When I get a dog commission to do I love being able to go and meet the character and take plenty of photographs in good light.  This is the best way to really capture a pet’s emotional character and personality.  With a lot of dogs their cute face is their alert face so I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees squeaking and meowing at dogs waiting for the moment they make that face!  With Ruffles his alert face spelt unease. He looked unhappy when he thought there was something strange happening.  Instead it was this calm and chilled expression that the family knew and recognised as Ruffles.  And that just involved him chilling out and enjoying his photo shoot!  That, to me, is the only way to really capture the wee soul you love.
So here is Ruffles portrait progression…

‘Ruffles’ 12″ x19″ Pastel on velour


Sat on his favourite chair in his house seemed the perfect setting.
The client and I liked the pose of the first photo but the head on
gaze of the second photo.  It was possible in this case to work
from both photos using the light from the first photo.
It’s lovely to get a shot that has absolutely everything but I’m
always prepared to edit if I can for-see a really good outcome.


With my line drawing on a piece of light
sandy colour of velour I’m ready to start
the background


Done in mostly Unison pastel sticks and
edges neatened with Pitt pastel pencils.
I always work from the back to the foreground.


Then working from the top of the dog all
the edges of the hair will overlap the background.
You can see some of my Unison bits and pieces
I’m using.  I tend to clear away colours I’m
not using as I work and have the palette I’m
using just below the painting.


Pastel pencils come in really handy for dragging both light and
dark hairs out to really feather the edges.


Now that I’ve got the palette of colours
figured out the rest of the body is just
about patience and getting into a good
flow with fluent marks.


The star himself posing for a shot with his framed picture.