Aiden – Gray Wolf

I really love dogs and likewise I love wolves.  I think they’re just beautiful and am fascinated by how they both resemble dogs and differ from them.  In addition to my pet portraits and purebred shelter dog series I have drawn some endangered animals.  I had really wanted to do a wolf drawing for quite a while, but the online references that are free to use were pathetic.  Finally in 2015 I made it up to the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, a place I had wanted to go for years.  We went on a weekend where they had a special early (it really was early) photography session before the center opened up for the day.  I got some amazing photos during that session.  The wolves were active, playful, and most importantly in the part of the exhibit that is visible to guests.  My original reference photo for this drawing is below.

I zoomed in and cropped it to make it easier to work with.  This is one of my most favorite drawings I’ve ever done.  I wanted to go for a different style where the paper was not completely covered with a solid, thick layer of colored pencil.  I was trying to capture the hairy look of the fur, similar to an old drawing I did of of this husky dog.

I think it worked out really well.  The colors I love.  Purples and blues are my favorite, but what I tried to do was go by how my photo printed out.  This is my secret trick for almost all of my color choices.  I have a sort of crappy printer that I use to print the reference photos.  I make two copies, one to draw a grid on and one left clean.  Even at its highest quality, the images are not great nor are the colors accurate, but within the colors you can see all sorts of other colors, like blues, purples, etc.  So most of my drawings I just more or less mimic the inaccuracies of the printer colors with some enhancements.

The only part that I am not thrilled about is the rock portion at the bottom of the page.  I tried to mimic the photo, but it was too detailed to copy easily and as soon as I start trying to simplify what I’m seeing in the photo it usually doesn’t come out as well. I also really struggled with the peach spots on the leg and belly area, but I’m not sure my struggle is really that apparent just looking at the image here.  My plan is to enter this drawing into the Minnesota State Fair, which is a huge event.  I made it in last year.  I don’t necessarily expect to make it in again, but I believe there is a chance that I could.  Fingers crossed.

This next image resulted from me having some fun in Photoshop.  Obviously the original is top left, then I have the black and white image in the bottom left, bottom right is the inverted image of the original, and the top right is the black and white version of the inverted image.  The two inverted images are a little strange, but I like strange things.

Needless to say, I don’t feel these beautiful creatures should be hunted.  I have plans to donate portions of any prints sold to Howling for Wolves which is an organization that works to protect wolves in Minnesota.  They focus on presenting scientific findings about wolves and push non-lethal wolf management.  They are highly against trophy hunting of wolves, as am I.

 

Buster the Labrador

Another short blog in an effort to get my website all caught up.  This is Buster the Labrador.  I drew him last spring and summer.  It was very spread out over the course of several months because I was a full-time student and working 30 hours a week at that point too.  I decided to do this drawing instead of a Poodle I had sketched because I thought it would be faster and easier.  While I’m sure it was definitely faster (curly Poodle hair is difficult!) I really struggled with the coloration of his face.  I never could pinpoint why.  Maybe because my original photo was a bit blurred? In any case, I am okay with how it came out, but it is definitely my least favorite in my series of purebred dogs so far.

I may or may not have explained in my previous posts that I am attempting to create a series of drawings of purebred dogs for several reasons.  First, I am (so far) using only photos of dogs I walk while volunteering at the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota.  I want to bring attention to the fact that there are purebred dogs in the shelter all of the time.  Secondly is because I want to raise money to be able to donate to rescues and based on the commissions I have received, I believe that prints of purebreds will sell better than prints of mixed-breed dogs.  Although I have only ever owned mixed-breed dogs myself, there are purebreds that I love and I can identify with wanting prints of purebreds, so I’m compensating my promotion of purebreds by attempting to raise awareness and giving back to rescues essentially.

With all that said, here is my progression of Buster.

I used layers of peaches and oranges, light yellows, and even lavender.  I believe there is a bit of brown in there too. I wanted to keep the background colors in the same color scheme, but I wish I would have switched something up a bit.  Like I said, this is my least favorite of the series.  Maybe I’ll have to do a Chocolate or Black Lab in the future. 🙂

While I was writing the above, I decided it would be cool to create a collage of the series so far for anyone who is looking at this post only and not my others.  Right now I’ve got a Basset Hound, Chihuahua, and Labrador.  Although I haven’t done any art whatsoever since last October because of school, I will be down to a half-time student from full-time in 3 weeks and I fully plan so start doing art immediately.  

