Pet portraits are something that I have had bouncing around in my head for a while now. One of the little side projects that pop up to keep life interesting. I could have used images of my cats but thought it would be a greater challenge soliciting images from others. I had a couple of goals in mind. To take a photoshop brush set for a test drive and see which brushes would be useful and which ones to discard. Also, to find a way of eliminating pencil lines from my drawings. This would be a step in learning to create in a different way.
When I started on the black and white cat I didn’t want to just posterize Figaro. Although that would have been a nice effect. I still wanted to have the fur highlights. There are no shadows on a black cat. The separation between black and white is very pronounced so I was able to erase the pencil lines quite easily on this cat. This image had a nice balance and I was happy with the color combination.
I struggled on this one. You would be surprised how very little “white” there is on a white dog. Izzy took me three tries to get it right. My first attempt still had too many pencil lines. Although I came pretty close on the first drawing, I felt there was still something off. At this point, I wasn’t sure what it was. The eyes, the fur direction? I was still working it as a drawing and Izzy needed more painterly fluff. I tried adding more shading and larger areas of fur for fluff but this second version was still falling short.
So, I started over. No pencil this time. I blocked in the main colors and started shading and contrast. It took a while to figure out how to use the brushes but persistence paid off. I did a lot of experimenting which resulted in some aha moments. The brushes started making sense. I am very satisfied with the final outcome on this one.
The third drawing was of the dog in the snow. Phyllis was a challenge also. There was a point about halfway through that the drawing was becoming a bit of a train wreck. That is when I had to go back and study the reference photo and figure out what I was doing wrong. I erased a section of snow on her nose and started over. Draw what you see and not what you think you know. I may have been trying to wing it a bit. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.
I am still getting used to the new brushes. Hopefully, at some point, I will pick up speed.
So now I have three pet portraits under my belt. I have already learned a lot that I can apply to future digital drawings. It will be interesting to see how the pet portraits evolve over time. Three more portraits coming up. Feel free to leave a comment.