pet

On The Drawing Board – Baxter & Barley

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Baxter and Barley’s portraits will be a surprise Christmas present. Look at this amazing photo of Baxter! The client persevered with her photography (and my fussiness) and managed to get this great shot! Such a wonderful expression and great lighting. A good clear reference photo makes all the difference and this one is a pleasure to work from.  Whilst I get started on Baxter’s portrait, the client is trying for more shots of Barley, as they aren’t her dogs she is doing a great job of undercover photography!

 

Below is the initial sketch of Baxter, more to come once I have completed all the basics. At the moment just getting the main details and fur direction in.

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Starting to add more depth of shadow.

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Working on the final detail, just realised I need to do his disk!

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The finished scanned image.

Barley Client kindly sent me a photograph of Baxter framed, love her choice of frame.

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IMG_0032 (2)Well another wonderful photo, this time of Barley, the client really has got the photography side down now! Love the enquiring look. Below is the initial sketch.

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Pretty intense few days working on Barley, the reality is that Christmas is looming…….. Am working on getting all the basics in place, adding light, shade and structure.

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Continuing to add the basics.

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Slowly but surely. From an artists point of view, Barley is easier than Baxter because he has some ‘white bits’, black animals are notoriously difficult and you have to rely on good lighting. Barley’s white sections instantly give interest to a drawing and make him unique.

Now at the final detail stage, my favourite part!

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A day of analysing and putting the final touches to Barley. Below is a scanned image of the final portrait – is his expression dreaming of running through the fields, or his dinner?

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On The Drawing Board – Abbie

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img-20170104-wa0002When Abbie was 6 months old, through no fault of her own, she was surrendered to an animal shelter in Kuwait called K’S Path. For ca. 6 years she lived in the shelter waiting for the right family to come along and adopt her but unfortunately most adoptions are of smaller dogs, the larger dogs have a hard time finding homes and Abbie was also no longer a young dog, the odds were stacked against her.

I used to volunteer at the shelter and friends of mine came in search of the perfect canine companion for their daughter. I had seen Abbie a few days before in the garden enclosure with the trainer – sitting when asked, waiting for her treat and generally being a very well behaved dog, she is part Border img-20170104-wa0003Collie after all! The daughter actually had in mind one of the smaller dogs but thankfully it was love at first sight when she met Abbie. It was a wonderful moment when Abbie for the first time since she was surrendered as a pup, walked out the shelter door and got into their car for the journey to her new home. She jumped in the car and settled down as if it was something she did everyday of her life, dogs sense when they are with good people!

She is now a much loved member of their family, so this is a special portrait of a very lucky dog. It has been commissioned by the parents as a surprise birthday present for their daughter.

Stage 1 – the initial sketch and the start of an eye.

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Continuing to establish the light and shadow.

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Have finished adding the light and shade, the structure of the face is now more pronounced. Next step, moving onto the detail.

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Adding more depth, working from the left-side and moving across.20170222_111446

Finished portrait.

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On The Drawing Board – Inca

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inca This very cute face belongs to Inca the black lab. Her owner has commissioned the portrait as a Christmas present for her partner, I think I am going to call Inca my Christmas challenge! This is simply because black dogs are the hardest to draw due to there being no markings to help distinguish them and give a 3D effect, I have to completely rely on light and shade. This photo has great light and shade but has its challenges because a lot of detail is hidden in the shadow but this is all part of the fun of trying to make it work!

Have done the initial sketch and am just establishing the darkest darks (if that makes any sense).

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Have now put in all the basic shadows and sketched in loosely the section of fence and step, will workout how to incorporate that once I have started the detail on Inca.

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Completed the second layer giving extra depth and roughly giving an impression of the back ground. Just need to add the collar and then can start on the fine detail.

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Have spent the morning working on the shoulder and leg, was going to leave it loose as really can’t see the detail as it is in shadow but unfortunately I didn’t feel it worked well as looked too flat, therefore have added some fur detail to give it more structure.

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Thought I had nearly finished but then decided I wanted the darks even deeper to give more definition, so a quite a few hours later I have now done the final touches, here is the finished portrait.

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She looks such a lovely dog, looking into those eyes it would be hard to ever tell her off, lucky I am not a dog trainer! In the end quite enjoyed my Christmas challenge of  black lab.

On The Drawing Board – Senna

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Since July of this year I have been back living in my hometown of Poole in Dorset, quite a change after years living in a desert climate, am still getting excited each time it rains!

So this is my first commission back on home turf, meet Senna, named after a racing car driver – must admit did have to look up who he was exactly! Senna’s portrait is a surprise Christmas present and the clients cleverly got this great shot whilst he was in their care.

I have done the initial sketch and am now just establishing the light and shade, have completed more detail on the eyes but the rest is very loose at the moment.img_0497

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Working from left to right have started the detail on the ear and the side of the face. Very happy with how it is going at the moment, it is such a great photo, making him look alert but lovable all at the same-time.

