Drawing Pets With Markers | Morgan Swank | Skillshare

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Drawing Pets With Markers

teacher avatar Morgan Swank, Illustrator

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.

      Supply Video


    • 3.

      Study The Photo


    • 4.

      Pencil Outline


    • 5.

      Adding in Light Grey Marker


    • 6.

      Adding in Dark Grey Marker


    • 7.

      Adding in Ink


    • 8.

      Adding In Final Details


    • 9.

      Thank you


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About This Class

In this class you will learn how to draw a cat using pen and marker. We will be primarily using shades of grey to render our furry friend. 

You will learn:

- To better freehand a sketch from a photo

- How to layer tones to create realistic shading

- How to accurately represent fur

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Morgan Swank



I run Morgan Swank Studio which is an art and design studio based in Richmond, Virginia that specializes in custom illustrations, wholesale greeting cards, and art education.

I first fell in love with drawing as a little girl and have never lost my passion to create. I began developing my skills as a portrait artist and my work has continued to evolve as I explore a variety of subjects in pencil and marker.

Want to keep up with the latest illustrations?  Check out my Instagram, and let's be Insta friends! 


You can follow my artistic endeavors on my website! I even have a page of free resources!


See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi. My name is Morgan Swank, and I'm an illustrator living in Richmond, Virginia. In this class will be going over how to make a pet portrait using markers. We'll start at the beginning where I'll show you how to look at an image and understand how to draw that with a pencil on paper. Once we do that, also, you have to start adding in lawyers of color to create a realistic pet portrait. We will then go in with pencil and pen to finish off the peace. This class should help give you better confidence when drawing pets and also better confidence with using markers to draw for Thanks so much for joining me, and I hope you love this class. 2. Supply Video: in this video. I'm going to go over the supplies you need for this class. The first thing you're going to need is paper. So I really like this co pick sketchbook, its spiral bound and the paper is really nice because it doesn't bleed through to the pieces below it. So it takes the marker really well. If you do not like a spiral bound sketchbook, you can use paper like Borden and Riley's to 34 Paris paper for pens. This is really nice. It's £108 it works really well for markers. Or you can go up to the 1 20 Bristol plate. This is a little bit thicker, and I use this sometimes for commission work with a little bit more expensive per sheet. You also need a mechanical pencil. I like this pen. Tell one you could have a kneaded erasers. Well, any brand works. I like micron 005 Anything heavier than that might seem a little bit too cartoony for an outline. I like the Posca White Unit pen. It really does a nice job of creating white lines on top of the marker. And then you're gonna need a host of greys, so you don't need to use kopek markers if you don't want to. But I just have a bunch of shades of gray from kopeck in their tea. Siri's so what you can do is you can look at, um, any other brand. Just make sure that you have a wide variety from really like gray to dark gray and black. Additionally, if you are using co pick or a similar type, you're gonna need a few extra pence. These for co pick R E 70 e 71 Y G 21 G 82 Again, you can just find thes similar shades in another brand if you're not using kopek markers. I also like to have a lot of colored pencils for this illustration. We're not going to use as many, but these really help if you really enjoy using markers, but don't always have the colors you need, I feel like color Pencil adds a lot of texture and also helps you get to a truer shade that you're looking for in this illustration. What we're going to use our just like a cream. A couple topi graze graphite, a black and then the other small pinky blush. And then I use an iPad to have my picture up to draw from, but you can use any electronic device or picture that you have printed out. 3. Study The Photo: in this video, I'm going to be showing you how to examine your photo. So the most important thing before you start to draw is to really look at your photo and not just look at it to be like, Oh, it's a cat. But look at it to see the different angles and planes that we're seeing on this photo. So if I square up the cat to the screen and see if this it's generally making the shape of a square, this photo is, but the cat is pretty much in the center of that. So it's not pushing out too far to the right or to the left, Up or down, it's pretty much a giant circle. Once I establish it, it's a giant circle. I start looking at the shape of the face and the shape of the face and the scruff, and all of that is also looking very circular to me. So in my mind, what this looks like, if I were to put it on top of a photo would be this. These green circles help me see the shape that I'm generally trying to achieve when I start to draw, so we see the biggest circle would be around her