 

 

Johnny the Chihuahua

Hi everyone! I’m back! I have not completely forgotten about my art, but I’ve been in school earning an accounting degree and it has been very time consuming.  First, I want to say that my previously posted drawing, Daisy the Basset, made it into the Minnesota State Fair last year (2016!) It was my first year making it in and it was super exciting.  I have another entry set to go for this year.  It’s a wolf drawing.  I will post about him later.  Hopefully I will find time to write some posts in these upcoming weeks, but I will be down to one remaining class in July so at that point I will for sure have time to update this site.Anyway, this the drawing I worked on after Daisy the Basset.  He is Johnny the Chihuahua.  This is from February-ish of 2016, so over a year ago.  I am really happy with how he turned out.  I wanted to use bright colors in the background and I think it fits really well with his coloring and also with gives it a fiesta kind of feel.  I still remember him at the shelter.  He was very shy, but was with a friend.  I’m sure they are happy in the home they found.

As with Daisy, Johnny is an 8 x 10 drawing.  They’re part of a series showcasing purebred dogs at the shelter.  I’ve collected a lot of photos of purebred dogs, just need to get time to draw them! AND start taking commissions again.  I’m getting excited to get back to my art.  It’s been a long time coming.  Here’s Johnny!!
Chihuahua Panorama 7

I used circular motions for the background.  I think it shows up a little bit.  Lots of layers of colors.  Looking at this again, I’m really happy with the eyes especially.  I remember working on it and being concerned that they were going to look strange because they were different from the regular pattern of highlights and whatnot that I use.  It’s really nice to be using photos I’ve taken myself so I can make sure I have the quality I need.  So much of the quality of the drawing depends on the quality of the photos.

Chihuahua 16

 

Peace everyone.  Hopefully I will be back soon!

 

Daisy the Basset Hound

This is Daisy. She’s a Basset Hound. I walked her while volunteering at my local humane society last fall. Her portrait the first in a set I’m working on as a new project. I am not taking new commissions while I’m back in school due to lack of time, so I’ve decided what I want to do over the next few years is build up a set of drawings that I can sell prints of.  Although I personally don’t support dog breeding, from a business perspective, doing portraits of purebreds will generate more income than mixed breed prints. Part of my project is to gather photos of purebred dogs at my local shelter to start with. If I run out of breeds (only certain breeds make their way there, for example, in the last 4 years I’ve only ever seen one Great Dane. I’ve never seen a Doberman, etc.) I might reach out to breed specific rescues. I started this whole project back in the winter, so since then I’ve also decided that I want to do some wildlife drawings as well.  My most successful drawing as far as selling prints goes is actually a wolf drawing that I did in a completely different style.

Back to this drawing. This is Daisy. I really like how she came out. I wanted to do a pattern in the background. It looked good until I started coloring it in, then it looked really awful. I erased it as best as I could and covered it up with other dark layers.

This particular drawing has been uploaded to my page on Fine Art America’s website so people can order prints on demand. I’m going to donate a portion of any proceeds to Basset Buddies rescue if I ever sell any. Each portrait I do will have a different rescue designation. I’m going to do my best to coordinate them with the breed in the portrait. I also want to do this same thing with my future wildlife drawings, but one thing at a time. For now, here’s Daisy!

Daisy 1 Daisy 2 Daisy 3 Daisy 4 Daisy 5Daisy 6

Bailey

Bailey 3Last year was the year of doing art for friends I guess because this is another drawing that I did for a friend. I really struggle with the white dogs, but I think this is one of my better ones. I used some purples, blues, and peaches in his fur and I wanted to use similar colors in the background, so that’s how I picked the blue/pink colors. Normally I wouldn’t have used such pastel colors for a little boy, but since he has a unique look somehow I felt like I would be okay with using those colors. It turns out that the friend I did the drawing for said that those two colors were just picked about a day later to be the colors of the year by some organization/event that normally only picks one color. I thought it was pretty cool. 🙂

I want to say that his ears did have some darker areas on them, they weren’t just purely white ears.  I may have exaggerated the color variations a bit just to add some interest to the drawing. The orange on his face is the stain all the white, hairy dogs tend to get from their food. I would have left it out, but it added some color and frankly, if they always have those stains anyway, I feel like they should be included. I was told while working on this drawing they actually had to put him down. It was unexpected. Rest in peace, little Bailey!

Lincoln

Heyo! I have NOT meant to neglect my blog this long, but have been busy with school and the holidays.  I do have a bunch of art things to post about.  I’ll try to get them all out there ASAP.  I did this drawing for a friend last winter to give as a gift.  Please scroll down through the images to see the progression of layers. My scanner has some trouble with the colors, so you can see slight variations in the different images depending on how much effort I put into Photoshopping the colors to be more accurate. This is one of my favorite smaller drawings for sure. I just really like the colors and the expression on his face. 🙂

 

Lincoln 1 Lincoln 2 Lincoln 3 Lincoln 4 Lincoln 5-3

Dean! Work In Progress

This is 11 x 14 inches. I had already completed Sam’s portrait (see previous posts) minus the background when I started this and I wanted it to be in the same style, so I went about it using the same colors and colored the facial features in basically the same order.  I always start with the eyes because if you screw that part up, might as well just start over. Then I did the hair because it was pretty easy since I always draw animals with fur. I did have some issues because the photo I was using as a reference was really dark in areas that weren’t his face, so I ended up having to find a different version, which was way better, but I found it a bit too late to be of much help. Oh well.

