I painted Dave a while back and can only share now as he has been gifted.  The photo reference was lovely and clear so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to get a good likeness.  Dave is a much missed pet and hopefully my portrait will be a nice memorial to him.  Hope you enjoy seeing his progression.

The finished piece 10″x12″ soft pastel.
My client also wanted Dave’s name on the piece.

My first step as always is to give myself a good line drawing which I’ve transferred from my sketching paper onto the velour.  I’m using the tan surface as it provides a good midtone colour for Dave’s colouring.

This was the photo reference I was given and we decided to make the background a more complimentary neutral colour.

I begin by blocking in the dark areas. I tend to use a slightly harder pastel for this part so I don’t fill up the paper too early.  I love Faber Castell’s black pastel sticks for this job. They give a really jet black and still leave plenty of tooth on the paper for the next layers.

Once I have some darks down I start to add texture and high lights.  There are lots of lovely blue tones on his reflective coat.

I tend to work from the top down as it always gives my hand a place to rest without smudging my work.  I’ve worked the eyes here although I still have many small adjustments to do.

Coming on down the muzzle and nose are now.  Again it’s just a case of making sure those dark areas are in there first to allow the highlihts to sing.

Adding texture to the muzzle and some highlights to the nose.

As I progress up the layers I want the top hairs to look really fine.  I use smaller pieces of pastel to make the tiny marks which represent his sleek fur.

After I finish I use a pastel pencil to add his name to the top corner.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this little piece in progress.  I hope Dave’s human takes comfort from the portrait of his much loved boy.