Grizzly Bear

I have a goal for this year of completing one drawing each month.  Well, I just finished my January drawing.  My February drawing is already in progress from December so I am on track.  If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I mostly draw dogs and I definitely have some dogs on my list.  I also have plans to do an endangered species series.  The ultimate goal of both series is to raise awareness for things and also to create some images I can sell prints of in between taking commissions.

So to create this endangered species series I need photos obviously.  I have accumulated some good ones from Pixabay that are free for all use.  My first drawing of the series was from my own photo, my wolf.  This next one is a grizzly bear.  I struggled with this drawing in ways I don’t really want to explain.  Long story short, the fur was wet in the reference photo and I could not mimic that, so I just did my own thing and it didn’t work out so great in all the areas.  I had to erase and erasing colored pencils is never a good plan.  The paper got damaged and the color wouldn’t stick.  I managed to fix his body, mostly, but the ears I couldn’t fix.  I purchased some crayons to cover the damage.  They were wax based and water-soluble.  They covered the damage, but had their own issues.  So, without further ado, here is the progression and the final result.

I colored the background black at the end with my black crayon.  The background portion looks better here than in real life because it looks a little more solid.  If you look at the progression of the lower right fur, you can see I changed it three times.  The first time I mostly liked it, but the fluffy part around his face looked too stiff and in effort to fix the fluffy part, I ruined the lower portion. Despite my struggles, I am mostly  happy with the final result.  I think it will be a good piece to pave the way for my future pieces.  I am really happy with his face.  It has a lot of texture which is something I’ve been aiming to get better at recently.



Technically I am not taking commissions yet because I am settling into a new job and working on things around my house that have been neglected.  However, a previous client asked me to draw his dog for a Christmas present.  His dog was the subject of one of my first commissions and has recently passed away so I couldn’t say no.  Since I am on a mission to improve my work, I spent some extra time on the drawing, re-doing things I may not have otherwise re-done or even thought that it would be wise to attempt to re-do.  I also purchased a new product to help “fix” an area. Here is the process…

Some of the changes I made can’t be easily seen in the image above just because it is small, but some can.  I really struggled with leaving the white hairs white.  I had attempted a technique that I thought would produce the result I wanted, but it really didn’t and it looked a little sloppy.  So I re-did all the white furs that I had done at the top right stage of the image.  Then I proceeded along pretty well for a while, until the snout.  If you look at the far left column, second row you will see that it is significantly grey-er than in the final version.  I got a little carried away.  I actually purchased a product from a well-known colored pencil artist, the brand is Brush and Pencil.  It basically is white colored pencil in powdered form.  Then I used this texture touch-up to literally paint on the white powder over the grey snout area.  It wasn’t totally opaque, which was good in this situation.  I should mention that I used this slightly for the some of the speckles on the snout, but I didn’t actually like how that came out so I colored over most of the added speckles with more black.  The texture allows you to color over it again with colored pencil.  I did notice though that the way the pencil goes on top of the texture is not the same as paper, but it did the trick.

Another change I made that is really obvious is the blanket.  I was trying to make the blanket look like the photo, but since I typically don’t do that I just did a really crappy job.  And I didn’t like that the color was so close to the background color I had chosen.  It just wasn’t working for me.  I knew it wasn’t working long before I finished with the whole blanket, but I felt like I had to finish the whole thing so the undercoat for the new color would be uniform.  After I erased what I could, I also colored in the white rows with the same colors I had used on the peachy-brown part.  Then I went over the whole thing with teal as seen above, then I used several other colors like brown speckles, a pale grey-blue color, more teal, then some darker blue speckles, and finally a purple color to get the final colors that you see.  I realized after I had already sent this away that I should have created a shadow on the arm of the dog, under the chin.  Maybe it works that it isn’t there since the chin is actually on the arm whereas it is not on the blanket, but I think it still would have looked better to have one.  Oh well I guess.  Here is the final, large version!