ear points down around her backside to her pot entail. So if I start drawing and I realized that my shape is really long and like an oval, I will know immediately that I'm drawing incorrectly. So the whole shape of the cat is pretty much a circle. I'll then look and say OK, her body scruff makes a circle her scruff around her neck and her face makes a circle, and then her eyes to her nose and mouth, make a circle. So I'll be keeping these points and shapes circular shapes in my head when I start to draw beyond just thes larger shapes. A really big important point is the angles that we're drawing as well. So now that I have a big strips in, I need to look at the angles that this cat is making. So again, if I were to look at this as the photo, what I'm seeing in my mind are these planes. So everything, if you look at it, is pretty squared up or in the shapes of rectangles. It's just rotated from 12 o'clock to one o'clock. So what we're doing is we're shifting everything slightly with the angles of the face and the body. This is really important when you're drawing, because otherwise your whole perspective is going to be skewed and your cat isn't gonna look realistic or whatever animal you're drawing if you've chosen not to draw this cat, so you really need to make sure you understand the angles of the face. Now you might say, OK, how did you just see these angles? Well, hopefully what's clear here is that I draw straight lines across through the pupils. And then I'm also drawing a straight line across the top of her head in a straight line from the ear points and then underneath her neck. You can kind of start picking out those lines. You can also see the contrast ing angle of where her pot is. But what I'm doing is instead of taking those wobbly lines and getting really confused by them, I'm just taking point to point and seeing where they lead. So this is super important when you're drawing is to understand what angles you're putting into the drawing and not to get confused by all the different furry shapes and textures. So the basis of this drawing. When I start looking at it, Um, if I take away those lines, you'll see it's like, Oh, again, it just looks like a cat And those lines aren't as obvious, Um, but that's something that's really important is to be able to look at it and dissect it into not only the shapes but also the planes and lines. And this is what's going to make you be able to draw accurately, which we will see in the next video. 4. Pencil Outline: in this video, I'm going to show you how to outline in pencil. So taking into consideration what we learned in the last video when I start to draw what I'm going to dio is I'm just going to start keeping those things in the back of my mind. Now, if you are more comfortable, what you can do is if you think about those circles and planes, if you want to start putting those in and actually creating the circles with a compass and putting in the lines with a ruler, that's a great way to get started with understanding how to keep your drawing within bounds of what you're trying to create. What I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna keep that. Like I said in the back of my mind in the framework, um, toe, understand what planes I'm working with. So, as you see, I started the top, and what I did was I just make sure there's plenty of room around, um, around my cat. So I didn't start too high up, and I don't want to start to low because I want to make sure there's plenty of white space around my drawing. So I did was I started putting in the years. You can see I'm kind of working off of different planes. Putting in the eyes currently and where I'm constantly doing is I'm using my pencil as a ruler. So what I'll do is I'll take it on my hands and I'll lay it against the drawing quickly, just to give myself a point of Am I still going in the same direction as the lines in the photo that we saw in the last video? I'll sketch things in lightly and more of, ah, generic shape at times. And then what I'll do is I'll go back in and provide clarity. So, like with the nose and was going to start blocking things in. And it's gonna help me figure out on my having things in the right angles at the right proportions. So I'll start at the top, and I'll slowly kind of fill in in a way that allows me to use, um to use the different objects or different features in relation to one another. And that's gonna help inform how I'm drawing my cat. See here I slowly made my way down from the top to the bottom. What you could do is you could start blocking in the whole piece. You could start at the top. I've worked both ways. This just seems to be a little bit easier for me to do when I'm drawing in pencil is to start at the top and work my way down. But another good way to draw is too loosely. Draw in the larger shapes and then slowly kind of worked those out. So it's really up to you. You have to figure out the best way it works for you to create what you're trying to achieve. So if working at the top and working your way down just really makes things look lopsided, then I would go back and put in those circles and planes like we did in the last video and then slowly fill in from there again, doing a little bit line line testing, making sure that planes air looking correctly. And as I go back in, I'll keep refining. So it's not like I looked at