Peter The Rabbit in Graphite

I wanted to draw a mammal for a graphite course I was taking and it took me a while to decide which mammal to do, then finally I found an old photograph of our very first bunny, “Peter”.


Our family loved Peter and it was such a blessing to be able to preserve our memories of him in this way.

Here’s the progression of my work:

In the course, we had to give the structure of the mammal.  I noticed some of the students were drawing the skeletal structure, so I decided that it would be fun to do the same.  

I used my big Strathmore Mixed Media pad (11 x 14), so I would have plenty of room for the skeletal structure and the final drawing and I used my set of Faber-Castell 9000 Series graphites.

I drew the simple outline of the bunny and then I added the skeletal structure, which I found online.  It just so happened to be sitting very similarly to what Peter was in his photo – it must be the normal bunny pose! 


Here’s a closer look.  You can see that I used a bounding box to help give me a better perspective of his body structure.  It helped me to better gauge my measurements for him and gave me white space to work with as well.  The white space is smaller and more easily defined by my eye than the whole bunny body.


I added a little more x-ray vision for the front left leg as it was hidden behind is back left leg.  This
was a fun additional project and helped me to have a better visual of the outer structure of a bunny.

Then I traced my first simple drawing onto tracing paper, flipped it over and re-traced with an 8B graphite and then flipped back to initial side and traced into place on my mixed media paper with an orange pencil.  I know a lot of artists use light boxes, but I like to do this old fashioned way. Now I was ready to begin rendering…


I began with the ears and worked my way down, here a little and there a little…

Then I decided to make kind of a color by color set if you will… Peter was mostly black with a bit of white patches here and there, but the shades of his black were varied with some brown as well, so I wanted to better define the different shades by drawing the areas lightly first and then shading accordingly.  You can see what I mean in the photo below…

A closer look…  Using to change your photo to black and white can help you to see the different tones and shades as well.

I was able to get the resemblance of fur by using the cross-hatching technique.  If you are unfamiliar with the different drawing techniques, I would love for you to take my first online graphite course coming on August 1!  In this course I will be teaching three graphite projects using the various graphite techniques.  You can learn more at the page above "Online Graphite Course".

And here it is all finished.  Well, not really, as Peter’s fur is not as long as it should be, nor is this one the same colors.  However, this met the requirements of the course and I plan to revisit this one day, finish it and frame it – as Peter was one of the best bunnies we ever have had.

PETER GOT FRAMED!!  And he has become a permanent presence on my art desk now.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the
Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12