Realistic Bear Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Are you interested in making a realistic bear drawing? Amaze your friends and clients with these four easy steps needed to create a bear of your own that is both impressive and realistic in this lesson.

A realistic bear drawing is usefull as these animals can serve as a base for drawing your own fantasy creatures that depict a lot of mass. Plus, these are cool animals that people are interested in.

When you look at a bear, the amount of fur makes it difficult to discern all the details of the animal. However, that doesn't mean you can skip on understanding the anatomy of a bear.

While cute, bears can be vicious animals with a lot of power. Your goal is to make sure that the overall form looks powerful by suggesting muscle groups within the fur. Just follow along in this tutorial to break down the complexities of this animal into manageable parts.

Sketching the realistic bear drawing

The lesson on the realistic bear drawing will begin with a simple gesture sketch where the focus on creating mass as much as possible. To do that, concentrate on round shapes rather than thin rectangular shapes. There will be rounded sections covering the face, neck, tummy, and the limbs.

With your drawing tools, start creating circular motions of the form. Think about the overall proportions as you are building the animal.

realistic bear drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

How man heads does it take to comprise the limbs, and the torso? How big are the facial features in comparison to each other? For example, you will discover that a bear's face tapers at the snout.

At this stage, we are not worried about any details. As long as you get all the proportions right, you have pretty much finished 80% of your bear drawing at this step.

Blocking in the realistic bear drawing

This next step will require you to turn your gesture drawing into a solid object that you can add details to. In order to do that, create a separate layer underneath your gesture sketch. From there, select your brush on 100% pressure and begin to fill in the general outline of your bear.

I recommend using a chalk brush here. The rough edges that appear when you fill in the shape will create nice points to smudge in fur afterwards. Right now, you should have two layers.

realistic bear drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

It's OK to be messy as we will clean it up later. When you are done, just merge the layers together to get your solid object. Now you should have one layer.

At this point, you can go ahead and block in some forms to help you out with creating mass. Some areas to look for are bringing the limbs and head forward from the rest of the body. Keep sticking with the chalk brush to create jagged areas to smudge fur out.

Detailing the realistic bear drawing

At this step, switch to the smudge tool. Pick a chalk head for your smudge brush as you will need it to quickly create fur all around the animal. Always control your smudges to align it with how fur will travel on the bear.

That is, don't smudge in one direction all the time. You will make the fur look artificial if you do. The gesture lines will help immensely here to create additional layers of fur due to the value differences between each shade of color blocked out in the previous step.

realistic bear drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

When you are done the basic smudges, swap over to the the brush tool. Use a lighter color this time and start repainting the smaller strands of fur. Focus on outlining the limbs and facial features. Constantly switch back between the smudge brush and the digital painting brush to refine your fur.

Don't forget details like the light on the pupil of the animal or the outline of the ears, lips, and nose. You can even paint in a few white strokes near the feet to create the illusion of claws.

Shading the realistic bear drawing

Now that you have your bear all detailed out, the final step would be to decide on your light source. To keep it simple, just create a light source right about the bear.

You have a lot of choices here: creating a clipping mask, actually painting on the bear layer, or duplicating the bear layer to paint the shadows (and then adjusting the opacity to reveal the bear drawing underneath).

realistic bear drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

The point here is to start glazing large areas of light and shadows. To give a sense of mass to the bear, glaze a lot of shadows underneath the animal.

The darkened areas on the belly contrasting with the lighter sections of the upper body should bring out a respectable amount of bulk in the animal.

Of course, since the animal is done on multiple layers, do not be afraid to switch between different layers to refine any details. You have a lot of editing freedom with multiple layers.

The knowledge you have gained from this lesson should prepare you to create anything that requires a large furry mass to be painted. Use it to create an impressive portfolio and wow your audience.