it once, and I'm like our good to go. What I do is I keep going back and keep readjusting slightly. The lines, the shapes um, the different nuanced pieces of the ear in this situation, um, moving down the sides of the face to the corners of the eyes. So it's a constantly going back and refining we're finding we're finding. So if you just want to draw something once quickly and move on, this is not the type of drawing for you. What we're doing is we're slowly just going back and continuing to draw and sometimes draw the same lines. But what you're doing is you're helping when you're drawing. Sometimes your eyes just don't see correctly. You're drawing things and it seems right, And it's not so if you keep going back and kind of going over it again. What happens is your kind of reducing the potential for you to be drawing things that your eyes are seeing incorrectly, as you can tell him, starting to create a little bit darker lines, the more confident I am in the shapes that I've created, you can safely the eyes and the nose and the ears that we're getting darker and darker as I become more and more confident in the way I want my illustration to look, I don't do hard lines with the for. I kind of create these sketchy for lines. It just creates a little bit more authenticity and is not as harsh as if I were destroying straight black lines again. I bounce around a little bit just to kind of compare things to one another. So the things I think is really important just continuing to go back and jump back around and get a fresh perspective on a place that you don't to bog down into it, and that is the outline of the cat. 5. Adding in Light Grey Marker: in this video will be going over how to add in the great tones. The first thing you need to do is take your kneaded eraser and we're going to just blot it over the surface and kind of rub a little bit, but not too hard. What you're trying to do is you're trying to keep the outline, but then not have to dark of pencil lines so that you see it on the final piece. So I'm slowly just lightly erasing the whole thing so you can still see the outline. But it's not really prominent. Let's start with the T zero marker and what I'm gonna do it and we'll start putting it in the places where I see the gray on the cat. So I'm pretty much leaving the light light spots alone. But I'm going in where I definitely know where I see great under the nose, around the mouth and then up on top of the nose, towards the eyes. I'm gonna leave these lighter spaces blank, and I'm just gonna keep going and start adding that in all the way around the cat from adding it in around the ears. I'm using the chisel tip, but you can use a brush marker or the fin tip I won't use just yet. I'll be using that later to get some more detail in. But I use this chisel edge, Um, and it works pretty well to just start adding in the different color. So I'm just blocking in where I'm seeing the main gray lines, and I'm really short strokes that looked kind of furry. I don't want to do anything to Long's that want to mimic the texture that I'm seeing on the cat and color in the whole backside and then work my way down the front, heading a little around the chin. You can see the dark spots inside the ear, so I'm gonna add in there and then go in a little bit a second time with the same marker South markers. What's great is you can layer the same shade, so I go in once and then I'll go on again with the same t zero, and it will just make it a little bit darker, a little bit more saturated so you can see all the different ingredient layers that I have here and now we're gonna go in and add in darker grace 6. Adding in Dark Grey Marker: in this lesson, I will show you how to add in darker grey tones. So once we're done with our light gray, what we're gonna do is we're going to up the number of gray that we're working with. So this one is t one. So it's just one level up from our last grade. But what it does is it's just going to keep adding more depth and dimension to what we're doing. I'm just gonna follow along and I'm gonna look at the darker places where the for is so some of the lighter for I'll leave areas around that where you just see that t zero. But then with the t one, I'm going to go around just whether it's more of the contrast, and I'm just going to start adding in again short strokes. So the short strokes are not longer than an inch at the longest. I'm doing this to mimic the for we're seeing in the photo and we keep adding in t one Right now it looks really dark. But once I start adding in the darkest tones, we're going to see how light this t one and T zero really are now. I flipped it around and use the smaller edge. And I'm just going to start doing the little lines up and in so that it creates more of a furry look. You can see that here we can see, like the light of the for the white, for I'm just going to go in and add a little details. Now I'm gonna jump in with a really dark t nine and I'm just gonna add in the dark around the eyes. So when I do marker illustration, what I really like to do is start off with a base of light colors. And then, instead of going gradually up, lightest to darkest will do is I'll dio shades of light and then I'll jump in with my darkest tone. And then I'll be working back and forth the light to dark s so that I can get a accurate understanding of what