View Full Version : Help! Whiskers on pastel Tiger x posted in A&W - Finished

09-02-2009, 05:03 PM
Hello :wave: I need a bit of help with a Tiger I am doing in pastels and pastel pencils. It is done on Fisher 400 paper 10"x8" and I sooo wish I had done it bigger. Here it is so far.


I still have a bit of work to do on the face then will be starting the detail on the mouth and chin. But I'm wondering if, before I start doing that I should put in the whiskers. There are many of them as Tiger people will know and they are bright glowing white. I have put in 2 short ones on the side of the face. To do these I put a thin line very gently over the top of the black with white pastel pencil then went over it as best I could with my whitest soft pastel, a Schminke. Then I had to use black pastel pencil to thin the whisker back down again. The Schminke is so soft and crumbly I cannot get a precise thin line with it.

Has anyone got any tips about putting in whiskers in this situation and should I put them in now and work the fur detail round them or do all the detail and risk having smudged whiskers? The black which is already on the side of the mouth has been rubbed in quite well so hopefully I'll be able to get white over it OK.

Hope someone can help!! Oh and any other C&C welcome :cat:

Deborah Secor
09-02-2009, 05:17 PM
For my two cents, I'd say to put the whiskers in last-last-last. Such details seem to need to float over the top of the rest of the work. I often tell students that doing the details before painting the rest is a little like washing the car windows before you wash the car. You'll probably just have to do it again! Your use of very soft pastels for the line is what I would do, too. I would hone a long edge of a soft stick on some sandpaper and use the whole side of it to lay in a stroke for each whisker.

He's quite striking...


pastel lover
09-02-2009, 09:38 PM
I too would put them in last. Maybe you could spray the muzzle area lightly with fixative, then place the white-white whiskers on top. Also, I sometimes use the palest of blue (in places) for whiskers. This is a very beautiful piece, you are doing a wonderful job.


09-02-2009, 10:41 PM
Very nice! And, yes, whiskers last!


09-02-2009, 10:48 PM
Since you have all the whisker advice you can use I'll just say this is a very impressive piece.

09-03-2009, 03:42 AM
Thanks everyone. Deborah, never thought of using the side of the pastel but I'll have to get a new Schminke white first as mine isn't very big (and it's in bits.....they are so crumbly).
I have some fixative but have never used it on Fisher 400. I think I may take a small piece and do a test first. I have done whiskers on a Tiger before (see my avatar) but close up they have been influenced by the colour underneath and I want to try and avoid this.
If it works I'll post the finished painting!!

By the way I was sure I'd posted this in soft pastel talk which seemed the right place to ask for this advice. My apologies that it's turned up in the gallery!

09-03-2009, 11:23 AM
This is the Tiger that I asked for tips on doing whiskers in another thread. Eventually managed to make them look half decent though not as white as I would have liked. Here's the finished painting. C&C welcome.


Deborah Secor
09-03-2009, 11:26 AM
Ruthie, I think this thread was probably relocated to the gallery via Moderator magic, if I don't miss my guess, where it really seems to belong. True, it's a split decision, since you were asking about a technical question, but because you have posted the painting it seems perfect right here!


09-03-2009, 11:33 AM
Oops and now I've posted the finished painting in a new thread as I thought people may not look at this one due to the title. I guess the magic mods will combine the two threads if they deem that the right thing!

Susan Jenkins
09-03-2009, 11:35 AM
Oh wow!! you nailed it! The whiskers and all are just gorgeous!!!
:) susan

09-03-2009, 12:09 PM
I'm glad you signed this because I can't see another thing I could even imagine adding to it. Fantastic!!!! Barb

09-03-2009, 12:40 PM
Ruth, it is fabulous! The bg works really well, continuing the colours. The lesser contrast in the bit of body we see to the right really pushes that part back, while still being very realistic. Wonderful!

What brand did you use for whiskers? I find that the dense soft sticks make decent whiskers. Your strokes look great, and just as 'on top of things' as is making it come alive.


09-03-2009, 02:51 PM
Susan Thank you :wave:

Barb I have to confess I did a bit more tweaking after I signed it. If I kept looking at it I would keep "tweaking" forever!!

Charlie I'm so glad you like the area on the right. I just thought if I gave that as much detail it would detract from the face. It wasn't soft focus in the ref pic but I risked it and I think it's worked too.
I have to confess I could not get the Schminke stick to give me a thin line on my test sheet (my fault though not the stick!) so I fixed the area where the whiskers were to go then went over with VERY gentle pressure with my FC white pastel pencil. I kept going over and over with it and used a white FC pastel stick too which I broke to give sharp edges. I then tidied up the edges with relevant colours, holding my breath as I went!! The whiskers took me about an hour to complete!! If I were competent enough may be I'd've got the white I really wanted with the soft stick!

09-03-2009, 03:58 PM
Ruth, ohyesitworked! Whiskers: Smart way of getting them there. Schmincke white may be even too soft for this kind of job. A Unison white is much firmer, but still densly white, and keeps an edge a few strokes longer.


09-03-2009, 04:23 PM
Thanks Charlie. I'll bear that in mind. I have some Unison pastels, which are lovely to use and intense colours too, but I don't (yet) have a white. Must remedy that!

Tracy Lang
09-03-2009, 08:36 PM
Fantastic finish!!! Love the entire painting :)


09-03-2009, 09:46 PM
Your tiger is quite beautiful. I love the whiskers! You did a great job getting them right. And so worth the time you put in to get them right.

09-03-2009, 11:26 PM
Ruthie, what a fantastic job you did on this. really love it. :thumbsup:

09-05-2009, 09:13 AM
Thanks for your lovely comments Tracy Elaine and Pete. I still wish I'd done it bigger. May be I'll do it again.............

09-05-2009, 10:07 AM
Gorgeous, whiskers an'all!


09-06-2009, 09:32 AM
This is the Tiger that I asked for tips on doing whiskers in another thread. Eventually managed to make them look half decent though not as white as I would have liked. Here's the finished painting. C&C welcome.


Hi, nice work. Just a general comment on painting whiskers. I don't normally use pure white on every whisker, only the ones that catch the light. Often times the light may only illuminate segments of the whiskers. Whiskers will sometimes absorb reflected light and may take on slight variations in tone. Some whiskers may be in shadow and are not visible enough to add and therefore can be left out entirely. What I'm trying to say is that it's rare that every whisker will be as solid a white as you have in your painting. You must always pay attention to how each one curves through space and how the light effects them.

Hope this helps


09-07-2009, 03:43 PM
Thanks Alison!
Heather, you are right of course although in my defence the whiskers in the ref pic of this Tiger were mostly bright bright white. Only the lower ones were a little muted near their source and, I confess, I didn't attend to that. I also confess I didn't copy them exactly so there are probably many less whiskers than on the ref! I was just chuffed and relieved to be able to get them in at all! Thanks for your comments though. It all helps the learning curve!

Anja B
09-15-2009, 09:54 AM

I just have to push this thread so nobody could miss this lovely work! Great job but indeed a little bit too small to my taste.