Colour Pencil Meerkat study

This colour pencil meerkat study is my first use of colour pencils in quite a few years.

I own quite a collection of colour pencils that has been built up over many years. The manufactures include Berol Karismacolor, Derwent Drawing and Derwent Artists.

Sadly the Karismacolor pencils are no longer in production. Which is a shame as they are really great to use.

Anyway, back to the drawing, or is it a painting? For this drawing I used a combination of Karismacolor and the Derwent Drawing colour pencils. Both are a soft waxy lead, which lends itself to very smooth blending.

This waxy lead enabled me to produce a very realistic and pleasing rendition of the Meerkats eye and nose.

Close up of some colour pencil work on a small Meerkat study by wildlife artist Stuart Fowle.

Taking in to consideration that the paper in the sketch book is not the best quality for colour pencil work, I’m very happy happy with the eye and nose.

Any issues?

Lets talk about the problems I did have with this colour pencil Meerkat study? Well if I’m honest, and I think it shows, I struggled to draw the fur convincingly.

This was down to me trying to use the same method that I use with my graphite drawings with the waxy colour pencils. I feel I may have had better results on the fur if I had used the Derwent Artists colour pencils.

The ‘Artists’ are a harder oil based lead, which would have enabled me to get crisper fur stroke lines.

I mentioned the quality of the paper above, but another point that crossed my mind, is that I should try this on some suitable mid-toned colour paper. I found I needed to create a base colour to inject some life into the fur.

To add a bit of life to the image, it was all looking a bit beige and brown. I very lightly layered some pale light blues over the fur. This just gave it a bit more interest with the colour range.

Another use of a not expected colour was to use Karismacolor Grape in the dark areas. It is not as harsh as black, and not another brown like Burnt Umber or Sepia.

Finished colour pencil study of a Meerkat by wildlife artist Stuart Fowle.
The finished study, image size approx. 13x13cm

YouTube demo

Dog portrait study

My latest drawing, dog portrait study, took me a little longer to finish than the previous drawings.

The reference photo for this one is from my own collection, so no worries about copyright issues.

Talking of copyright, I always try and use my own reference photos. Prevents any issues relating to copyright, especially if you want to sell the completed artwork at some stage in the future.

Back to the drawing. As the drawing is in my A5 sketch book, the image size is approx 12x12cm, so quite small.

However, it is still large enough to get some detail. Plus with this drawing, I had the challenge of remembering how to render leather and metal surfaces.

I used my favourite Staedtler Mars Technico pencils for this drawing. Having a pencil that is a constant length just makes for a more comfortable drawing experience.,

If you are going to start using the Mars Technico pencils, I would highly recommend also getting their lead sharpener. Had mine for a few years now, and would be lost without it.

Making a start on the dog portrait study.

As you can see from the above photo, I used a grid system to draw the dogs head. I usually find that as the drawing progresses, I make small changes to the outline.

steady progress on the dog study.

Slow but steady progress with the dog portrait study. My rendering of the fur is much more refined than my first sketch book study of the horses head.

to finishing the dog portrait study.

Getting close to the end of the drawing. I’ve not rendered leather or metal for a while with pencil, so was quite pleased with the results I got on paper.

The completed drawing.

Well I’m quite pleased with how the drawing came out. Each drawing is a learning curve. Either in remembering a technique or trying something new.

Below is a little short video demo I did on how I draw the short fur by using a combination of pencils.

Fallow Deer study – Sketch book update

This is my latest drawing in my sketch book, a Fallow Deer study.

The drawing is the usual 10x15cm size. Which in this case was probably a bit too small for the subject.

Because it is quite a small drawing of a large subject. I decided to not use my usual Staedtler 2mm mechanical pencils, but some 0.5mm mechanical pencils that I have. The issue with using the 0.5mm pencils was that I wasn’t 100% sure what lead I was using!

I actually quite enjoyed using the 0.5mm pencils, so using a gift voucher that I got for Christmas, I ordered some Pentel 0.5mm Ain Stein refills in various strengths. I plan to do a little review of them when they arrive.

