When you think about it, the stripes on a tiger are just lines. Thick, thin, wavy, straight; they’re just black lines. And yet they breathe so much life into a tiger’s form. They define shape and volume, giving character and individuality. They are the defining glory of a tiger’s coat.
This week I added stripes to the tiger rock I have been working on and blogging about for the past few weeks. Just a few lines completely transformed the cartoon-looking panther into an unmistakable tiger.
I began by drawing the stripes with a white charcoal pencil. I used quite a few tiger photographs for reference, to get all angles of the tiger. Face, paws, shoulder, haunches, tail, and back–each piece of the tiger has a different flavor of stripes, and the photos help me paint a more realistic tiger. The stripes on the tail tend to be thicker, while those on the shoulders and paws tend to be slim and sparce. The stripes on the face tend to be short, and the stripes often form V’s where they meet along the spine.
Photos also help me bend the stripes to suggest shape and volume. The stripes bend around the edges of the arms and haunches and tail to suggest a roundness, and they twist and bend to suggest muscles in the shoulders. The lines transform a rather flat panther into a more 3D looking tiger.
Once I was satisfied with the charcoal, I drew them in with an ink pen, like I did earlier for the tiger’s general form. Then I painted over it with black acrylic paint. Since then, I have begun the texture of the fur, as you can tell in a few of the photos.
On a side note, but an incredibly exciting side note (at least for me), is that I got a new camera for my birthday. No more fuzzy pictures! Hopefully this new camera will capture more of the detail of my art.
This next week I will be working more on the tiger’s fur. Hope to see you next Sunday!