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.
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…