Posted in Custom Artwork, Pet Artwork

Black Cat in Coloured Pencil

Black Cat in Coloured Pencil

George the Cat in Coloured Pencil

By Ellie Burdett

Well here we go – happy birthday Ellie – with a massive smile on my face because my wonderful husband has brought me a full set – yes full set of Caran Dache Luminance Colour Pencils for my birthday.

As yet Im still at the can’t stop looking at them stage and have them in prize position in the art studio.  I can’t believe that I have the god of all coloured pencils (In my opinion of course!).

In the absence of a pet commission at the moment – the only option was to use George the Cat as the model for my first full piece with these pencils. For those of you who don’t know me – George the cat lives with me and was rescued by my daughters who found him deserted on the street outside our house as a kitten.  After much pleading by the girls and hubby with begs of “Oh please we must have the poor homeless kitten before he gets eaten by a fox” I finally gave up and said for goodness sakes go and bring him in!

George has grown into quite a character and I must say a fine addition to our ever growing family of rescued pets – not one day of regrets taking him on, even though he is quite a clumsy moggy and has ruined the hall carpet with his scratching!

So what are Caran Dache Luminance Pencils like working with?

I have to say, I have tried most coloured pencils and these are my personal favourite – I was not disappointed with the results I got.  The depth of colour is second to none, not to mention their fantastic lightfast qualities, they didn’t suffer from wax bloom before I got all the layers and colours that I wanted before I finished.  Some Pencils were softer than others and some harder – this wasn’t an issue as some layers I was able to lay down quickly with the softer pencils.

So long as I did not press hard – they also maintained their points well on the paper I was working on.

So to the paper – having had a brand new hobby craft store open just down the road from where I live – obviously I was unable to resist the temptation to go in on a hunt for paper.  I have had some difficulty getting my favourite paper which is hot press smooth paper (or grain satine as it is commonly known) – the other matter is one of price ouch for that paper.  So with all that in mind and with the swaying factor that there was some Faber Castell multi media paper on sale in hobby craft – naturally I thought thats my pad! (note; I was very impressed with this paper it held up very well)

“Tip:  When working with coloured pencils its important to remember to keep a light touch – this ensures you don’t loose the tooth of the paper and lets you get more layers on before you develop any bloom from the pencils – once either of these two occur – you just cannot get on anymore colour”

Black Cat in Coloured Pencils

So off to work with George the Cat using Caran Darche Luminance Pencils on Faber Castell Multi-media Paper


So the first job was to use some low tack artist tape to secure the sheet of paper to the drawing board (another  hobby craft half price find)

I was really concerned to ensure my original drawing was very accurate as when using colour pencils any errors I have found are massively accentuated eek.

With this in mind I decided to draught out my drawing onto draughting film and then once happy with it I used graphite transfer paper to get the drawing onto the Faber Castell Paper.

Adding Colour with Caran Dache:

So to get a black cat……hmmmmmm

After a great deal of research on the best method to get black in coloured pencil off I went and got out the blue and purple pencils!

I did have my sister in law visit and say: thats really nice – but why is it purple and blue?

After a nervous laugh I explained that ultimately George the Cat would end up black (I hoped lol)

Starting with the Phalo Blue Pencil I layed down a light layer of colour working in the direction of the fur, following this a layer of purple.  Lastly I layered down black with particular focus on the direction and shape of the fur. A second layer of black was layed down to enhance to look of the fur and add additional contract to the look of the drawing.

On lighter areas of fur I used lighter shades of blue and purple with grey over the top.  With this contrast in the fur I was able to get a more realistic look to the drawing.

I then used the Caran Dache colour blending stick to that had been sharpened to a point to blend the colours again in the direction of the fur.  I did like this look, however felt the colour was still a little lacking.  With a big breath of dutch courage, I pulled out the little bottle of zest it colour pencil blender and a detail paint brush and brushed away.  Thank god for the dutch courage as this was a great move – the zest it blender really deepened the colour of the black but also let the purple and blue creep through giving the fur real depth.

Finally, I did a little more with the light blue pencil to add highlights and followed up this with the trusty brush and pencil touch up texture with titanium white to  enhance the highlights in the eyes.

All in all, I massively enjoyed this project and look forward to my next coloured pencil venture.

Supplies List:
  • Caron D’ache Luminance Coloured Pencils
  • Faber Castell Multi Media Paper from a Pad
  • Hobby Craft low tack artists tape
  • Hobby Craft Drawing Board
  • Brush & Pencil touch up texture and titanium white
  • Zest it coloured pencil blender
  • George the Cat!
  •  Photo reference from Maddie my daughter (a great photo by the way – so clear an artists dream)
Black Cat in Coloured Pencil

A big thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it

Ellie Burdett

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I am a self taught artist with the philosophy that anyone can draw. I love doing pet portraits in varying mediums and am loving my journey developing my art.