Sharing with you the progress of a dog portrait.  This is Tillie Townsend who, as her full title may suggest, is utterly spoiled and loved.  (As she should be!)

Finished portrait.  Pastel on velour approx 11″x15″


I’m using the yellow shade of velour as I want a
nice warmth to be the undertone.  A lot of white can
be very stark so the yellow will provide a nice mid tone
for creating all the white shades in Tillie.
This is my first sketch which I did on normal drawing
paper and have transferred onto the velour.  I then use
a dark pastel pencil to sketch her in a little more detail.


This is my sketch advanced a bit further.  By now
I’ve got the proportions pretty right so can move
onto the pastels.


Working as always from the background forward.


I’m using everything but white in this portrait.
The white items including Tillie herself are reflecting
all the colours around them.  If you want to paint more
realistically you need to train your eye to spot these
other subtle shades and balance them off one another.
I’ve got shades of light violet, blue, orange and yellow.
Unison do a lovely series of Lights and they are so useful
for highlights.


That’s most of the textures around Tillie.  I like to
get backgrounds done before the subject as the edges
of Tillie will be overlapping these areas.  Everyone
works differently however.  I just like doing it
in pieces like this.  It also means I’ve always got
somewhere to lean my hand while I work.


Starting to build up the warm orange and brown tones
for Tillie’s face.  I lay down the darker shades first
following the grain and flow of the fur.
The lighter highlights start to give form to her face.
I also use some pastel pencils for very small detail
around the eyes and nose.  But mostly this is all done
with sharp edges on the Unison sticks.


You can see how I’m layering down the first shade
colour and then using my light yellow and grey shades
highlighting the fur.


Saving the warm highlight colours of yellow for the
right hand side which is in direct light.  I’ll use cooler
light blues and violence for the left side of the dog.



Final whiskers and a pastel pencil is handy for this.

Hope you enjoyed the progress of Tillie.  Check out my other paintings in progress on here or have a look in my video section for some speed painting.

If you’re interested in having a portrait painted check out my website for more info.