This is an 8 x 10 in drawing.  I always keep track of how long these take me.  Usually it’s about 20 hours give or take, this one took 27.5.  So definitely a lot of extra time.  It is worth noting too that I meant for that texture to be visible in the blanket.  I was trying to make it different from the background texture.  I don’t know if it looks soft like a blanket, per se.  But it did look better in real life than in my scanned version.  Overall I do think I learned from this drawing and i am pretty happy with it honestly.  I really like the nose.  I got a little texture in there and I think it works really well.  I also think the eyes came out pretty well.  A little cloudy, but he just looks distinguished.  Overall I am pretty happy with him.  I see room for growth, but I think I did grow and the guy I drew it for was very happy so that’s what counts!

Sam and Dean

I was going to post about my latest drawing, but I realized that I maybe shouldn’t since it will be a Christmas present.  So instead, because I don’t think I ever posted the final version of this drawing, I am going to post my Sam and Dean Winchester fan drawing.  I finished this drawing in 2015 I believe.  So about two years ago.  It has since been autographed by both actors and is hanging on my wall in my office.

Have I ever mentioned that I love Supernatural? It’s fantastic.  I made another fan-art sign to use in a photo op with the boys.  I spent a good amount of time on this one too, but not nearly as much as the one above.  The above is 18 x 24 inches total.  Each portrait is 11 x 14 inches.  And I colored the white paper black with colored pencil as well.  I always time-track my projects and the whole thing took about 64 hours. The second version is a little washed out because it is only a photo to show the autographs, but the first version I scanned and then pieced together in photoshop.

The below image is also 18 x 24.  Maybe a little bigger because I think the pad is a little bigger actually. My log says I spent 11 hours and 40 minutes on it.  I actually colored the letters and everything.  I printed them out, traced the letters on the back with plain old writing pencil, then I believe I used a scissors handle to rub the imprint onto the paper without denting the paper, then I outlined all the letters with colored pencil and filled them in.  I used two plates to make the circles for the sign and the rest was hand-drawn.  When I showed this to the boys they got a good laugh, which is what I was going for.

Brittany Spaniel Complete

I completely forgot that I never posted my finished drawing.  Here he is! I think this was a little boy.  The background colors didn’t quite come out how I planned, but I am mostly happy with this drawing.  I experimented and learned a few things.  This is the first time I’ve ever tried to texture the nose like that. It isn’t totally realistic per se, but I think it is interesting in a good way.  The ears are my favorite part of this drawing.

The white body was incredibly difficult.  I have actually purchased a new product that allows for a more opaque white.  I used it on the drawing I am currently working on and although it isn’t quite what I imagined, it was very  handy.  I will try to write about this next guy asap!

Also, I’m not sure if I mentioned that I have added prints for sale on a new site.  You can check them out here! 🙂

And one final thing for anyone reading, I did this drawing based on a photo I took at the shelter I volunteer at.  This is part of my series of drawings of purebred dogs at the shelter.  The hope is that I can sell some prints, but I also want to just bring awareness to the fact that you can find dogs of just about any breed at the shelter or in rescues! #AdoptDontShop

Brittany – Choosing a Background

I was intending to work on the background tonight, but I found myself completely unable to decide on a color.  I scribbled test swatches on scratch paper, but still couldn’t decide.  Usually I make pretty swift decisions about which background colors will look good.  I’ve been leaning toward a green to tie in the small amount of green in the eyes, but I wasn’t set on it.  Finally I decided to go into Photoshop and try out some colors.  Here are some of the better trials…






I also debated whether I should go more monochromatic and use the blues/purples that are more prominent.  I think my favorite is number 2 with the more muted greens and the darker blue-grey on top.  I normally put the darker colors on the bottom, and I usually use brighter colors, but as I filled in color after color the muted greens just seemed to go the best with the rest of the drawing.  I think it is more important to use the color that will look the best rather than try to stick to an idea of absolutely needing to use bright colors to stay within my style.

