How to draw a wolf

with graphite

In this tutorial you can see and learn how to draw a wolf with graphite pencils.


You need at least one 2B graphite pencil (or softer) for the very dark areas. We cannot create absolute dark areas using H or HB pencils. You will need one HB for the middle tones and one 5H. The image below shows the scale of graphite pencil nuances you can choose from. If you don't have many pencils, you can get more nuances from a single pencil by controlling how hard you press it when you draw.

I've put together the tools I use in the image below.

1. HB graphite pencil. 2. 2B pencil. I use this for black hair, pupils, or other parts of the drawing, like the background. 3. 5H. This is a very good pencil for highlights. 4. As you can see, I have many kinds of erasers. This is a simple one for erasing the larger parts of the paper. I don't use kneaded erasers. 5. Eraser in pencil: sharpen and go... 6. This is a mechanical pencil eraser. I cut the top with a knife and erase the tiny parts with an edge of the gum. You will see that technique in the tutorial of the white cat. 7. For shading, I make a powder from a pencil with sharpener or a knife and I spread it with a tissue. 8. Cotton swabs. I like to use this for shading. It's pretty practical and everyone already has them at home. 8. Blending stumps

I use blending stump to soften the drawn area and to fill the tooth of the paper with graphite. In the image below, you can see the difference between the drawn areas without and with using a blending stump.

Reference photo

Main lines and background

Draw a grid over reference photo and on a paper. Measure and draw main lines, after that erase the grid. When drawing the grid don't press too much, otherwise you can create "channels" with pencil, which will be visible after erasing grid. The best if you draw a grid with H pencils. More about grid you can find in

tutorial on how to draw a cat

This time I start with the background and draw it with H3 graphite pencil. Usually I make a powder from graphite pencil and spread it with my finger making a background this way. If you have enough patience, draw all the background around the fur of the wolf, drawing the lines with pencil inwards the fur of the wolf (see the next image), creating the edge of his body this way. These parts have to stay white. Also, draw around the teeth and canines, leaving them white. You can go over the drawn background with blending stump, if you want to. Once you have done your background, you get the shape of the wolf.

Black parts

I draw all the black parts, using a 6B graphite pencil, going over twice in order to make absolute black areas. That's why I press hard and draw 2-3 "layers". Draw the pupil and around the iris, using the same graphite pencil. You can see in the image below the scale of graphite pencil nuances you can choose from. You will need to use these in the next steps. If you don't have much pencil, you can get more nuance from a single pencil by controlling how hard you press it when you draw. Don't forget to use a blending stump, which is really cheap and useful for blending.

Shading the fur

I shade the parts of the fur with graphite powder that I make from graphite pencils with sharpener or a knife. You can even buy a graphite powder if that's more comfortable for you. If you are making a powder on your own, make sure that you've created a perfect powder without any grains left in it, because these tiny grains can create the lines as you spread your powder, which you don't want to happen, particularly when shading the human's face. So, I spread it gently over the parts that are neither black nor white, using tissues and cotton swab, smaller parts with blending stump. The edges of the wolf's body have to stay white, because they are affected by the light. This way our wolf will appear more realistic.

Drawing with eraser

I "draw" with mechanical eraser, erasing the lines of the areas that are spread with graphite powder. This way I get the white hair and highlighted parts of the fur. After that I draw between these, using H3 pencil. Analyze the previous and next images, note the difference and try to make the same. You should practice these steps on another paper until you learn how to make a fur this way. Once you have learned the best you can, apply these to your drawing. Mind that this is just the one of method and we can draw it differently. As I have already mentioned in the introduction: try many methods in order to find what works the best for you. You can get your own style and skills only through a lot of practice and experience. Do the same with the rest of the wolf. The side of his head has a long hair and white parts, so these areas can be done faster than his forehead.

Final result:

Watch real time video and learn how to draw a wolf with colored pencils

Get the print of my Black Wolf drawing, available on deviantART

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