Artist Interview - Alix Fuerst

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Alix, and I’m a colored pencil artist who specializes in realistic portraits of people, pets, and wildlife.


Why do you do what you do?

Drawing is my greatest passion and I can’t imagine life without it. I love the challenge of taking a real-life image and beautifully recreating it using just pencils. It’s incredibly satisfying getting to do this for a living and to share my work with others.


You use so many vibrant colors, do you have any that you favor?

Often when I draw for myself I use bright saturated blues, greens, and yellows. I particularly enjoy taking wildlife and making their natural colors pop, sometimes overexaggerating the vibrancy.


What inspires your art?

Since I was little, I’ve been extremely observant of nature and all the animals (including pets) around me. So much so that I still strive to capture the beauty and unique character of every living thing that I draw.


How and when did you get into art?

I’ve been frequently drawing ever since I could hold a crayon. I started out doing cartoon animals and got into realism when taking high school art classes. After college, I fell in love with colored pencils and decided to start my own business specializing in realistic drawings.


How has your practice changed over time?

Before starting my business there were so many drawings that I would start and never finish because the subject seemed too challenging. Working on commissions has definitely motivated me to be more patient and not give up on drawings that I would have otherwise. I’ve learned so much from pushing through pieces that were out of my comfort zone, whether it was drawing something new like a building or working from an unclear photo, it’s always so rewarding when I finish and find out what I’m capable of.


What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?

My favorite piece might be the lion portrait that I drew in 2018. I love the side profile and how majestic he appears. The black background complements his warm tones, and I spent so much time trying to get all those tiny details in the mane. It was a challenging yet very satisfying piece to draw and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.


What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?

We’ve all heard this but practice really does make perfect. When starting out we all get overwhelmed but with time and patience, you will learn a lot.

Simply drawing every day is how I’ve seen the most improvement in my work.


What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?


If you’re drawing fur, hair, or any tiny detail with colored pencils, then try using an x-acto knife. You can use this tool to etch away layers of colored pencils in order to create finer details. I would recommend using a light color as the base layer of your drawing or else it won’t work well.


Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?

I would say for working with colored pencils, having an electric eraser is your best bet for fixing mistakes. As a portrait artist, I often get asked to go back and make small changes to commissions. Colored pencil isn’t the most forgiving medium, so although this tool can’t erase everything it can certainly help!


What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?

My favorite Strathmore paper is the 300 Series Bristol Vellum. It’s thick enough to hold multiple layers of colored pencil and smooth enough to create intricate details. Overall a great paper to use with both colored pencils and graphite pencils.


What art materials could you not live without?

Definitely my colored pencils, sharpener, electric eraser, and paper.


What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?

It depends on the subject that I’m drawing, but like I said I love working with more vibrant colors for my wildlife drawings. Even with commissions, I saturate them a bit so that the portrait stands out from the reference photo. For example, I try bringing out colors in a pet’s coat that many wouldn’t expect or notice. Such as blues and purples in fully black animals. For brown animals, I use lots of reds and purples. Even with white ones, I’ll include blues, pinks, and beige in the shading.


Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?

Coming across Heather Rooney’s YouTube videos in 2014 is a big reason why I started doing colored pencil portraits. Before then I was mostly painting and drawing with graphite pencils.  I always liked colored pencils but didn’t know how much realism and detail could be achieved with them until I saw her draw. Watching those videos definitely motivated me to go out and buy a pack of Prismacolors. I haven’t looked back since as it’s my favorite medium to work with now.


What’s the most common art-related question you get from your followers?

People are often curious about what materials I use to create my drawings.


Website/social media links:

Website: www.alixfuerst.com

Instagram: @alixfuerst_art

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlixFuerstArt

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@alixfuerst_art

Go back