The story continues… (It’s been almost three years now, since I started this new drawing hobby of mine. And looking back at those three years, it is interesting for me to see what has changed… or what has not. Materials, techniques, subjects, styles, I’ve tried a few along the way. I do not practise a lot – I haven’t got the patience – I just draw. So it might be nice to look at several drawings side by side, see if there’s any progress… and which style I like most?) And this is part 2.
The first dog portrait I drew was from a beautiful close-up photo of a friend’s dog. Which had already crossed the rainbow bridge, so I was a bit nervous… I certainly did not mean to offend anyone! This was my first time drawing an animal eye in detail. And immediately, I had a passion for drawing eyes. The dog’s owner was very happy with it, what a relief!
Two weeks later, I tried a famous puppy reference from pixabay. This one made me realise how hard it is to draw expressive eyes when you draw a ‘full-body-portrait’ on just A4-sized paper… Everything is so small!
A few months later, I decided to go for another dog portrait, on Strathmore Bristol smooth this time, of that same owner’s new dog. The photo is a bit funny, with the dog lying flat on a rug, front paws invisibly folded underneath, looking up with those ‘I am innocent, I swear!’ eyes. The homemade dog collar was an extra challenge, but I love the way her soft fur is sticking out in all directions around it. And again, a happy owner!
Then, in november 2018, I bought myself a larger pad of Strathmore Bristol smooth (11″x14″). Another reference from pixabay, and now I had more room for details. I loved drawing this eye and nose! To make the light dog stand out more, I decided – very boldly 😉 – to colour the background a little blue.
A black dog on black paper… Can it be done? Sure, and I think this is one of my drawings I like the most! Just a few pencils, so much expression… (a little pat on the back for myself here 😄)
The last dog in 2019 (gosh, I suddenly realise I haven’t drawn any dogs since then?!) was a Bernese Mountain Dog from pixabay. Somehow it gets a lot of views on this blog… 😁 Again, a different kind of fur, and those eyes…. But getting black to be really black is difficult. Very difficult. I used many colours trying to darken it, but when the Bristol smooth wasn’t taking any more layers, I had to give up.
The cat faces
Cats are irresistible. I have seen so many beautiful reference photos…. the eyes are so intriguing! As soon as I switched from cheap paper to Strathmore Bristol smooth, I had to try how cat eyes would work out…
And on a tiny piece of A5 black paper, would that work?
And some ref’s even work on cheap paper – I think…
When I tried this cat in the dark with a glowing ray of sunlight, after two years of drawing, I used a new technique: I drew some tiny hairs by indenting the paper with an embossing tool. I’ll have to practise some more with that, to make it really look good. But it was an interesting experiment.
The BIG cat faces
And then… the BIG cat faces! Big cats are awesome! One of my very first drawings was a sleepy tiger with one eye closed. The ref was a tiny photo from a magazine, and my drawing style was very simplistic. But at the time, I could already feel this awe for the beautiful beast I was drawing, in these simple pencil strokes… A year later, I did another one with better pencils. And by the way – did I mention it is really hard to take a picture of a drawing on black paper? 🙄
Another year later, I had just bought myself pastel pencils and Pastelmat paper, I did my master piece. Hahaha, no really, I still think this is my best work ever! Every time I look at a photograph of it, I have to check myself if it’s the drawing or the ref! Did a work-in-progress post on it, too… 😉
A couple of months ago, I tried the indenting technique again, the embossing tool together with colour pencils. It took a lot of time, and I’m still not quite sure if the result is worthwhile. So I also tried a quick drawing in pastel pencils, to see if I can also develop a looser style, with less details. 🤔
To be continued.
PS Some of the drawings are shown “in progress” in earlier posts about drawing, with comment!