Create Better Animals by Learning How to Draw Fur Digitally

Create Better Animals by Learning How to Draw Fur Digitally

Editor’s Note: Hey there, fellow artists! This article originally graced our blog back in March of 2023. Since then, we’ve updated it with a fresh coat of paint, blending in new resources and insights from the latest tutorials. Dive in to get brand-new tips for digitally drawing animals that roar with life!

Learning how to draw fur digitally can be a complex and lengthy process. It takes a deep understanding of the animal’s anatomy, the right color palette and textures, and the dynamism of the real thing. Unlike human hair, which generally follows a set of patterns, animal fur is less predictable. No two animals are the same, and drawing fur requires a different approach each time you tackle a new critter.

Thankfully, the art world is brimming with assets and tools to guide us. From reference images to brushes and in-depth tutorials, there’s an abundance of knowledge to help artists master the intricacies of animal fur. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran, these 8 resources can offer you fresh perspectives and novel techniques to elevate your fur-rendering skills.

Painting Hair & Fur

For beginners, studying under a professional art teacher can clue you into the fundamentals. Multidisciplinary art mentor Anthony Jones, also known as Robotpencil, guides novice fur painters through a narrated video lesson in this Cubebrush exclusive.

The kit includes one video tutorial with voiceover by Anthony Jones.

Hand Painting Fur in 3DCoat

If you’re a 3D artist, you’ve probably struggled with nailing down that pixel-perfect fur texture. This four-part tutorial teaches you how to paint fur textures in 3DCoat using a space pirate dog model. The lessons cover additional materials including bone, gold, metal, and emissive gloves, but the main focus is on fur.

Appropriate for both novices and veterans of 3DCoat, this tutorial will demonstrate workflow and design element best practices while helping you achieve improved textures.

The set contains:

  • 4-hour HD video with audio commentary
  • OBJ file of the space pirate

How to Draw Fur

This comprehensive tutorial pack is a guide to creating stylized fur for the character Ahri from League of Legends. The female subject of this guide sports sprightly, cat-like ears—perfect for practicing fur painting. You can see a sped-up version of the painting process here

The pack includes:

  • Video tutorial with full audio commentary
  • High-resolution walkthrough
  • PSD file with layers
  • Brushes used in the tutorial
  • Color libraries
  • Action scripts

Real Fur Pack

Hannah Miller, also known as Shrineheart, has produced top-notch art assets for years. This pack of 41 fur brushes is no exception, providing many options for you to play around with. Each brush is based on a unique animal reference image, giving you a hyper-realistic finish for your next animal subject.

With this set, you’ll receive:

  • 41 fur brushes

Note: This pack is only compatible with Clip Studio Paint and Manga Studio (5).

Animal Fur, Hair, and Skin Brushes

This brush set includes an array of animal fur and hair, reptile skin, and bird feather textures for Photoshop. Each one is pressure-sensitive, which makes the bundle ideal for graphic tablet users searching for tools to create detailed surface texturing.

This set consists of:

  • 23 1500px+ pressure-sensitive animal fur and skin brushes

Hair & Fur

For those who enjoy working with real-time models, this tool kit is a perfect fit. It includes a fur-texture generator for Substance 3D Designer, a 3D hair card creation add-on for Blender, and powerful automation and scripting tools, which allow batch generation or modification of texture sets.

With this bundle, you’ll receive:

  • A set of tutorial videos and manuals
  • Templates
  • Design examples
  • Predefined Substance parameters
  • Multiple PBR maps, such as Mask, Alpha/Opacity, ID (grayscale and color), Depth (Height/Displacement), Color, and more
  • Tiling tools
  • Automatic variation generation
  • Multiple coloring modes
  • Three levels of hair clumping
  • Substance 3D Designer plugin

Note: This tool is compatible with Substance 3D Designer 12.1 or above and with Blender 3.2 (for the Blender add-on).

Unwrapped Fur Brushes

If you’re working with fur three-dimensionally, this useful bundle provides a set of IMM brushes for creating fur and hair in ZBrush 4R8. The brushes are already UVW unwrapped, which enables alpha masking and the application of poly paint and deformations.

The set includes:

  • Subtools for the brushes
  • PDF instructions explaining how to transform the subtools into IMM brush
  • YouTube tutorial, which can be found here.

Fur Material Pack

For those who work across multiple 3D rendering tools, this kit has you covered.

The bundle contains:

  • 10 4K-resolution textures for PBR (metal roughness)
  • Engine Normal Map OpenGL
  • PNG files

Mastering how to draw fur digitally is more than just using the right brush. It’s a hard-won skill earned through years of practice, observation of animals, and the inspiration to capture the heart of nature in each stroke. While these tutorials and tools can jumpstart your journey to fur-painting prowess, there’s no replacement for a lived experience. 

So, grab your digital brush, immerse yourself in the imagery of the wild, and bring your animals to life with Cubebrush!