Meet Stella, the lovely german shepherd. She is a the second german shepherd pet portrait I’ve done for her Mum, along with Guinness who is in my dog portraits gallery.
I remembered the shades I had used for Guinness’ background and tried to make them matching colours, then it was a case of choosing the most dominant colour for laying down a base. I used derwent sticks for the base and as they have matching coloured pastel pencils I used those for the niggly tiny areas (very handy having a matching range, please note pastel makers!)
As ever I had to work on the eyes reasonably early on, they are by far my favourite part, adding just a couple of dots of white really brings them to life. The white makes them shine and gives them direction.
Stella is a lovely golden honey shade and it was so nice recreating those tones. I used some pink, purple and flesh colours in her fur, amazing how many other shades crop up!
You may notice I’m still using masking tape, I am awaiting a new delivery of framers tape after mine mysteriously disappeared. Masking tape is ok to use so long as you very gently remove it at the end, framers tape is so much easier to pull off though. You can see the assortment of swatches I scribbled to get the correct shades and tones on a spare piece of pastelmat (white)
I loved Stella’s reference as it was taken with the sun slightly behind her leaving a lovely glow around her ears, I really couldn’t wait to get to grips with that bit!
Here you can see I use my tablet for referring to the reference image, they are brilliant for this purpose as you can zoom in and out on whatever section you need to see.
This should give you an idea of layering, always add the strokes in the direction of fur, as you add more layers on the top it will look more fur like.
I took Stella with me to demonstrate at a local retail store, she proved very popular and I had countless people stop to show me photos of their german shpeherds! Just to join in I showed them photos of my own! Haha, that got em!
Finally I started work on Stella’s ears, my what big ears you have Stella!
In all I would say Stella’s german shepherd pet portrait took 20 – 22 hours to complete. Here you can see the advantage of using tape around the edge of the support, it gives a lovely clean handling area so you don’t smudge the pastel.
Feel free to visit my gallery where you will find lots of completed dog portraits but if you like to see how they are made, visit my dog art blog posts where I show step by step updates from the beginning to end of each piece and don’t forget I offer worldwide pet portraits commissions.