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 drawings appearing!
I used white pastelmat for Taff’s portrait which was to be 10×10 inches. I sketched out Taff onto scrap paper first as the original reference photo showed him perched on a dog groomer’s shoulder so a bit of adjustment was needed to remove the human element!
Taff is a black miniature poodle and he had just had his fur groomed so was looking his absolute best when his photos were taken but boy did he have a lot of fur! I did worry I would struggle to portray the fuzziness of it all, especially the area on top of his head, however the charcoal seemed to make it easy! I blocked in the darkest areas first, moving up to the medium and light charcoal pencils then I used the white charcoal to add the frizzy highlights! It really was that simple! No wonder I am fast becoming a charcoal advocate! See my latest Rottweiler portrait in charcoal
To retain the bright whites of the eyes I left the white pastelmat uncovered, this really made the highlight stand out and bring the eyes to life. You can also see how I build up the charcoal layers, the darkest layer first followed by the medium and light charcoals, you can see this on the ear on the right, whereas the ear on the left has also had the white charcoal highlights added, what a difference it makes!
So the stage above shows a cushion added to support Taff instead of the groomers shoulder. I kept it very simple so Taff remained the centre of attention and added the bottom section as well.
At this point Taff’s owner suggested crossing his paws as he does this very often so I roughed in the shape, again using the dark charcoal, then I added light charcoal across the top of his forearm for highlights.
Then I used the light and white charcoals to give the impression of fur.
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.