detailed pencil drawings of people & animals

by Doreen Cross

Drawing of Lorikeets, created with Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Drawing of Lorikeets, created with Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Baby Gorilla Drawing

The detailed pencil drawings of Doreen Cross capture both the spirit and appearance of her subjects - whether human, animal, or architecture. Created in a careful, realistic style, Doreen's pencil drawings are a striking reminder of just how powerful and emotive a pencil can be as a tool for creating fine art.

Doreen is from New South Wales, Australia. She has been an artist for 20 years and is entirely self-taught. She draws her wildlife pencil art from photographs, many of them taken near her home in Australia.

On this page you can read an interview where she explains how she creates her detailed pencil drawings. You can also see some photos of her works-in-progress, which show the steps she takes to completing her animal and portrait drawings.

Doreen at work on a dog pencil portrait commission

Doreen at work on a dog pencil portrait commission

What is your favorite medium to work in, and why?

Meerkat Drawing by Doreen Cross

I enjoy watercolor, color pencils and oil. My favourite medium is graphite pencils. I love to experiment with pencils and love what I can achieve with graphite.  

What is your favorite subject matter, and why?

I love to draw animals - especially wild animals - because I love to give them character and bring them to life on paper.

What size art do you typically create?

8 x 10" - 16 x 12"

Let's follow along with Doreen's steps as she creates a detailed pencil drawing of a lioness!
Beginning stages of Doreen's pencil drawing of a lioness

Beginning stages of Doreen's pencil drawing of a lioness

Adding more detail to the face

Adding more detail to the face

The lioness' face is finished

The lioness' face is finished

Starting on the lioness' body and the rock

Starting on the lioness' body and the rock

More detail is added to the front of the rock

More detail is added to the front of the rock

Work done on the background, and more definition is added to the lioness' body

Work done on the background, and more definition is added to the lioness' body

How long does it take you to create an 8" x 10" drawing?

It can take 10 - 15 hours depending on the subject and how much detail. Sometimes it can take many more hours if there is a lot of detail. 

Lizard Drawing by Doreen Cross

Can you describe how you create one of your drawings, from start to finish?

I outline my drawing, then usually I do the eyes first, then move up towards the ears and work down the face and into the body. I map out shading quickly and then work on the fine detail.    

The stages of drawing of possum, by Doreen Cross

The stages of drawing of possum, by Doreen Cross

Who are some artists that you admire, and why?

Armin Mersman. Mike Sibley. I admire these artists for their amazing talent and for their willingness to share knowledge and techniques. 

Graphite drawing of an English house by Doreen Cross

Graphite drawing of an English house by Doreen Cross

Do you have any tips for artists who would like to create more realism in their work?

Practice lots...experiment, read books, watch videos, Google search techniques and art tools.  

See the steps Doreen takes to create a colored pencil drawing from her photo of a pair of lorikeets:
Doreen's photo of lorikeets in her garden

Doreen's photo of lorikeets in her garden

The beginning stage of Doreen Cross' lorikeets drawing

The beginning stage of Doreen Cross' lorikeets drawing

Lorikeets drawing in progress

Lorikeets drawing in progress

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Doreen's finished colored pencil drawing of lorikeets

Doreen's finished colored pencil drawing of lorikeets

Many thanks to Doreen Cross for sharing her detailed pencil drawings and artistic process with us!

You can see more of Doreen's detailed pencil drawings on her website. She also keeps a blog where you can keep up to date on her works in progress!

If you're interested in commissioning a pencil drawing from Doreen, send her a message!

Learn more about making art based on nature.

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