Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to draw or paint a white dog or cat


More on Tullie! I promised I'd come back and write about how to draw and paint white. Tullie is white...all white, especially in the sunshine, a white dog or cat can look like a flat piece of typing paper with some eyes and a nose drawn on!
Tullie's photo was send to me via email, and his "dad" only sent one, and his fur looked to be just snow white all over! How to add some details...and depth? I opened up his photo in Photoshop Elements and adjusted the contrast dramatically to see exactly where there was SOME kind of "shadow". Sure enough, faint, but there, was curls and waves, chunks of white fur. I could never use this tweeked version as a reference, it was spookly looking, but it did identify for me where the shadowing was.

I drew in these curls, waves and shadows with a combination of pinks, blues and lavendars. They told the story of Tullie's fur, but without making it look dirty. I think gray makes white dogs and cats just look like they crawled out from under the porch!

The grass was fun, unlike lots of photos I get with manicured lawns, Tullie was scampering in a field with lots of interesting types of grass and weeds that could be detailed in the foreground, which I faded out to the back to put Tullie in perspective. I used a very limited palette for the grass, I like to do just enough to tell the story but not to become the story.

An aside about the photoshopping...while I use it to crop and upload my work to show on the web, and in some cases, like this one, to manipulate the photo to see something the naked eye can't see, I never use it to draw my art. There are unfortunately more than a few folks who claim to be portrait artists and neglect to tell you that they just print out the photo very lightly on good paper and color or paint over the photo. I NEVER do this, and never will. Everything goes from my eye though my brain then to my hands, never through a computer. Next post, I'll tell you why. It deserves a whole post. Want to get a reminder when I post next? You can subscribe or become a "follower" of this blog, and you'll be notified. (BTW, "following" automatically links to YOUR blog!)
Meanwhile, if you'd like to see more of my hand drawn/handpainted portraits, come visit my website: http://robinzebley.com/ . And if you'd like me to create a work of art starring YOUR pet, send me an email and let's get started!

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