Panda Bears Drawing Assignment

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today I would like to tell you about one of my assignments which is very special for me because it was my first project I fulfilled independently as a freelancer. It was a panda drawing project.


A teacher from the USA William Cunningham was looking for an artist to create a panda mascot for his classroom. He posted his request on DeviantArt website where I was one of the whole bunch of artists and illustrators willing to get this job. At that time I worked as an artist and illustrator for a web design company but I needed extra earnings, that’s why I visited DeviantART from time to time to check out whether there were interesting project over which I could work evenings and nights. Luckily, I have a rich portfolio containing quite a number of interesting works. And I was chosen by William for this panda mascot project.


William Cunningham had a rather funny and appealing to children idea to create a classroom mascot representing a cute panda character wearing a hoodie and socks. And this was my initial sketch of the mascot which the client accepted at once.

panda bear initial sketch

After that I proceeded with a raster (pixel based) panda image to show how the mascot will look like in color.

panda bear raster image by Igor Lukyanov

And eventually I created the vector image of the panda which looks somewhat smoother in comparison with the raster one.

panda mascot by Igor Lukyanov

The client was happy and that was when I realized that working as a freelancer artist and illustrator could give me more freedom in choosing interesting projects, communicating with clients and setting price for my illustration job. Furthermore, William Cunningham proved to be a very decent person. He was so supportive and patient that I had very positive feelings about possibility of starting my freelance career. I was also impressed how this guy was interested in making his teaching process fascinating in every possible way. He is willing to invest his own money in something that we would think is auxiliary in the educational process. However, those minor auxiliaries play a very important role of mortar which glues together every piece of knowledge we acquire from our teachers and holds them tight in our memory, for our brain is created to store much longer those things which we cognize “to the accompaniment” of positive or negative emotions. Teachers are intended to teach us as much effectively as possible and evoking positive feelings is one of the most efficient methods to catalyze the process of knowledge acquisition. What does a child need to have positive feelings? Well, much less than an adult needs… Just a fascinating game to play. I hope that this little panda character will help William to create the environment conducive to learning and imagination development through a game in his classroom.


The panda mascot project being accomplished, I still had this drawing aftertaste and I wanted to draw something interesting instead of those boring assignments I often got to do for the web design company I worked for. I was still “panda-minded” and used to make doodles of little panda bears when testing my new brush pen. Some of those sketches turned to be quite nice and I want to show you a couple of doodles.

panda doodle

panda doodle 2

I was happy when William got back to me with another project for his classroom. He wanted to make visual improvements to the scrolling flash icons on his website. There were icons linked to various pages of the website. The icons were represented by a dozen of ugly worms with dialogue balloons containing links. So I suggested replacing the unattractive worms with…pandas. I want to show you how I drew those panda bears.

panda bears illustration

cute panda bears

funny panda bears

You can also see them all in the William Cunningham’s online classroom.


And here are videos of me drawing a panda bear:



Here is where you can find my other animal drawings and illustrations:
Panda tattoo
Drawing Panda Bears with a Pentel Brush Pen
Drawing a pet portrait
Other animals drawings and illustrations
American wildlife illustrations
Grizzly bear drawing

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Sketching Beauty of Nature

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nature is my other passion. I never stop being fascinated at how amazingly God has created this world. Just look around you, every single leaf on a tree, every blade of grass and each flower is a piece of outstanding art. Nature is something worth spending hours to pour out the feelings evoked by that beauty on paper.


Have you ever noticed when staying in a city that our life is restrained by straight lines and regular shapes? We all walk along straight sidewalks, drive along straight roads, live in box-like apartments and look through rectangular windows. I think straight lines are something artificial and somewhat unnatural. When you leave the city and go away from smog and dust, cumbersome buildings and noisy traffic, yonder to fields and forests, rivers and mountains, you’ll have a chance to enjoy being in the wonderful realm of quite another shapes. This is where you let your soul feel real freedom of nature. Look at the trees and other vegetation around you. You are unlikely to see trees of the same shape. It seems that a tree chooses by its own in which direction to grow its branches. All that boundless abundance of shapes and colors makes me realize the awesome creative power of God who was so kind to have given me a piece of his creative mind and bestowed the drawing talent on me. And I draw… draw this nature, this masterpiece which our God has shaped so wisely.


