These brown bears are a very rich deep red-brown and need a little work to achieve the shade required. Before starting, experiment with the colours to make sure they work for you. Generally, the whole of the adult bear and some of the young bear can be produced using the colours shown in Steps 1 and 2 below, with a few variations that are shown in subsequent steps.

In short, this is how to work through the picture:

  • Base colour - sepia dark 219 rubbed in gently
  • Deeper shadowed areas - black 250 rubbed in gently
  • Initial hair colour - sanguine dark 214
  • Second hair colour - sanguine light 207
  • First highlights on hair - ochre light 202
  • For highlighting shade where needed - vermilion light 112
  • For the end of hairs and strong light - zinc white 102
Top tips before you begin
  1. Always use the side of the pencil for the dark base and rub the colours together gently to create a smooth surface. The pencils for the fur should be sharp, and wiped regularly to avoid picking up the base colour and muddying the lighter hairs.
  2. A bear’s fur is very dense so it’s necessary to avoid too many gaps between the hairs. Add the hairs very close to each other, trying not to overlap too much or it will become just a mass of colour. The use of black to show the shadows between the layers of hair is very important as this defines the shape of the head and face, and allows hair to be built in stages.

Reference photo: a brown bear and her cub. This is reproduced here under licence from Getty images

Demonstration: How to draw a brown bear and her cub

Two Bears, Cretacolor Fine Art Pastel Pencils on Daler-Rowney mountboard, (37x24cm)