Just like your pet, every portrait I do is one-of-a-kind. After you place your order, I keep you posted on my progress by sending you photos of each step along the way. This gives you peace of mind that you will be completely satisfied with the final portrait, and it’s rather fun to see how the portrait comes alive during the process.
Here are the 4 Basic Steps I use in creating my portraits:
STEP 1: The rough sketch. Every drawing begins with a rough sketch. It’s important to get the shape and proportions just right. I keep the sketch light so my marks don’t show through later on.
STEP 2: Tonal layers. I always begin with the eyes, they are the key to any successful portrait. I begin adding tonal layers in color, gradually. Darker areas of the portrait will eventually get many layers, while lighter areas will receive less layering.
STEP 3: Creating depth and texture. I continue working on tonal values by building up many layers of color. This process helps create a sense of texture to the fur, since animal coats typically have several different layers of hair, of different length and colors. These layers also help to further define the shape of the head.
STEP 4: Details and Final Touches. At the final stage I’m working to define details, such as the long hairs in the ears and the whiskers. I’m also adding final layers of color and making shadows darker where necessary. I’m moving all over the portrait now, gauging what areas need more work and which areas are just right. I don’t need to draw every single hair or whisker. I know I’m done when I can sit back and say, “Yep, that looks just like him/her!”
I usually draw on white, archival-quality, heavyweight, acid-free paper. But sometimes I prefer toned paper, particularly for animals with a lot of white fur. My favorite pencils include Derwent, Faber-Castell, Caran d’Ache and Prismacolor. After signing a completed portrait I apply a fixative to better preserve the artwork and prevent smudging.