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Planning Retirement Online

Art Masterclass   

                         October 2009

Each month presents a feature from either The Artist or its sister publication, Leisure Painter.      

Art masterclass      

from The Artist, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists;  


This Month:

dog sketchCapture the personality of your dog in coloured pencils!

You will need:

  • Good quality paper, such as 130gsm cartridge paper
  • Derwent Academy sketching pencils in 2b and 3B
  • Derwent Academy coloured pencils in Burnt umber, black, grey, brown and terracotta
  • Eraser (battery operated eraser pens are effective for lifting highlights
  • Pencil sharpener or craft knife


stage one


Holding a soft, 2B or 3B pencil about 2-3cm back from the tip, draw a medium-sized roundish shape for the head. Within that draw a smaller roundish shape at the bottom of the large circular shape. This marks the are of the snout.


stage two



On either side of the circular head shape, draw two long triangular shapes to denote the ears.


stage three



Now add two small circles for eyes and within the snout shape draw a smaller circle and two commas or number 6 shapes on their sides. draw a short vertical line between these.


stage four


Outline the eye circles and lightly mark on the mouth. Begin to soften and curve the edges of the ears where they meet the face and erase the sides of the face that are under the ears.


stage four



Now you have the essential simple guidlines, you can shape the dog's head more convincingly. Carry on shaping around the triangular ear shapes, adding slight curves on both sides and a few curved flicks to denote long fur. Carefully shape the nose and with a small curve, mark in the pupil.


stage sixSTAGE SIX

Erase the guidlines and begin using the coloured pencils to build up the darkest tones. Using burnt umber, roughly colour under the ears, around the eyes and slightly in the ears with short marks in the direction of fur growth. Gently shade the same burnt umber in the nose and a touch on the mouth.


stage seven


Keeping the coloured pencils sharp, apply short and long lines in black and grey, following the length of the fur and the direction of growth. You will only be making marks where the darkest areas are, not colouring in all over the dog, or this will make it appear flat. Watch where the darkest marks are and apply the coloured pencil lightly. Colour in the nostrils and pupils and using small marks, shape around the eyes. then, with the brown and the terracotta, shade around the inside of the eyes to show the iris, but make sure that you don't colour all over the eye. Let the white paper show through to depict shine.



To build up a realistic dog portrait, once you have reached this stage, you simply need to keep your pencils sharp and keep patient! Don't try to cover the whole dog in one flat colour, but keep the dark shadows dark and only lightly touch the paper in areas where the fur is black. Don't worry about every hair or mark, but lightly apply general shapes and marks in the darkest areas. Lightly build up the nose and around the ears, layer more of the two browns on the eyes and using the point of the black pencil, pick out the details.


stage eight



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