'll just crop it, so we have a better working space. I'm just doing this arbitrarily now just for the class. If I was working in print for a book or if I was going to work on art prints or something, I would make it a specific size, but for right now, it is ten by almost eight inches. I'm actually just going to go in and adjust the canvas size. It is ten by eight inches, just because that leg mentally makes me feel better. I've got my fox sketch on his own layer, and now I'm going to change the blending mode to multiply. I'm going to change the opacity down to about, let's say, 20 percent. We might take it a little bit lower. The way that I work my sketch is not included in my final art. I'm just using this as a reference, and it's not going to be part of the final art, so it doesn't matter that it's not clean or whatever, and I'm just going to actually be painting underneath this layer. I'll just go ahead and make a new layer, and this is going to be where I start doing my fur color. Now, if I was working on a bigger piece of art or something more complex, I would probably take this time to go ahead and set up a color palette for myself, which I would either do on its own layer over here, or I would just do it in a separate document. This guy is pretty simple though. He's really just got three basic colors. We're going to have the reddish orange color for the fur, a white accent color for the rest of his fur, and then some dark brown or black that we'll use for the feet and legs, the nose, and all that stuff. I'm not super fast about working on a color palette for this. I'm just going to wing it as I go. Before I get started, I'm just going to go ahead and show you a few of the brushes that I normally use when I am working on art like this. I tend to just use a lot of different textures, and blending, and colors. Even though my work looks fairly simple, it's actually not. It's actually many layers of things. Let's take a look at some of my favorite brushes. I'm just going to pick an orangey color real quick for this. The first couple of brushes I'm going to show you our Kyle Webster brushes, and this one is his extra rough brush. I love this one because it has a ton of texture. You'll see here, and I use this just often to add some texture to my illustrations. Another Kyle brush that I use all the time is his Gouache A Go Go brush, and I know a lot of people really loved this brush. Let's take a look at that one. I'm just making these a little bit bigger, so you can see. I really love this Gouache A Go Go, because it's got a really good texture if you make it big, but you can also use it for little details if you make it small. That's really fantastic to you. The next brush that I use from Kyle Webster's brushes as his medium pastel brush. I use this for a lot of details and fine little lines that I need to make. Then another couple of brushes that I use most often are actually brushes that I made many moons ago and just continue to use. One of the brushes that I use a lot is this watercolor blob, is what I call it. I use this just to stamp texture on my arts. Then another brush that I use all the time, especially in my animal illustration is this fur and feather line, that is just a brush that I customized over the years, and it's just got a really nice texture to it. It works really well when you're drawing fur and feathers, and stuff like that. If you are using Adobe CC, you have the ability to access Kyle Webster's brushes, so you can play around with them. If you're not using Adobe CC, you actually can't purchase Kyle's brushes any longer, but when you look under the Your Project section of the class, I've included a download sheet that's got some other references for other places that you can purchase brushes from, if you're using an older version of Photoshop and you're not using CC. I'm going to go ahead and just delete this layer. Actually, you know what? Let me show you one more brush that I use. This is another Kyle Webster brush. It's called the Bonus Gritty Dry Gouache. I use this brush a lot if I'm laying in flat colors, because it has a really nice texture and it's got this really soft edge that I like. I thought of that, because that's the brush I'm getting used to start laying flat on this box. I'm going to go ahead and just delete this layer, and then I'll just make a new layer. I'm just going to name that flat, just so I can keep track. Now, I am not the best at remembering to name my layers as I work, so it's definitely a good habit to get into. Otherwise, you're stuck at the end of an illustration with who knows how many layers, clicking through trying to find out what is what and get things labeled and organized before you send your work off. That's probably not the best way to do this. Let's try to get in the habit of labeling our layers, so we know what's going on here. I'm going to use the Bonus Gritty Dry Gouache brush that I just showed you, totally my flatten on the little fox. I'm just going to zoom in a little bit, so he's more of his actual size. Let's just go ahead. I usually start out with a random color. Because I know I'm going to build up from this, so I don't have to be super precious about it in the beginning. It doesn't have to be perfect because I can always change it if I need to. I'm going to start with a brush that is 80 pixels. You can see up here, I'm using the bracket keys on my keyboard to make my brush smaller and larger. I'm going to take this little brush and lay in this orange color over the entire fox. You might have noticed the couple of things as I worked through that process. The first thing is that I put the tail and the feet on a separate layer and I made them a little bit darker. I don't always do that. Sometimes I'm trying to stay a little bit more organized than others. Often I'll do the same flat color for everything. But this time I went ahead and started dividing up a little bit so I can get