I went to photograph Purdy and Betsy in their home and like many of my portraits, their chosen spot seemed to be up on the sofa.  They had such a lovely relationship that their human’s wanted them together in the portrait.  I took some individual shots of them to create this piece.  Hope you enjoy their progress.

The finished portrait 17″x13″ pastel
My photo reference of Betsy (with Purdy perched nearby!)


Purdy posing beautifully

This is my line drawing of the composition which I sketched out on normal cartridge paper.  I then transferred it onto the warm orange yellow velour.

Working in the background.  I like the fact that Purdy was sitting up tall as it means her darker face is against the light part of the background.  Betsy’s light tones will stand out well against the sofa colours, as will Purdy’s chest.

Blocking in the darks on Purdy.  I tend to always work from the top left down to the bottom right of a picture.  I will work some large areas all at once, but for dogs I like to focus on a face on it’s own.


Using the lovely Unison soft pastels.  I love this teal green colour, perfect for Purdy’s collar.  Even the big sticks are very easy to get small detail with as they all have edges and wear down into different shapes.

Working down the light parts of Purdy.  I use a range of light shades which are great for white fur.  There is very little white pastel used in this piece, just the very brightest areas of highlights.  If you want to see what light shades I use check out my Unison Animal portrait set at here which shows you the light shades in the top row.

You can see some of these light shades on the table in front of me here.  They look quite grubby though as my hands are always covered in pigment when I work!

Onto Betsy now…


She has such a laid back expression, she was so relaxed in her photoshoot!  Keeping the darker light shades and some dusky blue and pinky skintone shades for her shadow side.  The right side is where both dogs are lit from so this is where I use all the Grey27 Unison and a bit of white.

Hope you enjoyed their progress.  Check back soon for more 🙂