It’s been just over a week since the launch of my website: www.pi-artstudios.com and I’ve been busy finalising a ‘pawtrait’ of Tango, a gentle giant of a dog.
I thought you might be interested to see how the process works from start to finish, so this is how it goes....
It starts with a clear, sharp original (ideally!). A lifelike drawing needs a sharp original (taken with camera rather than phone) so that the smaller details are still there when it is enlarged.
For this commission I was on hand to take a series of photographs, and that made my job easy as I was able to make sure that the eyes were in focus; the eyes are the most important part of any face - the windows to the soul - and they bring the drawing to life.
With the image and size decided upon, I chose a background colour that would best complement Tango’s colouring and would make the drawing pop.
I work exclusively on PASTELMAT®, a premium card with a unique velvety surface that has been specially developed for use with pastel pencils, and ensures that the colours remain vibrant and don’t fade or flake off. There are currently eight shades available, ranging from a chalky off-white, through a couple of yellows, a terracotta and three greys to a dark brown. For Tango, I chose a sunshine yellow... perfect for him as he has such a sunny personality!
Most of my commissions originate from emailed photographs so these stay on the computer and I draw from the screen.
I start by drawing a fine outline, taking care that the main features and markings are exactly where they should be. Customers expect a true likeness and being out by just a few millimetres can change the face completely – this is particularly relevant when drawing human faces.
Then it is a matter of patient observation, carefully matching colours and tones, and drawing exactly what is there. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and, on average, it takes three days to complete a portrait.
I then photograph the finished drawing and email it to the customer for approval. No rejections yet!
Tango’s ‘pawtrait’ has since been packaged and parcelled up in a thick cardboard tube, and is now on the way to San Francisco.
You can see examples of previous work, on the work page.