How to Draw a Wolf
Here is the completed picture of the balloon that we will do how to draw a wolf step-by-step lesson. You can adapt the steps shown in this tutorial to fit any picture of a dog or wolf, just adjust your colors as needed. Note that you can click the images to see the full-size image.
First, a note about my balloon reference photo. I bought the rights to use this photo from an incredible, well-known wildlife photographer about fifteen years ago, and then it hasn’t been drawn until now. If you do not have access to wild wolves you should buy photos from a photographer that allows you to make derivative art from it, or go to the zoo and picture captive wolves and beautiful backgrounds and combine the two. If you don’t, and you only copy things in books and magazines, you’re infringing on the photographer’s copyright. There are no exceptions to this rule. If you do, you could get sued by the photographer.
Draw a Wolf – Preliminary Sketch
To start drawing the balloon, I broke the picture into basic shapes for the animal and the background. I use the shape of the kite on the face of the balloon to get the eye level and the pose and dimensions of the balloon correct. Draw lightly at this stage, so as not to scratch the paper or deposit too much graphite.
How to Draw a Wolf – The Complete Outline
My pencil drawing changed a lot of elements from the photo but these are balloon and tree outlines. I got this by erasing areas of the main shapes and adding in a little bit of detail. I will now continue to refer to these drawing ideas as well as the picture. I moved the drawing onto watercolor paper and started.
Starting with the Wolf’s Head
Notice that only the balloon drawing is moved. I tend to want to draw in the background more freely and less photographic. I look at the initial drawing if I need guidelines on where to grow trees and grass.
I’m starting to sketch in light grays here using a combination of different brands of colored pencils. I use Berol, Prismacolour, Faber Castell, and even student grades like Laurentian and Crayola. Each brand has a different hardness, texture, amount of wax binder, and slightly different color range. Some leads are harder and handle a sharpened point easier.
I do the wolf’s eyes and nose in light gray strokes and start the detailed hair on the wolf’s head with small strokes.
Draw a Wolf – Developing a Wolf’s Coat
I added more strokes and layers to the balloon coat, paying careful attention to what direction the hair was growing and implanting with the strokes. Wolves are beautifully colored coats that tend to be organized into some really fun abstract shapes. I followed those carefully, adding stroke layers on top of each other in darker areas and adding guidelines for lighter areas.
Draw Wolf Fur – How to Draw Wolf Fur
This is a detail about wolf fur. Notice the darker hair and the amazing textures created by the hair patterns on this animal’s coat. I do multiple layers of strokes to emphasize the way the hair grows and add a darker area where one layer of fur overlaps the next.
Feather Drawing – Erasing and Blending
Erasing and blending are useful techniques when drawing feathers. Drained and vinyl erasers are great here for lifting areas of color that get too intense or too smudged. Q tips help with smudging areas. Rotate the end of the Q Tip as I go for the clean area. Many fall every day.
Draw a Wolf – Background Making
I’m starting to think about the background now and switch the media to water-soluble colored pencils, with a highly water-soluble pigment, that blurs the boundary between drawing and painting. Some water-soluble brands I use are Derwent, Prismacolour, and Faber Castell.
There are two ways I use these pencils, first, lay down layers of color and strip with a Qtip that’s what I did here, or two wets the lead and draw a circular motion with wet lead, very effective for dark areas. The leads tend to dissolve in water so I kept drying them under the heat of an old modern light bulb.
I begin to sketch in the deep grass of the rise that he stands in regular pencils with very sharp tips as I outline every blade and cluster of grass. I’m starting to outline trees with darker and lighter areas. I just can’t say enough about the flexibility of Q tips for drawing, smudging, and erasing techniques. They are the cheapest, most flexible art supply around.
Draw a Wolf – Background Completion
The drawing continues, adding longer strokes of grass and small trees and weeds growing on the grass. I added ultramarine blue strokes to the grass to suggest shadow. I keep adding layers of the same types of colored pencils to the trees to outline and define each shape. I try not to draw on every needle or branch but make pleasing fuzzy shapes. I changed the position of many of the trees and the horizon line to make more compositions, thus altering the original sketch slightly. These things become brighter as you get more out of the drawing.
Completing Wolf Drawing with Color Pencil
drawing, balancing colors and cleaning the surface. The colors became too harsh and too blue in my opinion so I lightened the drawing areas with a vinyl eraser, Kleenex, and Q tips. Sometimes the surface of the paper builds up, called wax, so the eraser took it off as well. I added more detail and a single long stroke to the grass. I covered his feet because they couldn’t show up in the deep grass. I smiled the areas of her coat with Burned Sienna and Yellow Ocher colored pencils and the regular black colored pencil areas were indestructible so it was a handy technique to mix both types. I darkened her tongue and added the shadow to the rose.
I ended up scanning and getting any small mistakes or dirt bugs in Photoshop. I will stick to this line drawing of “His Place in Nature” and add it to my catalog (Master List) of drawings and post it. It’s always interesting to look at my older job to see how far I’ve come and how my job has changed over the decades.