When I had more free time, I used to drive my mountain bike far away from the city to contemplate nature and make some sketches. I used to keep on riding the bike till noticing something interesting then I stopped and commenced drawing. I always had my favorite drawing tools (a fountain pen and aquarelle pencils) at my finger tips. Nature is the best teacher for an artist since it is based on certain fundamental principles. Those principles are quite simple and embrace symmetry, hierarchical branching, equilibrium etc., but in spite of this simplicity those basic principles form a stunning, infinite variety of shapes. When learning those principles we make a step towards their Creator, although being tiny, this step leads us to comprehension of God’s wisdom surrounding us, and we all have honor to be a fruit of this almighty wisdom. I want to share with you a few my nature sketches which are very precious to me as they still store those pleasant memories of beautiful nature contemplation. I hope you will love them too.

bloom twig sketch

broken tree drawing

chestnut sketch

leaves drawing

mountain ash tree sketch

tree stub sketch drawing

pond drawing

I used to work as a graphic artist for archeological expeditions in Crimea. Crimea is a peninsula in my country – Ukraine (if you happen to know nothing about Ukraine, I can recommend visiting my friend's blog about Ukraine or search for information in the web). So Crimea is known for its very beautiful nature and here are a few nature drawings I made there.

crimea juniper tree art

Crimea pine tree artwork

Crimea tree picture


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My Other Animal Drawings

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Since my last blog post was dedicated to my pet portrait assignment I would like to continue this animal topic by showing you a few of my other animal drawings and sketches. I hope you will love them.

dog drawing by Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

dog drawing by Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

dog sketching by Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

dog drawing by Igor Lukyanov


very cute dog picture, drawing


cool cat drawing

cool white on black cat drawing

drawing of a white cat with orange eyes on blue background

cute squirrel drawing

dragonfly by Igor Lukyanov

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Drawing a Pet Portrait

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today I would like to tell you about my last assignment which evoked sad feelings in my heart. A woman from the USA wanted to make a gift to her husband whose beloved dog had recently died. The woman wanted me to make a portrait of her husband with his favorite pet. The dog had been their family’s faithful friend for some 8 years. It’s better to say this animal was a part of the family. I lost my dog too not so much time ago and I realize all that bitterness the guy and his family feel.


I googled for statistics regarding children who have pets to find out that kids taking care of animals are more self-reliant, more sociable, less selfish and they are happier and healthier in comparison to those children who aren’t that lucky to have pets in their homes. Isn’t it amazing how God has created a human being? We feel happy when we have someone to care about and love. We love our pets and our hearts get filled with the most useful feeling which actually makes us humans. Pets are sometimes our most faithful and sincere friends. Have you ever seen how a dog rejoices when its master pats it and rubs behind its ear? A pet needs only a little attention to be happy and it responds with true faith and love. The Bible says that God has entrusted animals into human’s care and having pets in our homes is like making a little contribution into God’s will execution. It’s a tragedy when your pet dies. But we ought to always remember that little creature which gives us all it has for that little attention we can offer.


Well, let’s leave alone these sad thoughts and return to this pet portrait assignment of mine. The woman who wanted this original gift for her husband did not happen to have a picture of her husband with the dog appropriate for drawing a portrait. All she could offer was two separate photos of the man and the dog. But it was enough for me to draw a pet portrait the client was absolutely happy with. So these are those pictures I received (I reduced their resolution):


I am not going to just show you the final pet portrait at once. Many people ask me about how to draw a portrait from a photo and I want to provide a little description of this pet portrait drawing stages.

