How To Draw A Red Panda

 Red pandas can be very difficult animals to draw so if you’re having trouble getting it to look ‘right’ I’d strongly advise you look up multiple references of the real animal. 

 For this drawing I used a digital drawing program called “Paint Tool Sai”, you can buy at the official website here: http://www.systemax.jp/en/sai/

 Although this tutorial will be in digital, feel free to pick up a pencil and try it traditionally.


Step 1: Rough Sketch

To begin with we only need a rough sketch. As you can see my sketch has a few differences from the final product. This is because as I worked on the piece I decided there were a few anatomical mistakes in my first sketch and fixed them as I went. 


 Normally I just lay down lines until I’m happy with them as shown in the top sketch, however for the sake of this tutorial I’ve gone over my rough sketch with a skeleton (figure a.) and shown rough body shapes (figure b.) 


To begin with we only need a rough sketch. As you can see my sketch has a few differences from the final product. This is because as I worked on the piece I decided there were a few anatomical mistakes in my first sketch and fixed them as I went. Which isn’t the ideal solution; ideally you should fix everything you’re going to back at this rough stage. 


If you choose to do this in lead pencil, make sure all your strokes are placed lightly so they’re easy to erase later on. If I were to do this in pencil it wouldn’t be until I start adding detail in step 4 (maybe step 3) that I’d start putting any real pressure on the pencil and even then it should be a gradual build up of colours.

Step 2: Refine the sketch

Once the rough sketch was complete I went over it with a different colour just to make it easier to see what I was doing and erased the unwanted lines. At this point I changed the back foot and the position of the tail a little, if you prefer your panda to have the foot slightly raised then go for it. This was just a personal choice for me when doing the picture.

 Before you go to the next step make sure you’ve looked at whatever references you’re going to and have made all the changes to the drawing you’re going to. This is especially important if you’re working with traditional as it’s a lot harder to fix mistakes in pencil then it would be in digital.

Step 3: Base Colours

Now that you’ve finished the sketch it’s time to lay down the main colours. I used three main colours for the body with a fourth colour used exclusively on the the legs furthest away from the viewer. This is just to help me to see their shapes without losing them in the rest of the body.

Above the panda I’ve put some of the many ways you could mark your red panda. The ones I’ve shown is just some of the most common ones. If you look up photos of red pandas I’m sure you could find many more, this goes for the body as well, not just the face.

 For those working in lead pencil, here’s what it looked like in black and white.

 Step 4: Keep adding detail

Once you have the main colours down the only thing left to do is to keep refining your image until it’s done. The advantage of doing digital is I was able to change the tail, legs and head as I didn’t like how they were. Ideally though any changes to the picture should have been done back at step 1 as it’d (1) save a lot of time as I wouldn’t be redoing parts I’ve already done. (2). Be a lot easier to make the image work. It can be very hard to get to make a image look right if the rough sketch didn’t have everything worked out.


 And there you have it, hopefully this helps you to be able to draw a red panda. If you have any tips on how I can improve this tutorial I’d love to hear about them in the comments or via note on my deviantart account: emberguard.deviantart.com