Here is the process for the painting I did of our friend’s adorable chihuahua, Lucky. The reference photo is him sitting on the arm of their couch.
Once I have the correct outline using soft vine charcoal (you can just barely see the sheen in the above photo), I started adding white. At this point, I am placing the head, legs and tail in the correct places.
To paint large areas like this I lightly fill in the area with the side of the pastel stick and then blend with my fingers. For spots of pure white I may have to go over the area a few times, especially because I am using black paper. I’ve tried other methods of blending (brushes, tortillons, etc) but nothing seems to work as well as my hands. :)
After I added all the white patches, I filled in the rest of the body and head with a reddish-brown pastel, careful to note the lighter and darker areas.
As the face is the most important component of any dog portrait, I started adding detail there first. The original nose placement made the face too long, so I moved it up some and while I had the right eye in the correct place, I needed to move the the left eye down slightly.
The progress so far...
I’ve got a good bit of detail done in the face, but after looking at my reference photo I can see that I need to extend his body in the back a little bit. I also want to work on making his tucked front leg a little more convincing before I start adding the final details.
I added more detail to his face and some texture to the fur on his body with pastel pancils as they allow for more prcise control. I also extended his back end a little bit.
I normally don’t use backgrounds in my work, but Lucky is going to look pretty silly curled up on an angled blank space so I’ll suggest a solid surface, in this case the couch, beneath him.
The last steps are to finalize some detail to the ears, fine strokes of fur to the body and face, and add whiskers.
I am really happy with how this portrait turned out, what a cutie!
Check out the dog portrait demo for Jeter, the yorkie.