My husband is 61 years old. I still slip a hand-drawn or hand-painted postcard of some animal into his lunch bag each day. Keeps us both kids at heart! I often use technical pen and fineliners to draw them, and I’m going to show you how I do it by showing you how to draw a hamster.
I originally planned to do a Triceratops, but it was getting too complicated for me. I went with a hamster instead. If you think about it – give a hamster a frill, horns and a tail, and it would look like a triceratops. A tiny triceratops.
The Three Step Process
- Pencil in the basic shape and body shapes
- Draw the shapes and fur groups with technical pen
- Color the hamster by hatching with fineliners
Optional (but recommended) Adding grass and sunflower seeds
For reference, I’m using a photo I found on Pixabay. I felt all grey would be a little boring, so our Hamster today will be brown and white.
Here’s a video so you can watch the process, and then it’s all written out so I can add more information, and you can stop to think about what is going on.
Why These Tools?
I’m not going to lie. I review Hahnemühle products and I’m a Zebra Pen Artist Ambassador, so I often get their products free. But I use them so often that I end up buying them too. I buy them because I like them, and this is why.
Zensations Technical Pen
The Zensations Technical Pen comes in six different nib sizes and the ink is waterproof. I use them for the initial drawing so that I can vary nib sizes, and I also have the option to use watercolor if I decide to. The nibs don’t dry out quickly and are tough enough to use on rough surfaces. I’ve had them last for over a year.
The Zensations Fineliners only come in one nib size. I like the range of colors. The are smudge-proof once the ink dries. While that varies depending on the surface, it only takes seconds. I can smudge if I’m really quick but it isn’t easy to do. I’m a lefty so I know whereof I speak. Like the technical pens, the nibs are strong enough to use on rough surfaces.
Hahnemühle Rough Watercolour Postcards
Hahnemühle Rough Watercolour Postcards have a surface that is rough, but not too rough. It creates great textures for watercolor, pen and marker. I like the way it softens the bold fineliner colors, giving me more control of light to dark, and helping the colors blend.
Finding the Shapes
Before we start learning how to draw a hamster, let’s look at a few things. Sorry for the bad print, but my printer sucks.
When you draw an animal, you need to find the shapes. These are shapes to look for:
- The overall basic shape
- The body shapes
- The shapes created by the fur
The shapes can be hard to see with all the detail, so to simplify I’m using clear acetate to draw on.
Here is the basic overall shape.
These are the body shapes within.
These are fur groups. Also important in learning how to draw a hamster are the various lengths of hair and the direction that the hair grows.
If you draw nothing but these shapes, you’ll have a recognizable animal.
Now to show you my color-hatching process. The pressure used is SO important. The rough surface softens the lines, but light pressure gives even more control. You can blend colors easily, and build up to soft, rich colors.
Surprising isn’t it? Beginners often press hard trying to get control and that doesn’t work at all.
I use very light pressure and rapid strokes, starting with my lightest color. The pressure is so light, you can barely see the yellow here. But it will affect the colors that are added afterwards.
I do the same thing with a second color – same pressure, same speed, same length of line. Getting the lines close to each other is NOT important. Try to vary where the lines start and stop, some above, some below.
This process is repeated until I’m happy with the blend of colors.
I finish with by filling in with a light color. I apply more pressure at this point.
Finally! We can start drawing the hamster!
How To Draw A Hamster – Step By Step
Pencil in the basic shape and the body shapes. Don’t worry about getting the exact shapes. Concentrate more on the relationships. How close is the eye to the ears? To the nose? How close are the paws to the mouth? To the feet? Lay your finger or pencil on the reference to get a sense of scale, and then on your drawing. Is the distance the same?
When you’ve finished the pencil drawing, use the lines as guide for your pen drawing. Start filling in the darker areas and drawing hair, but don’t get too dark. Light pressure!
You establish values at this point – the lightest to darkest areas – but you don’t want to overpower the colors that will come later.
Now to color with the fineliners. The eye first, starting with yellow -light pressure – then red brown, and dark brown. Finish by filling in with yellow, using heavier pressure. The eye will be the darkest area, and will be the focal point of the drawing.
When I’m adding colors, I want to see how they affect each other. So I move around the drawing adding color, and keep moving. I start by working in the brown area, then move to the white area, and then go back and forth. This creates a balance that you won’t have if you finish one area and then move to another. Clear as mud? It gets easier to understand as you go on.
I start with the lightest color, yellow and hatch a little of it in all the areas I want yellow. You can see it in the photo above. I’ll add more yellow later, so I’m not trying to get it as dark as it needs to be. I’m just showing myself where I want yellow to go.
The nose and inner ear are pink. These fineliners don’t smudge easily, but if you rub them immediately after adding the color, you can smear them a little on these postcards. I’m fond of doing this in areas that are really smooth, like the nose and ear. It gives a different texture from the rest of the drawing.
I hatch the areas of red-brown, and dark-brown. I’m drawing the lines in the direction of hair growth, adjusting the strokes in length to match the length of hair.
Now I want to start working on that balance I talked about earlier. The lower part of the body will be blue and gray so I start adding that. Notice that there is blue and gray in the upper body as well.
BE CAREFUL. Blue and yellow make green. If you hatch the blue over yellow, be sure to add red-brown at some point so your poor hamster doesn’t turn green. Unless you want a Dr. Seuss hamster. Then green is okay.
I add blue everywhere I want it, including shading under the hamster.
Then I deepen both the shading and the brown areas with light gray.
Now I just keep alternating colors until I get the blend that I want. When I think I’m close, I fill in with yellow and light gray, using a heavier pressure. I add a little green grass under the hamster and brown and gray to the sunflower seeds.
To add a little fluff to the outline, I add soft lines with the technical pen.
I darken a few areas.
And finish by adding whiskers.
That’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed my tutorial on how to draw a hamster. The hatching looks time-consuming, and in the beginning it is. I can whip out one of these in about 1/2 hour and that includes the time penciling and drawing. It’s a matter of confidence in controlling the pressure and direction of the line. And I’m sorry, but the only magic to it is practice.
And you want to know a cool trick? Make everything you draw or paint be practice – you’ll be more relaxed and have more fun!
How To Draw A Hamster: Drawing Tools I Used
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