So this is my third charcoal piece in a row! This time I created a poodle dog portrait with my Derwent charcoal pencils. I am quickly becoming a huge fan of charcoal and have bought some of the XL charcoal sticks they also make so I feel some more charcoal art appearing!
About Luna the rottweiler.
This Luna, a beautiful rottweiler. She was rehomed at 10 months and now is living the high life. She is another example of a dog who doesn’t live up to the breed reputation. Luna here is a bit of a softy, loves playing with toys and going for walks but most of all, she just loves a cuddle.
I had the pleasure of meeting her owner Amelia, at the Three Counties Show and her portrait was ordered by her grandparents as a birthday gift. What a lucky grand-daughter she is!
The creation of Luna’s portrait.
This is my second rottweiler portrait and also my second charcoal pet portrait in a row, which is unusual as it’s only my third ever! I’ve already realised I like using white Pastelmat for these charcoal portraits (although I’ve not tried any other colours yet) but it seems to lend itself to creating the soft but quite pale backgrounds.
I sketched out Luna’s outline using a graphite pencil very lightly so I didn’t score the surface of the paper and then I started the background. I used light and white Derwent charcoal pencils and gave it a good old rub to blend it properly. As I mentioned in my previous charcoal portrait, the charcoal does take a bit more blending than pastel, it’s almost like a workout!
Once I was satisfied the blending was smooth enough I started work on Luna herself. As always I went straight to the eyes, they are fab to create with charcoal as it’s all about shading and that highlight to bring it alive. Then I really felt Luna could do with a pair of ears as she was missing out on all the conversation! I then just added the blackest of areas to give myself a guide.
Sadly not the best photo in my next update, the light was fading and I didn’t use a flash so it all looks a bit grey! Having said that you can see what’s going on (hopefully). I really got stuck into working on the fur of Luna’s face and made pretty good progress. I think I am becoming a charcoal convert now though as they are so much quicker to produce than pastels, I really can see it appearing before my own eyes, which is unusual as it takes me weeks to finish a piece normally!
A bit better update shot now and you can see how things are falling into place. I block in the main areas of shades the add the highlights on top. Very easy to do, I am thinking of buying some Derwent charcoal sticks to speed things up even more as they are so nice to use. I will admit they feel a little scratchy when you first put them down but they soon fill up the nap of the paper and become smoother to use. As regular followers of my blog know, I do tend to dot about and it seems to be the same for charcoal. poor Luna doesn’t have a mouth at present, let’s hope she isn’t too hungry!
As you can see I tend to block in areas all over the shop! I think it keeps things fresh for me rather than working it step by step and methodically, I am rather slapdash! I used the charcoal pencils in much the same way as pastels working from dark to light.
So you can see how things take shape, again just blocking in areas, then adding the detailing on top.
As you can see, some of my pics are taken under different lighting conditions, it also depends on how late I work before I feel the need for a nap! I always scan the portrait once completed to the client can see how the piece looks long before they physically receive it. It’s surprising the difference there is even in a charcoal piece due to lighting. Luckily I work under daylight bulbs so my artwork always looks correct to me as I’m working away.
And finally Luna is completed! I sent the updates to my client as Luna began to take shape and she was so pleased with how it turned out. So was I!
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As with all dog paintings, there is a little story to go with them! Continue reading Charcoal portraits and drawings from your own photos