Another thing I have also been debating is whether or not to use a texture.  I was originally planning to give the background a different texture, but there isn’t a lot of background in this one and I have a lot of fluffy hairs I’m going to have to draw around on the top.  Adding in a texture could be more complex than what I’m really looking to do, but we will see…

Brittany Spaniel

I am DONE with school and I’ve been working on a Brittany Spaniel!  This Brittany was at the shelter I volunteer at earlier this year and was just a total doll.  I loved this dog.  The drawing is a part of my purebred dogs at the shelter series which I’m doing in an effort to bring awareness to the issue and also to hopefully generate some print sales.

At first I was super excited about this drawing, but I really struggled with the body portion and have lost a little enthusiasm.  The body is white, but half is in shadow so I was planning to make the shadow area “grey.” However, I messed up the portion that was supposed to be lighter and had to cover it with darker pencil marks, so the whole body came out looking a bit grey.  Sigh.  One day I will learn to draw a white dog properly. Anyway, without further ado, here is the progress of my drawing.  The images that are darker are from my camera and the ones with the bright white background are scans.  Also I made the contrast on some of the scans higher to make it more close to reality whereas I didn’t on some of the other scans.  I tried to take more photos and scans than I normally do to really show the progress of the drawing and the layers for anyone interested.

Scar is Finished!

I finished him! I’m pretty happy with this one.  Since I wrote a lot about my thoughts on the process previously, I’m just going to leave this here with the progressive image below.  On a different note, my wolf drawing made it to round 2 of the Minnesota State Fair judging, so I went and bought a frame for it yesterday.  It would be very cool to make it in again!

Scar Update

I’m really trying to stay on top of keeping this blog updated, so here are updates of my progress on Scar.  I forgot to scan him when he was completed but before the background, so I mocked that one (image 6) up in Photoshop.  In case anyone is wondering, I literally just pasted his shoulder and the rock he’s laying on from the final image in this post (7) into image 5.  I worked out decently.  I am having a lot of fun with this one.  I was a little hesitant to draw him just because I have more “important” stuff I want to draw, but I am glad I went with this one first.  It makes me excited to do more fanart in the future.

I used to write about all the layers, but this is just a little drawing, only 5 x 7 inches, so it is really difficult to scan it in between stages.  Essentially, all the colors are a variety of colors.  Like the purples in his fur are really something like magenta, sepia, a mint green color, then lilac over all of it.  The darker purples in the shadows include an umber and a raisin purple color.  The patch on his arm that is reflecting the green just includes a lot more of the mint green color and a lot less lilac.  I was using really light layers with everything else, then going over everything with a heavy layer of the lilac at the end.

The greens in his fur include a light blue, peach, the minty-green color, and a yellowish green.  I’m not entirely happy with his paw.  I need to work out some kinks in it before I’m finished.  I also need to fill in the very edge of the green on his face, there’s a lighter patch before the purple that really bothers me on this computer scan.  In real life it is not as obvious.

For his mane, I put down a lot of minty green and the lighter lime green colors, then went over it all with black while leaving some green to shine through.  I really love working with black for that reason, it’s just easy. If his mane hadn’t been black,  I would have had to use a different method.


Practice Drawing – Scar

I’m finally done with school! Yay! I had been trying to figure out a practice drawing for a while.  I’ve been wanting to do some fan art.  I also felt like I needed to do an animal since that is usually what I draw.  Drawing a human character from one of my fandoms didn’t seem like it would be the most beneficial.  I sometimes look at fan art while I am bored or procrastinating and while I was looking I saw a drawing of Scar.  It wasn’t that original or unique, but it gave me the idea to draw him.  I looked around for the meanest looking still of him I could find.  I love his Be Prepared song, so I picked a still from that.  I’ve only worked on it for a few days now, but I’ve made some good progress and I like how its coming out so far!

Another reason I picked this image was because of the unique colors.  These colors look really exaggerated, but they are pretty similar to the colors in the still image that I found.  They are a little exaggerated obviously.  The third one with his mohawk made me laugh a little because I thought he looked like a rock star.  The one thing that is throwing me off a little is the mixture of the hairy texture with the cartoonish hair clumps, but that is the style I decided on beforehand.  It is just a little tricky to work with.


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.


« Older entries