Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Golden Lab and Collie

These were my reference shots, excellent poses with lots of detail. I photoshopped them together and put the dark back in the eyes, its really hard to draw a dog or cat if their eyes still have the flash in the them, dont know why.

I got the images drawn out in fine pencil lines and started on the Lab's fur, i havent done this breed before but i found it went on quite easily, with the white of the paper providing most of the highlights for me. The nose was a lovely caramel colour so i built it up slowly to get the contrast right. The pink tongue was lovely to do, really nice to have some bright colours ona portrait.

I put in the chain and the tag early so i didnt forget them and get carried away with fur too much.

I worked onthe muzzle with all the hairs pointing back up the slope of the face, luckily this bit of the dog is quite dark so there was plenty of contrast to work with. its hard whe these areas have a highlight down them because you lose the definition. I also put the dark purple on the gums and lips and the same purple on the collar.

I did the other ear, more on the nose and mouth and more on the fur. for some reason i was putting off the eyes.

I popped the eyes in quite easily and they seemed to look right, although its hard with camera flashes to know what the dogs eyes look like in person. This is about done, but i can always add a bit after i've done the other dog.

This was the nightmare stage. I thought i'd ruined the whole thing! the coat is brindle not black so i had to put more light colours in. Also the coat is fine and wavy and long so building it up took ages. The trick is to keep each pencil stroke as one hair or one shape in the hair. that means however rough you make it, the overall impression will be of fur running in that direction and not of a flat piece of colouring.

I put the eyes in early on this one, just to see if it was easier. it gave me the alarming feeling that it had come to life sooner than normal, so it watched me while i did the other bits. quite unnerving really. The highlights make the fur look so soft, i dont know how, but i'm always amazed.

This is almost done, just the muzzle with all those little black hairs and white whiskers and the nose being quite hard to draw.

I had to put paper under my hand at this stage as it was getting late and my hot hand kept transferring the black onto the white areas. This is a frightening thing to start happening so late on in a portrait as its hard to erase the black marks properly.

Here they are in all their glory. I really like the contrast in personalities and coat colours and textures. You couldnt have two less similar dogs really but they work as a pair!

The whole thing took me over eight hours but i'm very pleased with the result.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Don't panic!

you might have visited this page only to find it very white very plain and quite different to what it was, don't worry, it had just been a while since i'd updated it last, and i thought it could benefit from a bit of a revamp. I'm going to make bits and pieces to put on it, so if you find it changes a bit more over the next little while then thats why.

Other news is that i finally had to buy new pencils, a black and a white as mine had worn down to stubs, so i found that Rennies in Liverpool sold Derwents as open stock. I bought the two i needed and they seemed to be just the same as the ones i had used previously albeit in jazzier coloured outsides. When i came to use the black it went on very much like eyeliner, with gooey black fudgeyness which smudged, was impossible to rub out or blend and was generally horrible. The white seems alright, but then how wrong can you go with white?

In desperation i have been using a makeshift pencil holder to support the stub of my old pencil, but then last night, my mum mentioned that she had some very very old derwents and that there might be a black or a white among them. I had a look and hoorah there were two blacks and one white!! Now to get all worked up about pencils might seem a bit sad, but if the things which make a portrait (eyes, nose, highlights, shadows) all depend on using black and white, its crippling not to have them to hand! So if you are about to order a portrait then fear not...i have good old fashioned pencils with which to draw it, and it wont end up looking a dogs dinner! :D