Dean 1

After the hair I did the ear and then started on the forehead and nose. This was basically me using lots and lots of layers of orange, peach, beige, light yellow, pink, purple, brown. By using different amounts of pressure, you can really control how the colors blend together. Typically want to start with a lighter color and layer the darker colors on top.

Dean 2

In this next one you can really see the purple and pink. I ended up changing his spiky hair in the front and when I changed it, it caused a bit of a problem. I had to cover it up with black and then it looked bad so I decided to make the background green at this point. Most people who know of Jensen know he has green eyes and I made Sam’s jacket a little greenish even though I don’t think it is really green in real life, so I thought the green would tie the two drawings together, and it really did! I am so happy with how both of the backgrounds came out.

Dean 3

So this next image is the orange image. I was thinking it was a little too orange and made a comment to my boyfriend who proceeded to tell me that Dean looked like he had gone tanning, so after that I had to change it. I also didn’t like how the orange was clashing with his very un-orange lips. It didn’t look like it was just the lighting since they didn’t go together at all.

Dean 4

This one is the stubble face version. I erased the orange lightly, trying just to remove the top portion. Then I went over it with some other colors. I really wanted to add in the stubble, and I realized afterward that I had done it all wrong and laid awake for about 2 hours that night being horrified about what I had done and how I was going to fix it. It ended up being relatively easy. As I colored with other colors, the pencil was already on so thick, that it basically just shaved off the very topmost layer, which included the speckling. Only a little bit of it by his sideburns survived, which I’m fine with.

As you can see, I also started on the jacket. I used brown and blue and green in the jacket. In real life, I think it’s a leather jacket. I don’t think that really came across, but it has an interesting texture so I’m okay with it.

I don’t want to post the final version yet because I don’t want someone to steal it! But you can see a very small version of it in my other post, here!

Dean 5

Sam and Dean

I was having a hard time deciding what to post here. I normally don’t worry too much about my art being stolen, but since these dudes are so popular within their fan base and since I don’t think my drawings are awful, the conclusion I came to was to post small files for now and at a later date, I will post larger images. These two are smaller portions of the whole. While writing this, I realized I never did a Dean post. I will do that and share larger images of the WIP photos.

Anyway, I intend to have this larger drawing signed by Jared and Jensen at a convention. They go around to different cities and will be in my town in August! Yay! I met them previously and got some photos, but the photos go so quickly! I barely had time to say, “Hi” and “Thank you” and that was it. I figure, this way I can get a moment to talk to them, and I’ll have something to talk to them about. 🙂 After the autographs, then I’ll post larger versions. I just really want them to see these drawings for the first time when I show them and not from crazy fans stealing them.

Sam and Dean Panorama 38 x 10 collage

Madison and Bandit

So, I was asked to draw these two dogs by a co-worker of a friend. Both of these are 5 x 7 inches in colored pencil. Madison took about 12.5 hours and Bandit took about 7.5 hours. As you can see below, Bandit is white! If you’ve read previous blogs, you will know that white dogs are kind of like a dreaded nemesis for me. They’re just really difficult to draw, but do go a little faster because there are fewer layers of color involved.

Madison wasn’t too difficult to draw. The only thing that made it a little tricky was that I was using a second photo to reference the colors because the lighting was better and she was younger in that photo.

Madison 3

Bandit 3

Since these two drawings were for the same person, I wanted them to look like they “go together.” The photos I was working from definitely didn’t look like they match, so I decided to make sure the backgrounds coordinated really well. The colors I used on Madison’s background were fairly similar to the photo. The colors were orange-ish and the floor was white.  I decided to make it a cream color and make the colors behind her a little more vibrant. I actually started the background on Bandit first, but I knew the plan I had mapped out for Madison already at that point.

I actually used two photos to do Bandit’s drawing too. The pose image didn’t have any detail, so I used a second photo to figure out where to add in some shading. I also had to fix the red-eye. Below I will post his drawing at a few different stages. I really struggled with how to finish off the white fur. Even though I don’t think it looks as good as the non-white dogs I’ve drawn, I definitely improved it from it’s original state.

Bandit Drawing Photo Comparison

Bandit 1

Bandit 2

And to finish it off, here are the two drawings side-by-side.

Madison and Bandit

My blog will be winding down for a while when I start school up again and won’t be taking commissions, but I really don’t want to lose my art all together. I’ve drawn nearly 300 hours this year. Last year I was at a little over 200 hours and the year before that I think was only about 150 hours. You can visit my personal website here to see more!

Teaser Post!

I’m too lazy to write a big long post right now. I don’t want to share a large image because I don’t have one watermarked yet, but I have made lots of progress on my Sam and Dean drawings. 🙂

 

Sam and Dean Panorama

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