Choosing Pastel Pencils for Drawing an Artic Wolf

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One of our members Christine requested some advice on doing an Artic Wolf with Pastel Pencils. Here’s Christine’s email:

Hi Colin and Steve

I am just about to start this Artic wolf I am having trouble with the inside of the ears with what colours to use also what colour would you choose for the eyes and nose in the white fur to get the bluish hue? In the white fur would you suggest 181? Hope you will be able to help.

Kind Regards


Drawing this Artic Wolf using Pastel Pencils

A Rare Combination

For the inside of the ear I would start with a dark base colour, this would be Warm Grey (273 in Faber’s range). Then in order to keep to the warm/earthy colours I would darken with 175.

This picture is a rare case where you’ve got cooler and warmer colours together. Because on the white fur you have a cool tone. For example I would use warm/earth colours for the ear and lower part under the mouth yet around the face I would use cooler colours. An example of these cool tones would be 230 (cold grey), 233 (mid tone cool grey) and then probably use 181 Payne’s grey as Christine suggests above.

With this advice I can only give an approximate list of colours and these are just the basics to get started. You would likely need more and I’d always recommend trying the colours on spare paper first.

The Eyes

The eyes are warm so I would go back to the same tones that were used in the ear – 273, 175 with possible black. For the actual ochre in the eye, it would be the warm greys again – this time 270 which is a light warm grey and then into this would go the ochres.

Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil Chart

Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil Colour Chart

You’ve got a choice of ochres you could use, 183 light yellow ochre would be an obvious choice. I would then diffuse the ochre with more grey. The reason I would do this is otherwise you would end up with a yellow eye. You’ve put the grey down first which is great then you can bring a little more neutrality to the colour with more grey on top. If you didn’t do this the eyes would appear too bright.

Lastly there’s an area below the ear where you’ve got warm and cool colours together so you are going to have to mix these two together here.

As I say these are basic colours, you can change your mind at any time, that’s what I do. Sometimes you start with an idea of what you’re going to do then have to change it.

I hope this advice helps Christine and other students wishing to do a similar picture. Personal advice such as this is available to members of our website, if you would like to learn more about becoming a member and getting all the benefits, click here.