a better visual of it as I work. The other thing that you might have noticed is that I'm rotating my canvas. If you don't know how to do that, it's a game changer in Photoshop. It's a lot more comfortable, especially if you're drawing on ascetic, or an iPad Pro with the Astropad app. Something where you're drawing directly on the screen. This is really nice. All I'm doing is I'm holding down the R on my keyboard, and I'm dragging my stylists around so I can rotate this however I want to. When I want to put it back to center, I've got this handy little compass here. It clicks into place when it's completely upright again. We can see now we're back where we need to be. The next step is I'm going to block in some of the other colors on the fox. I'm going to be blocking in the white on his face and chest and his tail, the black on his feet. Maybe we'll add some different color to its ears. To block that, I'm going to be using the Gouache a Go-Go brush that I was talking about a few minutes ago. Let's go ahead and get started with that. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to use a clipping mask. I'm going to make a new layer above my first layer of flat. That's this main part of my fox here. I'm going to right-click on it. Create a clipping mask and now anything that I do is going to stick to this orange area that I've colored in here. It's not going to go outside the lines at all. It makes it a little bit easier to be neat without having to be so precious about it. I am working on a white background. So I don't want to use a solid white on this guy. Actually, usually for illustration work, you're not going to be using solid white. You are going to be using other colors instead because white is often not white, it's often just shadow. I'm using my Lasso tool. I'm going to go through here and I'm going to select the areas that I'm going to color white. I'm just following my sketch for this. Then here's the only area, I'm going to make my brush really big and start blocking that in. While I've got that selected, I'm going to go ahead and actually pick a whiter white. Get it in here, just in the center, to get some variation. Then when I go back through later, I'm going to add some more variation as well. Let's see. I'm going to deselect that, and now I'm going to go over to my other flat layer that's got the tail. Right-click, create a clipping mask. I'm not going to use my Lasso tool this time. I'm just going to blob in some of this color that I picked, because I'm going to have a softer edge on the tip of the tail here. I'm going to scoot that over a little bit because I think I came down to far. I'm using the move tool and I'm moving around what I made. If I were to right-click on this and release my clipping mask, you can see the marks are all outside the tail area now. But if I right-click again, create a clipping mask, it's inside the tail area. That's really nice. Let's go ahead and block in the dark colors on the feet. I'm not worried about selecting these either, because these are just on their own little separate layers. These are the back feet. I'm going to go back to my front layer and do a little bit of a lighter color. For this one, I'm going to use my Lasso tool again. I'm going to select the little feet and may be some other ramp there. May be we'll do some of that too. I don't want to get it too close to that selection line. Let's just Lasso that again and make it a little bigger. Though we were not going to have a really solid line right here at the bottom of the leg or we may not want to. While we're here, I'm going to go ahead and add some color to the ears. I'm going to use a softer pitchy color, I think. Let's see how that works out. So much of this is just trial and error. Just like the sketching process where you try out things. You see if you like them, if they work, if they don't work, and then if they don't, you just try something else. I think that's really cute, I'm actually going to erase some of those consistencies back here. That's looking really cute so far. The other thing I want to do is, I'm going to make a new layer under here and I want to add in some more of this white color under his belly. Let's go ahead and select. We'll take it down to about there, I think is good. This is just going to give us a little bit more definition. Sometimes when you're working on cute animals like those, it's not really 100 percent anatomically accurate. But it is, like I said, close enough that it's easily recognizable as a fox. Even at this point, we haven't really gotten that far into the details or anything, and it's already fairly easily recognizable. You see this, you see the red fur, you see the white markings, pointy ears, black feet and it's obvious that this is a fox. 8. Photoshop: Adding Details: The next thing that we're going to do is we're just going to continue to add some more layers of color in here before we start adding fun details and everything else. I'm just going to continue making layers and I'm using the same brush for all of this. I'm using the Guassian go-go brush. I'm just going to be playing around with some darker and some lighter colors, just some different oranges, and maybe throw a little bit of like pink in there just for fun. We're just going to play around with the layers and see what happens. You'll see that as I'm working, I'm creating some different layer clipping masks here. Here's a really a short trick. If you've already got a clipping mask setup, look, I've already got my clipping mask here, and I want to make a new one. I can just hit "New layer," and it automatically makes it a clipping mask layer, and then I can take it and drag it around anywhere in this order that I want to. I'm doing that often. You'll also notice that when I'm trying something that I'm not sure of, I'll put it on a different layers. This layer four here is the darker leg area that I was trying out because I wasn't