Anyway, back to the drawing. For this Fallow deer study, I used a rendering method that I’ve not used for quite some time, blending.

I don’t normally blend my pencil drawings, which is quite interesting as when I first started drawing many years ago, it was the method that I used. However, as my drawings progressed so did my style.

My style was heavily influenced by an amazing pencil artist called Mike Sibley. I attended one of his courses many years ago, and also have a signed copy of his book.

For me, and this is just my own opinion, I try not to blend pencils too much. I feel that for most animal drawings, it does not look right. However that is not always the case. Just like this study, blending suits it as it is so small, so not much in the way of detail can be seen.

Pencil drawing, a Fallow deer study by artist pet, horse and animal artist Stuart Fowle.

Quite happy with the result, especially considering I was using different pencils and a different style. A good learning exercise.

Hare study in pencil – sketch book update

This post will talk about my third drawing for this year, a hare study in pencil and is also a sketch book update.

Decided to try something a bit different from a horse subject for my third drawing. My wife likes rabbits, so thought a rabbit study would be good to do.

I don’t have any reference photos of rabbits. However, I’m a long time member of a art forum site called which has a section of reference photos supplied by various members. The images are allowed for use for this type of drawing.

OK, it’s not a rabbit, it’s a European Hare (image supplied by Rayemond). I cropped the image to focus on the head area. I also made a greyscale version of the photo to better let me see the differences when drawing it in pencil.

So to complete this hare study in pencil, I created my usual grid pattern. Then sketched out the hares head and made adjustments as required.

For this drawing, I mainly used 4H, B, 2B and 4B pencils. Using the 4H to almost inscribe in to the paper. Then when the softer pencils are used, they skip over the harder 4H. Then by lifting some of the pencil with blue-tak I create the texture I’m looking for.

Still really finding my way with adapting my style, but really pleased with my progress.

Really happy with how the fur came out (can always be improved). Head shape not so great, but I think you can tell it’s a hares head!

Pencil study of a hares head by Devon based artist Stuart Fowle.

So only another 47 pages to fill. This is going to be a fascinating look at how my drawing skills change and improve with each drawing. Well I certainly hope they improve!

Sketch book update

Time for another sketch book update and staying with the equine theme.

Page 2 is a quick study of a Shetland pony. The drawing is based on one of my own photos that I took when I was invited to visit and have a look around at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary near to Newton Abbot (Devon), back in 2015.

As this was my second drawing my confidence with my rendering skills had improved.

Again, I used the same tools that I used in the horse head drawing.

This time, because the Shetland is quite small, I decided to draw the whole of the pony.

Also, she is in her winter coat. So this was a good opportunity to practice longer hair. The rendition of her mane didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but it is still OK.

Drawing size is 15x10cm (6×4 inch), so quite small. But I’m happy with just doing these small images at the moment. They are not too daunting or overwhelming. Being able to complete them in a few hours I get a feeling of satisfaction.

Also by using a sketch book and not single sheets of paper. There is not the pressure to create a masterpiece. If I was to do the drawings on individual sheets, it would feel like they would then need to be for sale.

In addition, they feel more personal because they are in my sketchbook, and they are for my benefit.

I must mention, that when working on this study, I dug out one of my most favourite and useful reference books, An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists If you are starting out with drawing animal subjects, especially horses, then this book is a MUST! (OK, that just my opinion).

Sketch book up date – The drawing

OK, enough of the chatting, here is my little Shetland Pony study.

Pencil drawing of a Shetland Pony by horse/equine artist Stuart Fowle.
A little study of a Shetland Pony in y sketch book.

New sketch book

There is something magical and also something daunting about starting a new sketch book.

So I got myself a couple of A5 Winsor & Newton heavy weight wire-o sketch books.

50 sheets of glorious 170gsm white paper. Large enough to do a decent drawing or study, but small enough to be able to carry around.