my light and mid tones are. So I'm going to go in now with my pen and kind of added in a little bit of the detail around the eye. Um, just the fine lines that I can't get with my marker now with T six, which is a good mid tone. I'm going to jump in and start adding in to the darker mid tone areas of first. As you can see, I'm kind of jumping in where I'm gonna actually darken it a little bit more there. But I just kind of want to add in the spots where the darkness is. I'm not going to draw the little jewell collar thing. I'm just going to use keep it the for So just gonna fill in, begin using the shorter strokes. You want it to look furry so you don't want to just sit there and, like, cover the whole thing with marker, cause that's just gonna end up looking really flat. Part of the dimension is the ability to create the strokes in the direction of the for and to not over work it so that what you're seeing is the layers of the marker on top of each other and on going off t five, which you can see a slightly lighter than the T six. So by now, you should be starting to understand how the different layering works. What this does, it's just gonna create a really dynamic looking cat portrait. So I'm gonna go back in and cover over, um, the darker t six for, but I'm not going to do too much because I don't want to, like, lose that lightness. So, as you can tell, I haven't really worked that t five all the way across in a solid manner, have done it really sketchy and mimicking the for. Then I'm gonna go back down to a lighter color, - heading in the little details, making sure that the shape of the face looks like the facing on it to look like jumping back in with some darker, darker mid tones and then going back toe later, mid tones and the latest color. So this one is now we're back to t one, and I'm just jumping over and kind of smoothing over all of the the mid to light tones and then filling in more of the year, so I rather have less of the paper covered. So if there's things with lightness and you don't know whether you should add in a little bit of a grey, I would rather leave that white and then come back in later and add a little bit in, as opposed to over doing it with the darker tones, because once you start over doing it, things can look really a muddy or really overworked quickly. It's always good to remind yourself that you can go back later and add in darker shades of the gray, so I definitely would tend towards the lighter side and then slowly keep adding in more as you go along. 7. Adding in Ink: in this video, we'll be finishing up, adding in the color and then putting in our Inc. So we're gonna take our why g 21. We're gonna start coloring in the eyes. Someone's gonna fill them all the way in with this color, and we actually take my G 82. I was gonna slowly put in where I see kind like the dots of green in the image gonna take my e 70 and fill in the nose and also fill in a little bit of the years where I see a little bit of that pink Penis. I might take my e 71 which is a little bit darker and this color in the darker part of the bottom of the nose that I'm gonna take my micron 005 and start adding in the lines, especially in the ears where the for comes out of. You're gonna want to make quick strokes to get that that look. Then we have put lines around where I see on the nose where there's darker little areas and thoughts, I'm going to use it to kind of find around the shape of the face. I'm not doing Ah, hard hard line I'm doing is doing quick little strokes in the direction of the for you continue using it to define the different areas. So around the ears at the top of the head, we're seeing some of that for flick up around top of the other ear, right? So what I'm doing here is I'll take this other piece of paper and show you instead of drawing this hard outline. What I'm doing is I'm creating these like broken lines. Oh, that does is it's just going to give you a little bit more movement, and it's gonna look significantly better. You can add little for ah, wisps down or on the side again. This is creating a similar line effect. But instead of just creating a solid line, do you see how it's much more dynamic when you do it the way where it looks like it's for. This is what we're going to try to do with this illustration, so make sure not to add super hard lines, but just add these, like nice little short first strokes, and then you're kind of creating that border you want. It just doesn't look like such a hard, stagnant border. I'm just saying keep going around the drawing adding in the for lines, especially at these points where furs overlapping we see some dimension I'm gonna add in short strokes there, specially in the tail down by the pot. So I'm gonna add in these little blanket lines, we think too heavy. And then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna kind of detail around the pot. As you can see, I didn't really excessively used marker on it. And what I'm doing now is I'm going to use little first strokes to create the shape of the pot that I'm looking for, providing a little bit more clarity just with the pen and I'm jumping back around so I don't hyper focus on one spot. And then we're like, Oh, I really think I need to add a little bit, um, darker tones. I'll jump back in with my markers. So this is the T seven. I really felt like I needed to pop