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The Making of a Tiny Tiger!

Hi everyone!

This post will walk you through my creation of my tiny tiger drawing. This little guy is 5 x 7 inches, and took me about 8-9 hours to complete.

I personally love doing these small projects. They can be very helpful when you need a break from a larger piece. Depending on the complexity, they can take between a few days or about a week to finish.

Tiny Tiger with Materials

Materials used:

  • Sakura Brand Pigma Micron in sizes:

  • Brush

  • 01 (.25mm)

  • 005 (.20mm)

  • 003 (.15mm)

  • Curved scratch knife

  • Pencil

  • India Ink

  • Ampersand Claybord

  • Optional: White cotton glove

Now onto the project!


Step 1 - Pencil Drawing

Step 1 - Pencil Drawing.

Start by lightly sketching the most important details. It is important to get the eyes and nose in the right place. Because tigers have such distinctive patterns, I also lay out the largest most striking patterns I see.

Step 2 - Block In

Step 3 - Ink Wash

Step 4 - Shadow Areas

Step 5 - Shadows & Medum Values

Step 2 - Block in.

Block in the largest areas of pure black. Some of these can be lightened later when we use our scratch knife, but for now we want to identify the largest areas of shadow.

For this step I am using the brush pen.

Step 3 - Ink Wash.

I use an ink wash on some, but not all, of my projects.

This is to help lay out a thin layer of value over the darkest and medium value areas. This helps to decrease the time spent building up values with hatching.

It is also great for making highlights stand out even more when we scratch away light hairs later on.

Do not worry about the small 'blooms' of ink. All areas will be covered with hatching, so these will become less apparent.

Step 4 - Shadow areas.

Using the size 01 pen, I begin hatching in areas of deepest shadows. In this case, it begins in the neck area of the animal. I usually emphasize this more than my reference photo shows, so that it's very clear that the tiger's face lies above his neck.

Other darkest areas of shadow include around the nose and eyes.

Step 5 - Shadows & Medium Values

For this step I am switching between my 01 and 005 pens. I begin in the forehead of the tiger, as this is where the medium values are darkest and blend into the pure black marks.

The area directly under the eye is put into shadow as well. This area is darkest because it lies next to the white highlights of the tiger's eyes, which gives the eyes more depth.

Step 6 - Medium/Light Values

I am switching between my two smallest pens, the 005 and the 003. This is where I will render the most fur, mostly in the face and alongside the pure black marks. Adding fur to the outer edges of the black marks makes them look more natural and less geometric.

Be very mindful around the nose area. The nose makes up a great portion of the tiger's face, and it is easy to lose track of where the fur is growing as it is so short.

Step 7 - Lightest Values

Step 7 - Lightest Values

Step 8 - Scratching Away & Finish

I am exclusively using the 003 at the is point to finish up the ink portion of the drawing.

I use the 003 to add a small amount of texture and shadow to the lightest areas, which are white in color on the animal.

It is always important to preserve these areas as best you can, and keep your mark making very limited.

Step 8 - Scratching Away & Finish

Using the curved scratch knife, lift away subtle highlights in the fur. I start by going back along the edges of the pure black patterns, to add small white hairs which are overlapping this area.

Next is the highlights in the eyes which give life to the animal, as well as small highlights in the water line of the eyes.

Whiskers are super important with kitties! Add the whiskers with purpose and with controlled pressure. Until you get use to adding these, I recommend practicing on a scratch piece of claybord.

Tiger No. 2, 5 x 7 inches, Ink on Claybord

All finished and looking handsome! Thank you for joining me on my second blog/process post. As I do more of these I am hopeful that I will get a bit better at articulating the steps! But atleast for now these are tons of fun to make!

Until next time!

- Shelby Elizabeth

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