Sunday, January 24, 2010

How to Draw a Yorkie

How do you draw a Yorkie? I wouldn't know how to answer that question but strangely it seems to be the no.1 reason people find this blog! It was also why I thought it might be a good idea to re-do an old graphite drawing in colour but I lost interest after a while and put it away. I was rather shocked to see how long that was- the WIP was posted in May last year! Time to finish or bin it!

It looks like it's been done on the same paper as my last few drawings but this one was draw on a larger brown sketchbook made by 'Seawhite of Brighton' and bought in Green & Stone, London. There is quite a difference too - this one is made for drawing on (although it's a bit smooth for my taste) and bits don't flake off the way they do with the paper from Paperchase. (That isn't a criticism since it's intended to be a scrapbook not a sketchbook.)

As for the colours, I'm afraid I threw so many colours at this I can't remember them all. It was looking very dull and I just put colour on with a bit of abandon. I used Lyra Rembrandts and added quite a lot of Grey Green and Brown and Yellow Ochre in the fur on his body. The very lightest highlights are, again, White (Luminance) and after Alex suggested it looked too light I put some yellow over it (he was right!). I have a few new Luminance colours and Raw Ochre went over the white to tone it down a little. (Other brands I have don't mix with the waxier Luminance pencils so I normally put those on last.) I saw a lot of green in his fur so I put that and some blue in too, especially on the darker fur on his back. The background has spots of Lyra - Cobolt Blue, Light Blue, Paris blue, True Green and Sap Green.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Jesse was Sheila's dog (of Idaho Beauty's Creative Journey) and took me quite a while to draw. Not in actual time, but constantly taking breaks from it to see it anew to try and get the likeness right. Having Googled lots of images of black labradors, I realised that Jesse was quite unique (especially her ears!) and therefore even more important I get her right.

I'd love to say that I could see all sorts of colours in her coat, but I'm afraid I couldn't so it is drawn mainly with a Black Luminance pencil. Luminance are quite waxy and normally I don't like them but black in other brands, like Lyra or Polychromos look weak comparatively. I used Polychromos and Luminance greys for the highlights and Luminance white for the lightest parts. Even so, I couldn't get the light in her eye as bright as I wanted so I added some Titanium White watercolour with a tiny point! Some Lyra Light Blue was added in the background and then rubbed off partially with a tissue.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

TV sketch in progress

I think of my other blog, Felicity's Philosophies as the 'why' - why I choose the subjects I do - and this blog as the 'how' - more focused on the materials I use and how. So what better way to start the year than with a 'how to'. More for myself, to be honest, as I have a terrible memory and I forget how I achieved certain effects when I look at old drawings!

So, above, the finished sketch of Alastair Stewart and Saira Khan drawn from Celebrity Mastermind. And below, step one, just getting the outline down lightly on paper. I used an HB pencil to start (Faber Castell) and I draw in a rectangular (6"x8") Winsor & Newton journal which has, I think, 120gsm cartridge paper.

When I'm happy with the proportions I darken the eyes and darken and tidy up the lines a bit.

Next I add some shading - I think of shading at this stage as checking proportions, adding blocks and looking at them as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, checking the distance between them and their relationship to each other. This is the first stage of laying down some pencil lines - hatching rather than cross hatching as the results are smoother...

and here is the same drawing but smudging the pencil marks with a tortillon. It makes the pencil look lighter (in the darker areas) so I carry on layering more pencil and smudging it to get the values I want. I've switched to a 2B and at the end I added a 4B to get the darkness I needed in her hair.

Here is the one I used, but I use smaller ones too for areas like the eyes and nose if I need greater control. Once the tortillon is black, like it is in the photo, it can be used on it's own to add details or shading. I used it on the edges of the hair to create a wispy, out of focus look.

I use a Staedtler Mar Plastic eraser as it works best on this type of paper but also a battery powered Jakar eraser in parts (photo here) as it's very handy for putting highlights in hair or re-directing the way the hair flows. Before I had one of these erasers, I used to leave the highlights white and work around them but it was much less flowing and spontaneous, quite a laborious process. I brought her hair in closer to make her neck look slimmer as she was looking a bit stout! I also brought the shading down from his jacket to frame her face in order to get rid of that heavy outline and add some light around her hair for interest. This stage shows quite clearly the lines I created in her hair with the eraser before I've softened them.

I've included the finished drawing again, below, as it shows how I changed his neck - it looked too heavy - and changed the line of his jacket at the back as it was too straight. I also changed the line of his shirt a little as his neck seems to end too close to his body and looked rather odd! I lightened the shading on his nose as it looked a little dark in relation to the rest of his face.