When planning this portrait the first thing to think about was the colour of the paper to use. As Pippa is a white dog a darker shade of pastel paper is required so the image stands out against the background.
I loved painting this portrait, George looks very regal in this proud pose. George has a real variety to the texture and lengths in his fur which made this portrait interesting but also challenging to paint. Matching is colour tones was also difficult and it took time to build up the layers to get the colours just right.
One of the hardest aspects when creating portraits of animals is getting the texture of fur right. I have spoken to a number of animal and wildlife artists who use a variety of techniques to get the fur on to paper. Obviously the techniques when creating a more abstract painting are different and there is more scope for using artistic license when depicting fur in this type of portrait. Here I am focusing on creating photo-realistic fur in a portrait.
The main points that need to be remembered when painting fur are the following -
The growth direction of the fur - Make sure you follow the direction of the fur growth when painting the fur. This is important whatever medium you are using but particularly important when using pencil.
The light and shadows caused by the fur - Longer fur creates more shadow underneath it. You can use light and shadow to create the shape and form of the bone structure of the animal underneath the fur.
The length of the fur - Hatching is a goof technique to use when drawing fur in pencil. Using longer curved hatching lines if you are trying to create longer fur. Longer fur tends to be more difficult due to the fact that the individual strands of fur curl and overlap each other.
As with all art you need to develop a controlled and light touch. Fur needs to be built up slowly using strokes of varying length if it is to look realistic.
If you have any tips for creating fur in art then let me know!
Here is my latest Pet Portrait of ‘Dave’ the border collie. Border collies have a huge amount of energy so capturing them stilling still is quite unusual. Dave is a tri-colour dog full of character.
This has been one of my tougher commissions due to the fact that it was based on a physical photo rather than an digital photo. The key to a good portrait is in the detail and a digital photo allows you to explore the detail. My goal is always to paint a good likeness of the pet I am painting so that I can demonstrate the character of the animal through art. The quality of modern photos is so high that the details can be see practically as well as if the animal was in the room with you. When commissioning a piece of artwork that relies on realism then the quality of the subject matter is crucial and a digital photo is always best.
Following the update of my website www.pilothousegallery.co.uk I have launched this new blog. I will use this blog to share with you the inspirations for my artwork along with tips and tricks of the trade. People often ask me what it is like to be a full time artist and how it is possible to turn your hobby into your full time occupation. I hope to be able to provide an insight into my everyday life as an artist and inspire others to find the artist within! Everyone can get something out of art whether it be a sketch or two while on holiday or the creation of a future masterpiece. With this blog I aim to give a few pointers to the techniques and materials I use and the results I achieve with these. I hope you enjoy reading it a much as a enjoy writing it!