November and December 2014 were crazy busy. I ended up with several pet portrait commissions, along with a trip in early December which meant I had to draw, draw, draw to get them all done in time. One of the first ones I completed was this pretty little girl Maggie.
When I was starting this one, we were in the grip of some particularly nasty weather, and at one point I was working on the sketching and blocking out for colors in the dark with my iPad for photo reference and book light to draw by.
I am kind of fussy about my colored pencil portraits, since I feel like I tend to get too carried away laying down the color and they end up looking a bit too heavy to me. Fortunately, people who get them do seem to love them, they just tend to have different character than the graphite drawings. Each medium I use tends to add its own personality to the work, though.
For Maggie, I was determined to keep the color layers super light. She has beautiful layers of browns and golds in her coloring and I wanted to capture that without getting to heavy. I started with the lighter cream colors and then gradually added in golds, red-browns and darker browns to create her honey brown and chocolate tones.
I find that when I treat the colored pencils more like a graphite pencil, I’m much happier with the results. These lighter colored animals are easier. When I draw animals with a lot of black, that’s when I start to get a little more carried away, because I want them to be nice and black and shiny. Overall, I am super happy with this one!
My kitten Isabeau was a great supervisor for this piece. She helped make sure I wasn’t using too much colored pencil! She is more than a year old now and much bigger. But still good at supervising and keeping me in line.