Barney belongs to the same family as the six kitties portrait. So for this one, I set aside my thoughts of changing the style of my portraits in exchange for keeping the “feel” of the drawings the same for all of the portraits I’ve done for this client. This means a bit of a heavy style of work with colored pencils, which I think detracts from the “realness” of the portrait, but makes for interesting effects with the coat colors and markings.
I started Barney out with a light sketching of his head shape and the placement of things like his eyes, nose and ears. Then I also loosely penciled in some of the notable highlights and lowlights in his fur, marking areas where the brown fur would be, and the shiny highlights on the black fur.
With black pets, I like to start in a way that might seem a little bit opposite of how it should be; I start with a black colored pencil and use light strokes to color in where the highlights in the black fur will be. I then work with a bit heavier stroke in the darker black area, spending several hours slowly building up the layers of color.
For Barney, his reddish gold Rottweiler markings started out as a gold colored pencil, filling in all the places where there would ultimately be the final reddish gold color. Then I built up the layers of color in a few different shades of browns and golds until I got the desired effect.
I find dog noses kind of hard to draw, they’re an oddly shaped thing. So this time I did a Google image search for dog noses and found several close up shots to use as reference, I think this helped the overall final appearance of the nose. I also did some searching for eyes to try to better capture the color and light of the eyes, which to me are probably the most important feature of the drawing.
At the end, I did a bit of playing around with layers of white and pale blue to try to capture that shiny bluish effect that a glossy black coat sometimes seems to have, and then I added a blue background to kind of pull it all together and also to match the background of previous portraits I did for this client. I am quite happy with the final result!