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…

Step by step – Amber in a bag

I had a great time at the Cambridge Cat show and met some lovely people.  I picked up a few commissions so watch out for updates about their progress in the blog.  Next week I’ll be in Brigg – South Humberside for the One for all cat show which is over 2 days, so I’m very much looking forward to that. 
At the last show I was still working on Amber so I thought you’d like to see a step by step and the finished portrait.
the original shot came about as my husband John was setting up in his studio for a shoot.  Amber decided that she would help him and was rummaging around in an Octa reflector bag to see what she could find!  the result was a shot with a great expression – so alert – I couldn’t resist capturing it as a portrait.
Amber is a British Blue shorthair and typical of her breed she has amazing orange eyes.
For my lastest set of college assignments I needed to create a portrait with a contemporary look.  I decided that this would be a fairly monochromatic study to make the most of Amber’s eyes.  I’m sure that everyone has seen the type of thing in wedding photography where you have a black and white image with spot colour to highlight a  particular feature. 

That was the feel that I wanted to create, so I chose a background colour that matched Amber’s fur.
This first image looks quite scary I think, it shows the outline and Amber’s piercing eyes.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I like to work on Hahnemuhle velour with pastel and this was no exception. 
Next I started to block in some of the shadow area around the eyes.  At this stage I was using Daler Rowney soft pastel sticks – they have a really good range of cool and warm greys.
You can really see the difference in lighting here.  The first two shots were at the Addlestone show and the next shots were at the Stevenage show and in my studio.
This shot shows detail being added to the face and shadow to some of the surrounding area.
I wasn’t really sure on the crop that I wanted until quite late into the portrait, so I used ultra-low tack masking tape to try and find what I was after.
Eventually I decided that this crop was too tight and ended up showing more detail of the ba, as I felt that it told a better story.
Almost finished, just the final details to be added
A few more darks added to the fur and the shadows strengthened, then it’s finished.
Amber in a bag!

A very happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  I’m having a very busy time at the moment.  I have study for both the open University and the London Art college and commissions to do. It’s great!

Barbara picked up her commission of Polo and was delighted with the results. 
She has commissioned another portrait of Spoc, who is sadly no longer with us.  I can’t wait to see images of Spoc as Barbara described him as a challenge! Intriguing!