You may remember that I have been trying out coloured pencils – polychromos by Faber Castell to be exact. These are oil-based coloured pencils and a huge selection of 120 beautiful colours. However for this latest picture I used a fairly limited pallette. Although a badger is black and white, in fact I used a selection of browns and greys and even some blues to give the depth of colour I wanted.
The key to making fur look lifelike is to use very sharp pencils with a light touch. With lots of layers and using slightly different colours this will build up a realistic looking fur which has depth. The cooler areas had blue included and in the warmer areas I used the browns. Warm greys and cool greys were used accordingly.
I have found that I enjoy using coloured pencils for fur as I can get more life into it.
This year I have become interested in dog portraits, both in watercolour and coloured pencil. I have always loved dogs and there has not been many years in my life when I have not been owned by at least one. I grew up with a very forgiving boxer but latterly there has mostly been spaniels, in particular English Cockers and Field. There was a very entertaining and loving period where two Basset Hounds joined us and prior to that a border collie helped us with our small flock of sheep.
I wish now I had taken better photographs of all these colourful characters, but unfortunately whilst there are actions snapshots, nothing quite meets the standards you need to paint from. Good, clear close-up photographs with as much detail as possible is the best. Then I can create the high detail portraits that I enjoy doing. This is especially true when I am doing a commission as I do not know the personality of the dog.
I have in the past posted previous dog portraits (see Dogs as Artist’s Models back in March) but here are the latest two. The Cavalier is in watercolour and for the Border Collie I used coloured pencils. I am still finding it easier to use watercolour, but that is probably because I have been doing it for so long and it comes more naturally (taking the easier route?). However, I think I prefer the finished article when I used coloured pencils. I still have a lot to learn with this medium though.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment. – Robert Falcon Scott