a 100 percent sure that I was going to like it and I wanted to make sure that it was easy to get rid of without having to use the undo option, which is also a fine option. I use undo all the time, but I just feel like when I experiment with things like this, sometimes just putting my experiments on a separate layer is nice because I can get rid of it easily, and also, because I can just sit here and click the layer on and off until I decide if it's something that I really like or not. The next step in the process is going to be to just start drawing in some of the fur details, the eye, the nose, the mouth, and all that stuff. Let's go ahead and do that real quick. I'm not sure about this ring that I've got on his eye, but we'll see how it goes. I'm just going to make the ring, I think like a lighter peachy color, then we'll make the interior of the eye the darker color. I've just got a brush that I made for this, it's very cleverly called dot shape. That's all it is. It's just a textured circular brush that I use when I'm doing eyes, or if I have to do like a polka dot pattern or anything. I really like it because it's got a nice soft texture to it, and it looks a little bit organic, and it doesn't look so digital. I'm just going to resize that, then we'll go ahead and choose like a warm brown color to make the inside of its eye. Then let's go ahead and get some whitish, and just getting a little eye shine to give them a little bit of character. Let's just go ahead and label that while we're at it. Let's try to be good here and keep our layers labeled correctly. I've still got my warm brown selected, and I'm going to go pick my medium passed solve brush. I am going to draw the nose and I think the mouth. There's a couple areas where I might want to define it later. I'm thinking I might want to define the back of this leg, and maybe the front of the font right here. But I'm not a 100 percent certain I want to do with this brush so I'm just going to leave it for now. We'll just label this nose, and then we're going to make a new layer and we'll call it fur. I'm going to use my feather fur and liner that I made, and we're going to add in some fine fur details. I'm just going to use contrasting fun colors. For the white, I'm just going to use some white, and then maybe we'll go back in and add some other colors as well just to really make it dynamic and fun. I'm just doing brush strokes as they go through here, varying length and thicknesses. This brush is really nice because it has a lot of pressure sensitivity so it really allows me to have some pretty varied strips. Now I'm just going to pick up this darker color that I used before on a white dent, and we're going to use it to add some more definition. 9. Photoshop: Texture and Shading: He's looking pretty cute so far, actually, I could probably leave him like this, but I want to go ahead and just do some more layers of color and texture. I am going to select all of these layers, I'm holding the shift key on my keyboard, and then I'm clicking the top layer, and the bottom layer, it's selecting everything, and then I'm just going to hit the little folder icon down here, and I'm going to make group, then I'm going to make a new layer, right-click, create a clipping mask. Now everything that I paint on this new clipping mask layer is going to be on the entire fox because I've got it in a group, so that makes life a lot easier. I'm going to just keep on adding a lot of different layers of texture and color, I'm going to be using some different blending modes up here to achieve different effects. This is sort of the time in your process where you're going to be experimenting a lot, the things that worked for me are probably not necessarily the things that are going to work for the style that you want to work in, and for your unique voice. I'm going to go ahead and just get started, and you can watch the process, and then after that, we're going to see if there are any little details that we need to tweak before we have a final piece of art. At this point, I have used a gray color, and I've used my watercolor blob brush, and also the gouache go-go brush to add two different layers of really textural shadows, and I did those on separate layers and both of those layers are set to color burn in 50 percent. Now I'm going to make a new layer and I still got gouache go-go brush selected, and I'm just going to start really just like brushing in some colors, some highlights, and just really starting to have some fun with it here. I'm going to start, by taming off these white areas a little bit with some more white, but because I'm using a texture brush, it's not so glaringly white as it might be. I'm just using my eyedropper tool, and I'm just going through and selecting some colors, and basically just pulling them a little bit lighter and messing around on the shader a little bit, and like I said before, I'm not being too first about this because I can either paint over it if I don't like it, or I can just undo and I'm good so just going to add some more of these lighter colors in just to give some contrast, and just sort of pump up the fun a little bit, and you can see now I'm starting to tame down that paint color that I had used earlier on, that's definitely nice. Now I definitely want to add a little bit of painterly texture, so I'm just doing another layer, and I'm just probably going to do a color burn layer again with gray picked, and then I'm going to use that extra rough brush of [inaudible] that I love so much. Now, here is a thing that I do with this brush, and this is just a personal preference, when I'm working on my sentique, I go in and adjust the tip feel on my pen, so you don't have to press down so hard when I'm working with this brush because it's really heavily textured, and you really have to press down hard on it to really get it to come through. That's just a personal preference just because I try not to be super rough on my sentique stylist, and also because I turn out to be super rough on my hand. I'm just going through, and just adding random brushstrokes here, just really thoughtfully, and this is just adding an extra bit of paint and texture, and this is what makes it look almost like it's a clause. This is actually pretty intense, If I turn this layer off and back on again, you can see it's pretty intense, so I'm going to go ahead and adjust the opacity down to 35, I think that's good, and then let's go ahead and do just one more layer of texture, and then we're going to go back in and we're going to pick out some of the details and make them a little bit more defined. 