I’m trying out a rooster for the first time.  This is one of my entries into the Pastel Society of Ireland’s annual exhibition this year and I’ve just managed to get him finished on time!  I photographed this guy in Gosford forest park earlier this year when I was there looking for red deer.  I loved his pose and attitude and thought I would try a more abstract background focusing on nice colours.  Hope you enjoy his progress.


‘The Bluegrass Cockerel’ pastel on velour 19″x15″
I thought I would share my drawing stage with you this time as I get asked a lot about how I get my drawing onto the velour.  If you’ve used velour you’ll know that it’s not easily sketched directly onto as you can’t rub out.  So I use quite thin cartridge paper and a pencil to sketch my outline first.
I then cover the back of my drawing with a layer of soft pastel (usually black) and smudge it in with my fingers so that it doesn’t leave too much excess when I transfer.  I then tape this down on my velour board and trace over my sketched lines.  This leaves me a faint outline, enough for me to take a pastel pencil and develop the sketch a bit further before starting on the colour.
My line drawing transferred onto the velour.  You can see a bit of excess came off the page but not much.  I’ve then tweaked my drawing further with pastel pencil and I’m ready to paint now.

I wasn’t sure how to go about the background so it has been a bit of an experiment.  I used a lighter shade as the base colour and three lovely Unison shades of blue greens for the vertical marks.



Having never painted a rooster before the face took me ages!  So many different shades of red and non of them quite right!  This has been a learning curve!


I’ve really had to consider how to go about each section of the bird’s feathers as they are so intricate.  I’ve made use of a lot of my smaller shards of pastel for the small detail but also used a blending stump (one of the paper ones) to neaten up and drag areas of pastel.



Those tail feathers with lots of green and purple in the dark areas.


The piece finished and framed ready for the Pastel Society selection tomorrow.  Fingers crossed it’s selected for the exhibition!
 Thanks for visiting my blog.  Check out my other work in progress on here as well as my Prints tab at the top where limited edition prints of all my work are available.