Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Son's Dog, Rocco - Chocolate Lab

Travis (my youngest) has been wanting me to create a drawing or painting of his 9 year old Chocolate Lab for some time now.  At least over a year.  I've tried taking photos that I might like to attempt but kept putting it off.  This little inner voice kept saying I couldn't do Rocco justice so I just kept procrastinating.

Lately Travis has been bringing it up so I started searching for videos that show how to draw fur in graphite, as well as painting in watercolor.  Can't tell you how many videos I viewed.  Even signed up for a craftsy course on drawing animals in color pencil.  Unfortunately that little voice continued making me feel like I just couldn't do it right.

Finally this morning I thought...........I'll never know for sure if I can or can't do the job to Travis's liking unless I tried.

This started out as a simple pre-sketch playing with what I had picked up from the videos I'd been watching.  I chose to try graphite rather than watercolor as not as much to worry about with graphite.  I chose to practice on copier paper using Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils 3H, 2B, and 6B.  I also used a putty eraser for lifting highlights and lighter areas of the fur trying to match Rocco's lights and darks.  As I worked, I also ended up grabbing a white gel pen, which I'll explain its use later.

Initial line work:

Began with the left ear (as you view it) with a layer of short choppy lines with the 3H.  As I worked sections, I went back over using the same type of pencil marks using the 2B.  The 6B was used to go over yet a third time in the darkest of shaded areas.  Then the putty eraser was used to lift areas.

Notice the hard edges and line marks still showing even after the graphite layers were added.  That bugged me and I tried to figure out a way to "hide" them.  That's when I thought of the white gel pen.  I went over the outline of the dog, as I worked, with the white.......dabbing with my finger while the ink was wet to soften it.  I did the same thing within the face and then went back over with the 3H and 2B to blend those areas into the surrounding areas.

As I worked, I evaluated the placements of my darks and lights and made adjustments as needed.

Here's where I decided to call it quits.  I could have gone on and on tweaking but when I realize I'm starting to do that, I make myself stop.  In a few days when my mind and eyes are fresh, I'll probably take another close look and maybe make some final finishing touches.  Maybe darker here or there; maybe lifting more.  We'll see.

My son absolutely loves it!!!


Giddings Art said...

I can see why your son loves your drawing of his dog!! It is wonderful!
Another eraser that works even better than a kneaded or putty eraser for lifting highlights, especially in hair is a Tombow Mono eraser. It is very tiny and can be cut with a razor at a diagonal to do hair. Your white pen seems to have worked very well though!

SusanA said...

Wow, Susan, what a nice portrait! I have two Shelties, and my inner gremlins have kept me from attempting to draw them for all the reasons you mentioned. I'm impressed by what you accomplished with just a few pencils and a white gel pen.

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