Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Indy" (Flat-Coat Retreiver, 8 weeks old)

This is my friend, Mylou's, new puppy, Indy.  Isn't she adorable.  I just had to draw her.  She is a Flat-Coated Retriever, just like her sister, Luna.  Mylou and I met in puppy class nearly 4 years ago and have been friends every since. :)

Drawing Indy was a bit of challenge in that she is all black, not a speck of white anywhere.  I used my new favorite method of black and white charcoal on Bristol Vellum.  Even though she is entirely black I needed the white charcoal to help pick out the highlights.  I generally use both hard and medium grades of black charcoal, white charcoal and an "ugly" brush to help work the graphite powder into the paper, giving me a smooth and rich undercoat.  An electric eraser is used for picking out tiny highlights in the eyes and the toe nails.

The only compositional change I made was to swap the leaf Indy had in her mount with a daisy.  I thought it added a little whimsy and I like the contrast of the white flower against an all black puppy.

Charcoal on Bristol Vellum
Private Collection

Practice Piece "Husky" in Graphite

I've been flat on my back for several days, today is the first day I'm really up and around.  Walked the dog around our little court this morning and finished my practice piece.  I found this book on Drawing Cats & Dogs and picked it up for about $8 bucks.  I've learned three things: 1) I do better on my own than trying to following someone else's directions, and 2) I like drawing with charcoal better than graphite.  Who knew?  :)  Lastly, I learned that perhaps Bristol Vellum is not the best ground for graphite, but I still think it came out okay.

"Husky" Study
Graphite on Bristol Vellum

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pet Portrait Commission "Coco"

I am working pro-bono to raise funds for a friend's surgery.  Brian Wetzel is a long-time advocate and key-note speaker for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness).  He uses his own life experiences in his one-man show and his musical to educate people about depression.  This is the first commission piece so far toward my goal.

8" x 10" 
Prismacolor Pencils on Bristol Vellum
Private Collection

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I'm having such fun getting re-aquainted with charcoal and the Drawing Cats & Dogs class that I decided to draw my friend's new puppy, Zoe, while I waited for the next on-line lesson.  I've actually drawn out the entire body but now think I should have kept it to a head and chest view.  Here she is, I think I want to adopt her myself!  Just teasing. :)

8-week Australian Shepherd
Charcoal pencil on Bristol Vellum
Private Collection

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Designer Gouache & Charcoal

This week I'm working on something totally new.  Our Drawing Dogs & Cats class is still working in black and white, but this time incorporating black gouache.  My first piece is a black and white border collie - you might have guess from previous pieces that I'm partial to this breed :)    After doing a sketch of the BC I filled in all the dark areas with black gouache and let it dry thoroughly.   I also started a cat so that I could let that dry while I continued to work on the details of the dog.  I thought this was a really fun project.  I really like the look of the first step, it reminds me of project we did in design class in college using black sticky "tape" to create an image.

Here he is with just the gouache.  I didn't put it on the eyes because I wanted to be 
able to shade them with the white and black charcoal pencils.

Young Border Collie Study
Bristol Vellum, 100#

For the tongue I chose not to smooth the charcoal out so that I could 
get the appearance of a rougher surface.

 They eyes took many layers of both black and white charcoal.