Pet Portrait Drawing Stage 1


Setting outlines and building the portrait composition on the A3 sheet with 1х1 cm. (0.4 x 0.4 in.) grid (used drawing tool: 5Н pencil).

pet portrait drawing, stage 1

Pet Portrait Drawing Stage 2


Preliminary application of tones and halftones by means of cross-hatching (yes, this is my favorite technique for portrait drawing). Since I had little time to accomplish the portrait I did not use layer by layer tone enhancement as I usually do (used drawing tool: 2Н pencil).

pet portrait drawing, stage 2

Pet Portrait Drawing Stage 3


Further tones putting all over the portrait with setting off the image details. Creating background.

dog portrait drawing, stage 3

Pet Portrait Drawing Stage 4


The last stage. Enhancement of tones and halftones, emphasizing the main details with simultaneous softening of the minor elements. Special attention to eyes drawing and elaboration of the traits and face features which reveal resemblance to the models on the supplied original photos (used drawing tool: 2B pencil).

dog portrait final stage, cross-hatching

I hope you like this portrait and I would appreciate your comments here.

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Want a free portrait?

Monday, November 23, 2009

I want to tell you how I decided to draw free portraits from photos on Facebook and show you a few free portraits drawn by me (they are shown below this post)

Being a portrait artist I have to practice in portrait drawing almost non-stop to maintain my professional skills. Since I do not always have a possibility to draw from a model but I need to keep on practicing (even despite lack of free time), I got accustomed to draw portraits from photos. People often question me what it takes to be a professional portrait artist or ask me for tips about how to draw like me. Well, I always emphasize importance of practicing. As you might have read in my previous posts I actually do not have a special art education. I am just an engineer who had to do a lot of technical drawings and other engineering stuff. When I realized that I was good at drawing not only machinery but other things as well I began leaning basic drawing techniques and…yes, I practiced and practiced and practiced…

Of course, I am always happy when people order custom portraits and I have a chance to practice but it happens not that often as I wished to as the majority of orders I receive consists mostly of illustrations and logos. Therefore after having made free and paid portraits for my friends I thought why not to draw portraits of people from different countries. When this thought came into my mind I had already registered my Facebook account. My first objective was to find some people related to style and fashion industry to show them my fashion illustrations (I will tell about my fashion art in my later posts). I must confess that Facebook really alleviates search for desired people. Thus in just a month or so I had made friends with some three hundreds people whose business niche pertains to fashion design. Some of them turned to be very beautiful people. When I browsed their pictures many of them made me want to draw their portraits. Well, I thought why not to create a group on Facebook where I would draw free portraits of group’s members. I decided to name the group: "I will draw your portrait FREE OF CHARGE, friends!". I put the “friends” word as at first I envisaged that I would draw free portraits for my friends who I invited into the group. But I forgot that I was able to invite a few hundreds of people who had become my fans on my Facebook fan page and many of them were not even my friends. And likewise people who come to my page from outside Facebook would also be willing to have a free portrait drawn for them. But I did not want to remove this "friends" word as I wished to make as many friends as possible from all over the world and I accept all friendship requests which are, by the way, advisable to be sent to me since I would need to have access to your page on Facebook to check out which of your photos are appropriate to draw a portrait from.

So I have recently created the group on Facebook which members’ photos I use to draw free portraits from and to practice my portraiture drawing skills. Using this occasion I also started my fund-raising campaign since I have to invest some money into my freelance business and I want to by some professional equipment like a large Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet. In my group description I described the rules and mentioned that I would be happy if someone was willing to donate. Donations are not mandatory and I do not bug people about them. Actually there is none who made a donation so far…lol. Therefore I decided not to bother myself with this fund-raising idea any more and better focus on portraits drawing. The rules of the group are quite simple. I browse profiles of the members of the group to pick up a random photo to draw a free portrait. I also choose a style of the portrait on my own, hence this is not a custom portrait. I can even draw a caricature if I wish to (yes, free stuff cannot always be what you wished it to be, but at least you and your friends are likely to have a lot of fun). And you can always ask me to remove your portrait from the group if you do not like it to be there for some reason (nobody asked me for the portrait removal so far as everybody seems to love what I am doing). That’s pretty much it. You can also read about my prices for custom portraits made in accordance with client's wishes and ideas in my group description and discussion page.

Alas, I have not much time to draw free portraits since I have some paid and pre-paid illustrations assignments in my schedule. That is the reason why I have managed to draw only a few free portraits for my group so far. But I try to use every free moment to draw portraits. Below are those few portraits I have drawn for my group for this moment. You also have a chance to have your free portrait drawn for you. All you have to do is to join my free portraits drawing group on Facebook and send me a friendship request. And we all will have a lot of fun together.

