Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dog Day

Mr. Brady, 8 x 10" pastel pencils, carbon pencil, watercolor, and soft pastel on cotton paper.
These kinds of portraits are pretty involved. There's a process I use of layering pastel pencils and watercolor over each other repeatedly before adding the final touches of soft pastel and doing the last bits of refining of the eyes, which are the most important element for getting the animal's real character.

The whole process takes an average of five hours' work for a drawing of this size and style. Here's what it looks like at about an hour in, when I'm still carefully checking proportions against my source photo and making sure I've got it right before I start with the watercolor:

When the finished drawing is to be looser, less precise, they take far less time; those of you who were at Art Crawl this spring may have seen me produce sketches in twenty minutes, even. Those are a very different thing, great fun and worth doing, just not anywhere near the level of precision or "finish" of this kind of portrait.  

Below, the snapshot I had for reference. I'd have liked it to be larger and a bit sharper and better lit, but Brady was no longer with us and so I used what we had.

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