It feels like most of the projects I would like to tackle would benefit from better drawing skills and I've been wanting to get back in to it for a while now. I decided that signing up for a course would give me the incentive to do just that so I was really interested to find that local animal artist, Eric Watson, was running courses at his studio.

I do love big cats and we have sponsored Amur Leopards with WWF for many years, so I was really happy to find a course where I could draw one. In the couple of weeks before the class I wanted to practise - mainly so I would be able to draw the proportions of the image by hand. I started to learn the eye shape of the leopard, about the spot patterns and the direction of the fur.


Eric actually chose a clouded leopard to draw. He’d taken a photograph in to Photoshop and adjusted it to boost the contrast, remove the colour and give it a dark background. Working from this image we set about drawing, Eric offering tips along the way.

And that’s when I realised that drawing takes time - I had 6 hours allocated to doing nothing but draw and because I wasn’t at home I didn’t have to stop to cook the tea or answer the door. (I wouldn’t recommend sitting still for 6 hours at a time, but you get what I mean). At the end of the day I had finished most of the drawing - just a paw, a hint of background and the whiskers to finish off.

Materials : :

Smooth black card, something like a black Bristol board.

Pencils - white Polychromos (Faber Castell) and white Supracolor (Caran D'Ache). The Supracolor is water soluble so can be dampened slightly to give stronger highlights.

A black eraser is best on the black paper, but I'm not sure what brand we used. 

For the whiskers - practice drawing longer lines first and move your paper to get a comfortable angle on the curve. I found that twisting the pencil whilst drawing the line, although a bit tricky, kept the line sharp right to the pointed end of the whisker.

It took me a while to allocate the time to complete the drawing, and I had to stop myself from going back in and constantly adjusting this bit and that, but I’m really happy with the finished drawing. One to be framed and proudly displayed.



Information : :

Eric Watson, International Animal and Wildlife Artist See the wonderful images that Eric draws plus information about his workshops.

Clouded Leopards (Neofelis nebulosa) are descended from the pantherine cats like the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis). Both are on the on the IUCN Red List - Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable, Amur Leopards classed as Critically Endangered.

Find out more: Adopt an Amur Leopard and support WWF here...



Contact Me

I live and work in Worcester in the UK. If you'd like to email me