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A very productive weekend jumped me up to this stage. Now going to work on the fine detail.

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 Have completed the final touches, below is the scanned copy of the end portrait. Unfortunately the scanning process changes the colours slightly and I have lost a bit of the white fur on the chest but in the actual portrait it is there!

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On The Drawing Board – Mushkila

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This is a portrait for a lady who lives in Kuwait, as an anniversary present for her husband. Really like this photograph, she has managed to capture her with such a cute but alert look, love the way her ears fold over.IMG_1093

Below is the initial sketch.

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At the moment working on finding the contours of the face using the light and shade, no great detail yet.

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Continuing to work on the contours, as Mushkila is a white dog, it is finding the fine balance between adding the shading to give depth and “saving” the white of the paper. Discovered that under Mushkila’s nose is a little black patch, if you don’t look closely it looks like her nose is going right down towards her top lip but on closer observation you can see the part underneath is a black patch. At the moment have added this in roughly, will work out how to define this a bit later when all the contours are complete.

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All the basic contours now done. Have left the tag until later, we are changing to a different tag and I need to work out the angle it would be lying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave been working on the fine detail, small but important changes which are actually hard to capture with the camera. Need to now work on her nose now and sort out the disk on the collar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlmost finished. Will put her on the easel over the weekend and check for anymore changes/improvements. Always like to “live” with a portrait for a bit before it is declared finished, just in case I suddenly see something that I have missed, nice to step away and come back with fresh eyes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Made some minor changes but she is now finished and signed. Here is the scanned image.

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On The Drawing Board – Channing

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Beautiful dog and a great photo!

This portrait is a commission for the clients mum as a Christmas present, yes Christmas is looming quite soon! The photo is so good because the client is a photographer, heaven for me. The only changes I will do from the actual photograph is to clean up her tongue and tidy up a few hairs on her chest, otherwise everything is perfect. I love the way the light catches her eyes. This will be drawn on A3 paper.

Below is the first stage, just establishing the light and shade at this point.

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Now have completed all the basic work, moving onto the first stage of detail.

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Have started the detail working from the left ear down, haven’t completed it all yet, still have the right side to go. No short cuts to be had with all that wonderful fur, very time consuming but like the look of the thick luscious coat.

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Have now worked on most areas of the coat, next step is to concentrate on the eyes and nose area; centre panel of the face.

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Almost finished, just want to “live” with it a few days on the easel to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

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 Final portrait – scanned image

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On the Drawing Board – Czar

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406849_10151335516746955_782553222_nThis has to be one of my more unusual commissions – half a cat! The owner loves Czar’s expression and is a photographer, so likes this very artistic crop.

I have now drawn the initial sketch and lightly penciled in the scrolling bar in the background, I think it balances the portrait rather than having a blank piece of paper on the right. Not sure yet until I get going, might need to change the position of the bar so that it isn’t touching the ear at that angle, time will tell.

Here is the initial sketch.No detail yet, just adding the basic colouring to make a map to lights, darks and stripes.  Am starting to think it will make an interesting composition with a few background elements.

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Have now started the first stage of the detail, have worked from the top of the head across to the ear and down to the eye. Love his markings, makes the eye stand out well. Have now completed one layer of detail. Now have to decide whether to complete the other layer of detail, or work out the placement of the metal scroll. Will have a look in the morning and see which route to go.

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Have added the metal scroll, moved the position slightly. Got quite carried away researching metal bars, almost was tempted to add another scroll but remembered it was supposed to be about the cat and not the scroll! Have also added another layer of detail to the fur (very difficult for me to capture in a photograph), next step will be to work on the eye and refine the fur.

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Finished Portrait – scanned image

My most unusual commission to date complete. Interesting to do a portrait from a completely different perspective. Czar looks like a cat with lots of attitude.

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On the Drawing Board – Hobbes

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This beautiful cat lives in Kuwait. I am thinking maybe he is called Hobbes because of the Hobnob biscuit but I could be wrong.

Am really looking forward to this one because I love the composition; the photo is very clear, the head at a good angle plus he simply looks so cute but intense all at the same time. Will include the ring in the portrait as it is such an important part of the overall look.

Starting to find all the basic areas of light and shade, am liking the way the dark of the ring gives definition to the head.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinuing downwards. Hobbes is A3 size, so allows me lots of space to get the detail in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow and again you come across a portrait where the composition works so perfectly, this is one of those. I knew from the beginning that it would work well – just hope the clients feel the same.

Have now completed all the basics. The clients don’t actually need this one ready for Christmas, so am dragging myself away from it so that I can complete any portraits that are Christmas presents first. Will look forward to putting in the detail later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas portrait presents complete, back with Mr Hobbes.

Am now refining the detail, have started at the top left ear and am working downwards. The differences are difficult to capture with a camera because they are so small, maybe only noticable if you look very closely. Am going to leave the eyes to last.

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Final Portrait

Below is a scanned image of Hobbes – intense but sweet!

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