Tag Archives: Dogs

New workshop dates: Pet Portraits in pastel

New Pet Portrait Pastel workshops scheduled!

Beautiful British Blue
Beautiful British Blue

I am now taking bookings for my next Pet Portraits in Pastel 1 day workshop:

  • Saturday 13th June 2015
    9:30 – 4:30
  • Light Lunch included
  • All materials and equipment provided
  • A fab art-packed day
  • Fab price! £95 per person

If you can’t make this date, then check out my other Art Workshop dates

Book early to avoid disappointment

Visit my website to make payment online or contact me directly to learn more

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Sophie complete

Here are the final few WIP staps for Sophie:
I decided to add a blueish background to pop out the fur colour:

I chose a sort of air force blue as a complementary of the rust colours in her fur.
It might seem odd to start on the background here, but it helps me to judge the overall finished piece.  Also the background needs to be in before I can add the finishing whisps to the hair.
Here’s a closer look at the hair detail on Sophie’s left ear.  I normally work left to right across the page so that I’m not leaning on my work, but on this piece I did it the other way around – no idea why….
In the image below you can see that the piece is virtually complate.  Although I signed it I did carry on tweaking for a bit and decided to strengthen the dark behind the edges of the ears.
and fianlly the finished piece…!

Sophie’s choice

I am still loving this Fisher 400 paper, so nice to work on.

My latest commission is this lovely little King Charles Spaniel called Sophie.  I met Sophie and her “mum”, Sally, at the Just Dogs Live show in Peterborough.

Sally sent me this wonderful reference shot from a photo shoot she had done with Sophie at Lovell Design.

Reference shots like these are reasonably rare, so it’s nice to have so much detail to base the piece on.
Although the colour looks pretty saturated on screen the ‘rust’ colour in Sophie’s fur is a little deeper.  She has a very lustrous coat.  Luckily I took some shots myself so I am able to compare colour to get it just right.
I have found that the best pencils for the outline (depending on the colours you need) are the Derwent sketching pencils which are charcoal or white pastel.  that’s what I used here to sketch the outline.
The lighting on this is not the best as the paper is a very light sand colour.
I’ve got the outline of the basic shape and then immediately started on the eyes and nose area.
Next I have blocked in the main colour areas of the face before starting to add detail to the main features.
In the close up you might just be able to see the lighter areas in the iris of the eyes, which are important to add depth and shape.  I have worked over the base colours with graphite or dark brown for the shadows and darks, sepia, ochre and madder brown for the midtones and flesh & cream for the highlights.

Here I’ve used a base coat of flesh and ochre over the ears before working over it with the detail of the curls.  The last image, below, is where I’m at so far.  I’ve just started to add the detail in on the left-hand ear.

More in a couple of days when Sophie will be almost complete…


Step by step Pug – coloured pencil on drafting film.

I have fingers in lots of different pies at the moment, one of them is just finished and will be my second piece for college assignment 3… so I thought you’d like to see.
I fancied having a go with drafting film that  after seeing the results that Karen Hull gets with the same medium.
I thought I’d have a change from cats as the brief asked for ‘an animal with it’s tongue hanging out’ and since I don’t have any shots that would suit, I mooched through Morguefile and found this great shot (royalty free) by Mary Vogt of Cubby the Pug. 
I love his little face with all its wrinkles and I thought that is would make a great display piece for my up coming dog show – Just dogs live! (more of that later).
So drafting film!  Well it’s strange stuff – opaque, very smooth and very slippery. It’s like drawing on several layers of greaseproof paper.  One thing I learned quickly is that you must use something to rest your hand on as it can become grubby very quickly.
I used a sheet of bristol board underneath the film so that I could see what I was drawing.
At this stage I wasn’t sure how much of the pencil layer would be visible under the coloured pencil (CP) so I used a light gray CP to draw the outline – hoping it would blend.
As ever,  I started with the eyes.  The CP went on really easily, but I soon found the limit to how many layers the film will take.  Because the pigment stays on top of the film you soon find that after a while you are simply pushing the colour around.  However, once you get used to that you can get some nice blending effects and a fair depth of colour.  I think that softer pencils would definately be an advantage here.
In this close-up of the eye you can see a light brown spot at the bottom where the pigment has started to shift around, but I like the effect so I have left it. Agian this is one of those pieces where I found that graphite was great for adding the top layer of detail.

In the next shot below, I have completed the under layer of colour and have started to add the detail on top.

I found that using a sclapel to scrape the pigment from the film was much better for whiskers than shrarp white pencils.
Eventually we have the finished portrait…I think.
I’m not sure whether to add greenary to the background or leave it as a study.
One of the advantages of using drafting film is that the background can be created separately and the piece simply mounted on top.  Wou be interested to know what you think and maybe I’ll experiment…