What did I decide to do as my first drawing? Also what was the goal of the drawing? Not all drawings need a goal, but this time I felt I had a goal to achieve.

I’ll be honest, I’ve not put pencil to paper for quite some time. So I wanted a little project that I could just play with rendering texture, hair and eyes, with no pressure to create a masterpiece.

It had to be a horse subject. I have lots of my own reference material taken over the previous years (this study is based on a photo I took at the Westpoint Equestrian Fair 2019).

While it was a little daunting to put pencil to paper. I was surprised at how quickly my method of drawing and rendering detail came back to me, and quite relieved at the same time!

Some technical notes. I used the grid method to sketch out the horses head. I use this when doing commissions or when I need to get the proportions correct.

Pencils used were a .05mm mechanical pencil, with a HB lead. Also used a 2B and 4B Staedtler Mars technico clutch pencils.

Erasers used included Staedtler eraser and Tombow erasers, plus some old blue-tak for lifting off graphite.

There is no blending used in the study. I’m not keen on doing too much blending with graphite. I feel that with smoother papers, it tends to not work so well.

Plus blending makes the graphite more permanent by ingraining it in to the paper. This then makes it harder to erase or lift out. I’m always going back and forth adding darks or making areas lighter as the drawing progresses.

Anyway, enough of the chit chat, lets see what I drew as my first study in my new sketch book (Note photos taken on an iPhone6, so not the greatest). Drawing size is 10x15cm.

Work in progress picture of my irst study in my new sketch book.
Work in progress. You can see the mechanical pencil, eraser, Tombow eraser and blue-tak.
Work in progress photo of horse head study in my new sketch book.
Work in progress. You can see the texture and detail starting to appear,
Horse head drawing finished, dated and signed. First drawing in my new sketch book.

ArtOnTheHoof an update

ArtOnTheHoof an update, since Boxing Day 2020, I’ve been quite busy working on getting the site up and running.

It has taken a bit longer than I expected, plus I also hit a few technical issues, will chat about later.

However, what I have got up and running, I’m actually very pleased with.

The main galleries are up and running. Still have the wildlife and life drawing galleries to add.


So what issues have I hit?

Well the first was adding an SSL certificate. Now I hasten to add, this is a static site, no eCommerce etc., so in reality it does not require an SSL certificate.

However, Google likes sites to have one and therefore better for SEO etc. My website provider (LCN) used to supply a free one, but not any more.

So I had a play at installing some free ones, but they kept hitting technical issues. Guess LCN wants me to use their paid ones!

Therefore at the moment, no SSL certificate installed.

Second issue that I have, is that I have yet to find a WordPress plugin for my Etsy shop that I trust.

The plan for now, is to just link to items in my Etsy shop, such as the Prints section in my Etsy shop.

Currently have 3 Giclee prints on sale, it’s a start.

New toys

Got some new toys in the post today, a set of TomBow erasers (guess that can be classed as an ArtOnTheHoof update).

The set includes a oblong 2.5 x 5mm pen and refill, plus a round 2.3mm pen and eraser.

Saw these on some YouTube videos, and they looked really good. Basically they are great for erasing thing lines of graphite pencil. In the past I’ve cut up big erasers to try and get a thin eraser to do the same. The results were never very good!

So I’m really looking forward to giving these a go on my next drawing.

Tombow pen erasers. An ArtOnthehoof update image.
Tombow pen erasers.

Gallery Updates

Just a quick reminder that the following galleries are now up and running:

Welcome to my new website

Hi and welcome to my new website. As today is Christmas eve 2020 and my old website was not very ‘mobile’ friendly I decided now would be a good time to update to something a bit more modern

So bare with me while I get the site back up and running over the Christmas period. Especially as we are likely to be in lockdown again after Christmas.

One thing I will be doing more with this new and improved site, is updating my blog more often, as it is built in to the site (thank you WordPress).

Well I better crack on, as I’ve quite a bit to do. So would just like to say I hope you have a happy Christmas!

Graphite and colour pencil drawing of a foal with her Christmas stocking.