Here are a few free portraits I have drawn


free portrait of a woman in sunglasses by Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

free portrait by Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

free portrait

portrait for free

portrait free of charge

caricature of an Italian man, caricature for free

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A Custom Greeting Card with a Portrait Can Be an Original Gift Idea

Friday, November 20, 2009

I and one of my friends were discussing an idea of creating custom greeting cards, postal cards and invitations with client’s portrait or caricature a few months ago. A thought crossed my mind that this kind of custom greeting cards could be a very cool and original gift idea. And my friend assured me it would be awesome to create something like this. He also suggested designing custom greeting and postal cards for specific nations (like using national costumes, various decorations characteristic to a specific nation).

We thought then that we should create some postal cards with beautiful Ukrainian women wearing national costumes and thus train my skills and experiment with design concepts. However, I was unable to squeeze the custom greeting cards design skills training into my tight schedule. The only chance to train the skills and see how a greeting card with a custom portrait of a client would look like was possible if I could find a customer who would wish to have this kind of unusual gift designed for him/her or for his/her friend. And guess what? I was lucky enough to find a custom greeting card wishing client in just a couple of weeks after this brilliant idea had struck my mind. So it was a guy who wanted an original and unique gift for his girl-friend from Germany. He gave me a number of pictures of the girl from a social media website where she had an account and had placed a few photos of herself. The guy wanted something simple: a greeting card with a kind of a vintage portrait and minimum of decoration. So I made the one (which I show right below this paragraph) in exact conformity with his wishes and requirements. He said the girl-friend was more that happy to receive such an unhackneyed gift. The guy and the girl-friend were very kind to give me permission to show this greeting card in my portfolios and blogs.

custom greeting card, personalized gift

That’s how I got persuaded that a custom greeting card with a beautiful portrait is an interesting and unusual gift to be presented to a friend, a wife, a husband, a colleague or any other person on any occasion as a greeting card can be tailor-made in accordance to client’s wishes, ideas and visions. Furthermore, this customization allows conveying any kind of message or evoking a desired feeling in the person to which the gift is presented.

And this one below is my first experimental custom greeting card. I was planning to modify woman’s face and change body and clothing to look like any woman a client wants to be depicted on the greeting card. This one is like a default customizable model :)

personalized greeting card

Related posts:
Drawing a family portrait
Customized bookmarks

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Portraiture: Complicated Realistic Portraits

Sunday, November 15, 2009

As you already know my biggest passion is drawing portraits. And I am always happy when people order me serious realistic portraits. No matter how I draw a portrait, either from a client's photo or from a model, I enjoy every single minute of this incomparable process of artistic creation. I also love the portrait drawing process because it requires minimal use of auxiliary software, or more often software is not needed at all. I appreciate artist’s soul and heart put in a portrait rather than artificial effects created with graphic editing software, that’s why I consider my portraits to be the brightest gems in my portfolio.

As you see I prefer using a pen and a pencil as my drawing tools.

realistic portrait of a man by Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

portrait of a Ukrainian girl by artist Igor Lukyanov (cross-hatching)

realistic portrait

Ukrainian girl portrait (cross-hatching)

You also may like:
Portrait of a Weeping African Woman

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Caricature: Developing My Skills in Caricature Drawing

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Well, I consider myself to be not a big caricature artist as I mostly specialize in realistic portraits. However, I constantly keep on improving my skills in caricature drawing. And I do it using my favorite cross-hatching technique. Here are a few caricatures I want to show you. Hopefully, I will add more in the near future.

Jackie Chan Caricature


Jackie Chan caricature (cross-hatching)

Jackie Chan caricature (cross-hatching)


Ronaldinhio Caricature


Ronaldinhio caricature (cross-hatching)

Audrey Tautou Caricature


Audrey Tautou caricature

Albert Einstein Caricature


Albert Einstein caricature


Bobby McFerrin Caricature


Bobby McFerrin caricature

An Ordinary Italian Guy Caricature


caricature of an italian guy

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