Tuesday Tip: Illustrating Leopard

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Have you always wanted to learn how to accurately illustrate leopard print? Well its your lucky day, and you may be surprised to learn that leopard just so happens to be one of the easiest and most foolproof prints to draw and draw well. Being an animal skin, leopard print is organic, some parts are clustered and messy and some are open and spacey. You really can't make a mistake with this one I promise.
1. The first step is to choose your color way, and the three markers you'd like to use for the print. With the lightest one you lay the ground color for the print. I chose a dark tan color, in order to render a more realistic leopard print.

2. Let your base color dry then add a second "coat" in streaky and somewhat rough stripes, one being down the center and then as few or as many as you'd like to each side. This will add depth to the print.

3. Choose a marker that is darker than your ground color and randomly draw comma or kidney shaped "spots" with it, as I've illustrated for you in step three with brown.

4. With your darkest marker (I used black) draw three dashes or kidney shapes of varying lengths surrounding each of the kidney shapes you drew in the step three. Its as though you're messily outlining each spot with three dashes.

5. Add highlights, shadows and any garment design details with your black and white (or white charcoal) pencils. And ta-da! There you will have a classic leopard print.
Its been quite a while since my last Tuesday Tip post, but I figured what better way to get back into the tutorial mode than by showing you how to render this fun and classic print. Since I drew the tutorial in standard leopard colors I thought I should also show how easy it is to use the same steps but with colors that are a little more on-trend. Gray, black and white shown above, is a little more pop and edgy and the purples below are a colorful alternative.
If you're hungry for more you can check out my previous Tuesday Tip here, and come back next week because I'm working on another one for you. (I promise not to wait almost 2 years for another one this time!)

***I'm also taking suggestions so let me know in the comments section if there's a tip you'd like to see to help improve your fashion illustration skills.