some more of this face and down by the back. So I'm just gonna do is I'm taking the thin tip of the T seven and I'm going to go back and and see where I feel like I need to add in a little bit more depth, definitely down there by the paw over on the side. You can tell it the darker there in the photo, still defining the eyes with the pen, making sure the shape is right into that, their dark enough, coming back in on some lighter letter marker quickly and back to a darker for her tone. So this is just where I refined. So since I've added in the pen, I feel like it's given me again another layer where I can then go back and be like, OK, am I missing anything? Is there anything that I need to punch up? You're constantly looking at the picture that you're drawing from and comparing your illustration to that picture. Now I take my pasta penne and I just add in, um, the eyebrows and the for from the ears. But also death of migrants all dio micron strokes and all these strokes with the white pen . And that kind of is the last layer of ink that I'll dio 8. Adding In Final Details: in this video, we're gonna talk about adding in the final details to finish up the piece. So I'm gonna go back in now that I have the ink in and I'm just going to slowly continue to redefine. So I'm gonna go back and just, like, do a once over again of the different areas that I see in places that I might want to tweet . The next thing I'm gonna do is grab my colored pencils and I'm going to use my pencils to start giving a little bit more dimension. So I'm gonna take this topi color to kind of give that tope look that we see in the photo. I'm just going to use that in places where I didn't want to use my markers because I felt like marker would add just a little too much color. I'm going to do it around the around her face, underneath her chin again, short strokes that look like for you might come with, like, a light gray and go back in with the pencil and create the strokes again, always in the direction that for goes, you do it in a different were direction. You're not gonna make it look like it's a cat. You're gonna make it. It's gonna be really weird to the I. Any place that looks too stark or the light feels like the white white and against the dark just feels to contrast ID You're gonna want to, kind of. I'm soften that. And one of the best ways to soften that, I found, is with a colored pencil. So I'll put that color pencil all around the drawing, and then I'm jumping in with a little bit darker pencil. This is more of like a graphite dark gray, and we're going to add that Teoh places where I think I need to have a little bit more darker definition up the for. And again, all of these layers are just creating a more dynamic illustration, so you don't want to overdo it. That's why I keep going back as you've seen me several times. I have gone on to the next step, and I absolutely gone back and tweaked a little bit. You want to always leave room to go back and tweak life. I've said it's better to start off light and then work your way dark as opposed to just jumping with the dark cause you're not gonna be able to pull that ink up in any way, shape or form a little bit darker under the neck here in the photo than what I felt like. I feel like I portrayed someone Add in that gray under there, especially when I have something light. And then there's dark under any. Sometimes what I'll do is with the dark. I'll work my way up into the first so that it doesn't have such a dark, a dark line. So essentially it's like the for the dark for underneath this peeking out. So I'll start in the dark and work my way into the light going up and then from the dark at the top, down into the light, going down. And then I jump back in with the highest to give it a little bit more gray around the edges . E I add in a little bit of color. What color? I mean, just gray down here shadow. And then I'm gonna add a little bit of shadow down here on the bedspread and under the pa just to give it a sense of space. Am I going with the nose, a little bit more ink to the nose and taking my white pasta pound. Give it a good shake. Let's look at the photo again, adding a little bit more of those white furry strands from the ear and both sides see, and my strokes are quick. They're not overly worked. If you try to do those lines to slow, you're going get a really wobbly line, and that's not gonna look good at all. I'm going back in with light, and I'm just making this side of her face darker. As you can see in the photo, I feel like it's in darker on the side than on the right side. There was going quickly. Go back in and just darken that up a little bit, do some last minute additions and run these like grays. Sometimes it's helpful to take one the really like rays and use that to blend some of the darker grazie seen before Adam. Just a little bit more ink down here just to give it a little bit more definition, and there we have our cat 9. Thank you: thank you so much for taking this class with me. I really hope it's helped you on your artistic journey. If you have any comments or questions, don't hesitate to reach out. Also, if you like the class, make sure to leave a review. If you're interested in seeing more of my work, feel free to check out morgan swink dot com and also check out the other classes that I have here on skill share. Thank you so much.