Vedder | 8 x 6” | Graphite on Paper
This is a friend’s dog, Vedder, who I’ve never met… the dog, not the friend. I only know about this adorable black lab (I’m guessing… looks like a black lab, hoping he’s a rescue dog, too) because I occasionally check Facebook and he manages to take a lot of really good photos of his dog. As a doggy dad myself, I know how hard it is to get a good pic of your dog, especially a black one.
I’ve been spending a lot more time this year working on dog portraits and other dog related compositions. Many of them have fallen short of anything resembling artwork, thus the lack of posts on this topic. However, some things have started to click lately and I believe it’s because I’ve returned to the core exercise of drawing instead of painting dogs. I’ll bounce back to painting them very soon, but sometimes my brain needs a reset in terms of how it translates between my eyes and the canvas.
Vedder was all about getting the face, especially those soulful eyes, just right. I’m pretty happy with the outcome, especially since the initial drawing block-in required very little adjustment. In other words, the proportions of the face and related features was accurate from the outset, something I hadn’t been getting right with the brush and canvas.
Drawing dogs is very tedious, but it’s offset by very rewarding outcomes. The process of drawing hair via thousands of “strokes” is a test of patience, which artists really need, but oftentimes it can be elusive as you’re excited to get a composition done. Vedder is an older pup, how old I’m not sure, so he has features such as white hairs and a well-used dog nose. These are very tricky to get onto the paper with graphite only. As you can tell from this composition I missed the mark on that front, but the rest of the details I hope capture the personality of Vedder. I’ll have to cross post this on Facebook to see if my friend has an opinion.
On the technical front, I used 3 pencils – HB, 2B, and 4B. The paper is very basic, no idea what it actually is because it’s a sketchbook that I usually tote around on trips when I want to get some sketching done to capture the place for posterity. Very convenient, but the paper has no teeth which makes it hard to layer hair strokes with value shading.
Thanks for reading… and GO HUG YOUR DOG!
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