10. Photoshop: Final Details: We're looking pretty good, I'm going to ahead and make another new layer and I just want to do some final details. I'm just going to pick my futher and fur liner again and just go back through here and just tweak my details a little bit because I feel like some of my forgot lost as I was working, and I just want to bring some of that pretty color back. See, that's nice. Get some of that orange back in there, and then I also, think want to add just a little bit of definition, maybe to the legs. As I think we're done here, and the last thing that I wanted to do is just give him a little bit of a shadow underneath. Just going to pretend that has color might be reflecting off the ground. We'll, do a mob sort of thing, and then I'm just using the Google brush again. It's loosely like a head of a shadow and then I make my brush a little bit smaller and just make it a little bit more defined closer to where he is sitting. Tails off the ground there so it doesn't extend that far. That's pretty cute. Then I'm just going to adjust the pass a, just a tiny little bit on our shadow and their we go. Now, we've got our completed fox final art. I'm hoping that you're competent and ready to start drawing your own adorable animals in Photoshop now. Be sure to watch the next video because I'm going to do a recap of everything that we've learned and go over the class project with you. 11. Class assignment: For your class assignment, you're going to be following the same process that I did in the class videos. You're going to be working through looking at reference photos, doing some sketch studies, doing the shape exercise, and then sketching out an animal and working through a final illustration. The first step in that process is going to be choosing an animal to draw. I would suggest being a little bit kind to yourself and choosing something that is simple for your first attempt. I always find that it's easiest to apply new skills when I work on something less complex, and then I can move on to something more complex after I've got the skills down. I would say choose something simple to start with. Then once you've chosen your animal, you're going to spend some time looking at a lot of reference photos just to get an idea of the anatomy of the animal, the coloring, and just to start thinking about the things that you can stylize as you work through the process. Step two in the process is going to be doing a few rough sketch studies of your animal. You'll sketch as many of these as you need to feel comfortable drawing the animal. I want you to try for at least one page of these sketches, but feel free to do more of those if you want to however many you feel like you need to do to move forward. Another thing to keep in mind when you're working on these sketch studies is that it's okay for them to be messy and for it not to look great and not even to look like the animal. This is really just not about creating perfect art. It's really about just trying to understand the animal that you're drawing. Messy, messes are totally okay and even encouraged at this point. The one thing that you do want to make sure you're doing when you're doing these messy fun sketches is that you want to make sure you're making mental notes, like I said, about the anatomy of the animal, the coloring, fur, feathers, whatever you've got going on, you're just going to be making mental notes of those things as you're sketching so you'll be ready to move on to the next step. That next step is step three, where first of all, you're going to write out a shortlist of your animal's unique characteristics. You remember with the fox we were writing down the fluffy tail, the white markings, the black [inaudible] , pointy ears, pointing [inaudible]. You're going to make that list for your own animal, that's your drawing. That's just going to be the list of things that make it easily recognizable, that you're going to use that list to work through your shape practice exercise sheets. If you look under the Your Project section, you should find a PDF download that's labeled the shape practice sheets. You can just download those, and you can open them up in Photoshop or print them out, whatever you want to do. Just use those shapes and your unique characteristics lists, and try to create your animal in different poses and layouts and see what you can come up with. Step four and the final step in this process is to complete your animal illustration. Again, if you look under Your Project section, you'll find a download that will say Class Assignments, and in that class assignment PDF, I've got all of these steps laid out for you, and I also laid out the steps of my illustration process. You'll be able to see my sketch there, my flat, the details, the texture and shading, and then the final details for a completed illustration. That will help you on your journey, and then once you've got your animal illustration complete, definitely share it with us here in the class, and you're welcome to share your sketches and anything else that you want to share along the way. I'm always happy to provide feedback and assistance whenever you need it. Definitely be sure to share, and I can't wait to see what you come up with.