Cheetah Sketch

Last year, I decided up up my game with digital sketching and spend more time on a single picture ramping up the detail as much as my tablet would handle.

I found some beautiful African animal photos on Mike Haworth’s site – https://howieswildlifeimages.com/ and asked his permission to use his photos which he kindly agreed to.

It’s rare for photographers to make such high resolution images available on the net, so this picture could be cropped to a closer framing while still keeping enough detail to use as reference.

Once cropped to a framing I liked, I did a quick sketch to get proportions correct and a basic layout of features..

Cheetah rough sketch

I can then use this as my base layer in Photoshop and start noodling the detail. This step takes the longest! Starting with the eyes and using the photo side by side as reference, I worked my way around following the flow of fur and adding details over several sessions on my commute to work.

Cheetah sketch WIP

The main brush I use is a 4 pixel pencil brush and hundreds and thousands of little strokes later I get this …

Cheetah Sketch

All in all, it took about 20 sessions and 9 hours to get to this point. The final image is 3508 pixels by 4961 pixels which is A3 size at 300 dpi

I did a timelapse video of the entire process which you can see here …

However, this is not the end of this particular journey. I wanted an actual print so I sent off my digital sketch to be printed on 12″ x 16″ canvas. I was very pleased with the result from http://www.justrolledprints.co.uk , they provide an excellent and reasonable service – highly recommended.

The next stage was to construct a frame.. I put together several pieces of wood salvaged from the beach, cut to size and sanded down the face, filled the gaps and varnished it..

Wooden Picture Frame

The final touch was to stipple oil paint around the sketch directly on the canvas to match the tone of the varnish and glue the final piece onto the front. Here is the final result …

Cheetah Drawing Framed on Canvas

and here is mounted on my wall at home ..

I plan on doing many more of these kind of pictures, perhaps into a series of African wildlife.

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