Realistic Fox Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Are you interested in creating a believable realistic fox drawing? This realistic fox drawing tutorial will take you through the process of learning how to draw foxes with these simple and easy to follow steps in order to draw a fox.

So what can you expect? You will be happy with the results as your drawing will teach you important skills for depicting fur. Not only do foxes have a combination of long and short fur on their bodies, but the tail can prove to be a challenge as there are many variations of fur to create the bushy tail.

On top of that, there will be color palette differences in the fur. For example, while the red fox is primarily orange, their lets are black and the underbelly is a light tan color. Therefore, one of the major goals in this lesson is to look at how to create these colored differences on an animal.

The ability to use values to show layers of fur is one of many things you can learn from in this simple lesson. So without further ado, let's learn these techniques through a realistic fox drawing. Start with a gesture drawing to get ball rolling.

Sketching the realistic fox drawing

A gesture sketch looks at proportions and overall form. Think of it as a wire frame to fill in the details later. There are a few basic shapes that you will need to consider. For the most part, large parts of the body can be signified with rectangles and square.

For joints, these can be depicted using circles. For the face, any pointy objects like the snout or ears can be done with a simple triangle. You can also create simple gesture lines to depict the directional layers of fur.

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Once you are done that, create a new layer underneath your gesture sketch and fill it with a neutral color. Use 100% pressure to create a solid object. This will form the background color for you to draw details on top of.

Finally, merge the layers together, preserve the transparency of the object (making it so you can't color outside of the solid fox object by accident), and begin blocking in simple forms using a chalk brush to show some depth and shading.

Smudging the realistic fox drawing

This is where you will draw a fox with the smudge brush. Turn off the option to preserve transparency if you have it still enabled. Use the chalk brush head and smudge with that shape. Smudge in small strokes near the outline while using larger strokes for the body.

As you move towards the face, you may need to switch to a smaller brush size to work on the details. Direction wise, you need to smudge in an arch: fanning from the nose bridge to the outer perimeters of the face.

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Another tip is to do the smudging in different sections so you can create an effect of fur laid on top of one another. This is important technique near the tail because there will be multiple instances of fur stacking on top of one another in different bands.

You will also notice that you gesture sketch will play a huge part here as it creates additional segments of color for you to smudge and create fur from.

Detailing the realistic fox drawing

At this point, you should have a good base to start detailing out the fur. I recommend picking a very small round brush for this section. The goal here is to use a light color and paint small strands that go in the right directions as well as in a layered band effect.

You have to draw each strand as best as you can that fits with the smudged fur in the previous step. This is very important near the tail as there will be even shorter strands that you will need to draw in a multiple band arrangements.

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Sometimes, you will need to switch back to the smudge tool if the strands are too strong or do not fit in well with the overall form. You have to be very careful and smudge fairly lightly to blend all the strands together.

Once you are done with that, start filling in the facial features such as the eyes, the nose, the ears, and the legs. Blend in any excess lines as much as possible to make it easier for yourself before moving onto the final steps of your realistic fox drawing.

Shading the realistic fox drawing

There are a few different techniques you can use here depending on what you feel comfortable with and what your drawing software will allow. The most basic method is to shade on the drawing directly. Any details that you have accidentally covered, you will need to repaint it back unfortunately.

If you want to preserve the details, the second method is to create a new layer on top and change that into a clipping mask (Photoshop exclusive option). This will allow you to paint the light and shadows on a new layer that conforms to the fox object underneath.

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The third option is to duplicate the fox object on a new layer, shade it, and the toggle the opacity settings to reveal the details of the layer below it. Use this if you are using a drawing software that is not Photoshop.

For the actual shading, begin glazing in areas of light around the back or wherever you decide your light source to be. Then, work on the face and the belly by blocking in where all the lighter pieces of fur are located at. For instance, there's a patch under the chin, the snout, and the eyebrows.

If you need to work on shadows, it can be done on the inner legs because light is hard to penetrate through in the underbelly area.

After this, you will have learned how to create a nice drawing that has fur details with a range of colors. You will be using a lot of what you learn in future projects. What is left is refining and practicing the procedure to create your own style and processes.