Not only can you learn how to draw frogs, but this realistic frog drawing lesson will teach you a wide variety of excellent techniques to master so you can be the skilled artist that you want to be.
You will be dealing with three different types of drawing goals in this lesson: creating the form, creating the skin, and making the skin shine through light reflected off its wet surface. This will help you visualize value differences to create the illusion of light.
In that sense, the ability to see textures and light to make incredible artworks is a flexible and lifelong skill set that will be well received wherever you go. Surprisingly, you do not require any special custom brushes to draw a frog.
Just the basic brushes combined with the proper settings should see you through this tutorial without too much difficulty so long as the textures can be logically worked through. When you are ready to begin, create a simple gesture drawing to start off the process.
A gesture drawing should show no more than the general shape of the animal. Do not worry about details as that will remove your attention away from getting the right proportions. Your frog drawing should focus on a frog's diamond shaped body in this stage.
Other areas of focus are the bumps for the throat and the back, round curvatures of the main legs as it folds upon itself, the angle of the front fingers, the huge eyes, where the mouth openings are, where the ear placement is, and a tapered behind.
In terms of limbs, don't forget that a frog has four digits at the front limbs and five digits on the back limbs (fanned out in the opposing direction where the big toe is the shortest digit). Sometimes, it is studying these little details that will help you out.
This step is very important as getting this right the first time will make it easier to draw a frog convincingly. When you are satisfied with the gesture sketch, the next step would be to turn the sketch into a workable base.
The next part is to create a workable base. A workable base is usually a solid shape that you can draw within its confines. Think of it like a dark slate where your goal here is to chisel out the details using patches of light values.
To do that, create a layer underneath your gesture sketch and fill it in. Use a brush with 100% pressure brush to make it as solid as possible. Pick a neutral color as you don't want to cover your gesture sketch lines.
Once that is done, merge the two layers together. At this point, you can preserve the transparency of the layer (making it so you can't paint outside of the borders of your frog shape) and start blocking in form.
In other words, this process will require you to pick a lighter value and dab in details. Begin with areas that stand out the most like a light belly and the limbs. Other things to consider are the lips, the eyes, and the shadows created when the folds of the legs overlap.
Before you work on the bumpy sections of the skin, you must first smoothen out the skin. I recommend smudging using the chalk head and the smooth round brush head to get nice smooth textures on some areas without looking like fur (from the jagged edges of the chalk head).
Next, reduce the size of your brush and start painting in the outlines for the eyes, limbs, and the overall body using a lighter color. You want to create separation as much as possible in these areas. To simulate the bumpy texture found on the skin, set your brush to scatter.
There are two particular settings you should be aware of when scattering: pen sensitivity and shape dynamics. When you put it on pen sensitivity, the size of your brush head doesn't change; only the opacity of the strokes.
On the reverse, when you set it on shape dynamics, the scattering area will change depending on how hard you push on your digital stylus but the opacity remains constant. I recommend toggling between both options as that will give you the best control.
You have choices here depending on your drawing program. If you have Photoshop, use it to create a clipping mask. Doing so will allow you to paint lighting details on a different layer without altering the original frog layer.
If not, then you can duplicate the frog layer, paint the lighting and shadows, and then adjust the transparency to show the layer underneath.
Of course, if you are comfortable, you can draw lighting and shadows right on the original frog drawing in step three. You can use the dodge and burn tools to highlight certain areas without ruining the textures too.
Once you are done that, the final step of this realistic frog drawing requires you to make the skin shiny to give the illusion of a wet surface. Once again, you will need to set the brush type on scatter.
Reduce your brush size to the smallest and set the shape dynamics on only. Now, start drawing in little sections of white to give the illusion of wet skin. Focus sparingly on the limbs, the digits, and the back. You want to create a nice contrast in selected areas where the light will hit the strongest.
If you need to repaint larger sections of light, set your scattering options on pressure sensitivity and glaze over that area. Remember to preserve the transparency of your frog layer so you don't accidentally spray outside of its boundaries.