Aug 18, 2016

Yikes! How to draw All Blacks! Painting and Drawing Tips


Or When is Black not Black.
ME, FETCH?  - Graphite
Max really likes to play Catch Me rather than Fetch. 
As my regular readers know, I now have a new assistant, Max.  He is lovely miniature poodle, only 5 months old.  Max has really unusual markings for a poodle, he is black with red paws and red going up his legs, across his chest and some on his nose.  He also has a few little white gray hairs on his chest and chin.  His hair is kinky but not the tight curls of most poodles.  Because of his markings he is called a Phantom Poodle.

Well you might say, interesting but what about the Black thing?

My first job after getting Max was of course to draw him.  That's where the fun began.  Sleek black dogs are easy to draw, well relatively speaking.  But curly black hair makes it much more of a challenge.  (Really just being polite here for Max's sake, it was really hard work and time consuming)

The first job is to get a good reference picture.  Not an easy task.

Photographing black dogs requires planning.  The lighting is crucial. Strong sunlight does not give the lights and shadow patterns that are needed to sculpture the dog in a drawing or painting. Early morning sunlight does gave some good lights and darks as well as colours.  However, a day that is slightly overcast works best, giving lights, darks and shadows that you can see into.  Very important to see into those shadows as Max's eyes disappear in the shadows of his brow.

Using a camera that had different settings also makes a big difference.  I found that using the auto setting gave me large black areas with little information.  Adjusting the aperture made quite a difference to my results.

Once you have your reference material there is still work to do.

I wanted to draw Max with pencil, to capture his likeness required lots of layering.  I first gave his whole body a light shading of graphite so that even my 'whites' would have tone.  Then working in small sections I layered the darks.  I found by layering I was able to get blends in the curls rather than just having sharp edges between them. You can get a good look at Max under construction on my earlier post here.
Max's first Business Card with his first official baby picture. 

The results were worth the work.  Doesn't he look great!  Max is really exciting because now that he has his own drawing, he can have his own place on my business cards.  He is really officially my assistant now.  (No, Rusty, my old guy is not forgotten. He has his own business card as well and it will definitely stay in my marketing package.)

If you are thinking of a Pet Portrait for Christmas, it is not to early to start planning.  I would be happy to work with you to capture your best friend in a Portrait.

Summer is nearly over but still time to get out to draw and paint. You will find lots of information on planning a Plein Air Travel Trip with significant others in my 3 Part Series starting here.

Also get some summer fun with my Drawing Tips for Summer Fun Series. It is a four part series starting here.  Great ideas for quick sketches in your journal, plein air pieces or just some new medium combinations to spruce up your work anywhere. 

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.

Special Note: 

Looking for a fun Plein Air Painting Festival centered on an historic site? Right here in the Fraser Valley. August 26, 27, & 28. Prizes for everyone at all levels.  $15 - to register and get more information.  See you there. Deadline Aug 15 but give them a call, late entries may be taken if there is room.
For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

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Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

Max is so cute and the cards look great!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks. Max was very pleased to have his own card. But I must admit, black, curly dogs are lots of work to draw!! You can really get lost in those curls.