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  • Kevin Roeckl

Cooper, Addie, and Rio portrait in progress 5

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

These photos show the progression of standing-Cooper’s face in one day’s work in the studio.

This is another one of those heads where the features are smaller than my sharpest pencil points. When the features are that tiny (like his eye, nose, and mouth) I put the color on by very precisely “dotting” the sharp tip of the pencil against the paper rather than making a stroke. Dotting over and over again with different colors leaves enough pigment on the paper to create the image. Larger areas like his cheek and neck I can do with little strokes.


1

The ears were finished yesterday. My goal is to get the rest of the head and neck finished today.

Portrait of Search-and-Rescue Doberman in progress in the studio with sharp pencil points


It's painstaking work when it's so small.

Lots of concentration.


2

Starting with his nose and then working around the front and bottom of his head to enclose the shape. There's a lot of very fine detail in the nose and lips.

I’m using about 16 pencil colors to do this head.

Portrait of Search-and-Rescue Doberman in progress in the studio with sharp pencil points

3

Working up the cheek to his eye. The expression in the eye is so important, and it’s challenging to do it this small. So the eye was a bit nerve-wracking. But I think I’ve captured it…gazing off into the distance on his Search-and-Rescue mission. And with the sunlight directly on this side of his face lighting up his eye.

Portrait of Search-and-Rescue Doberman in progress in the studio with sharp pencil points

4

With the black parts of his face finished the black neck will go quickly. Then just the rust part of the muzzle to finish. You see where I've indicated the back of his jaw with a black stroke, even though that won't really show on the black neck. Understanding the anatomy of a dog while I work is key to being able to portray them accurately.

Portrait of Search-and-Rescue Doberman in progress


5

Cooper in his Search-and-Rescue vest, with the Sheriff’s logo on it. The first of 6 figures and head studies in Karen’s portrait.

Portrait of Search-and-Rescue Doberman in progress

Below is how the whole portrait looks now.

Next I’ll put in the details of the mountain background scene over the underpainting with colored pencils. I wanted to complete standing-Cooper first, so I could then put the ripples of the lake in around his head. Everything I do in a surrounding scene is to point your eye to the figure, and make sure it stands out as the focus. So I have to put in the figure first, and then the “supporting cast” — all the surrounding colors that touch the figure. Having the figure finished shows me whether the colors and values that meet up to the edges of the figure are light enough to make the figure’s dark parts stand out, or dark enough to make the light parts stand out.

Portrait of Search-and-Rescue Doberman in progress

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