• Kevin Roeckl

Louie portrait in progress 2

This picture shows what Louie’s portrait looked like when I started work in the studio this morning.


When I quit work yesterday I had finished his nose, chin, and lip. The whole gold/orange part of his face has been outlined…”roped off” you could say, with the big open area of his muzzle and cheek all one big blank area. I still had studio time yesterday, but I wanted to do that area all at once. That’s a couple of hours' work and I knew I’d run out of studio time if I started that part. I didn’t want to break my momentum halfway through because that area takes a lot of concentration. Why?

Colored pencil portrait of black Doberman on golden-brown Canson paper, in progress

This is the reference photo of Louie sent to me by Dean. To show you why that side of Louie’s face takes a lot of focus, I’ve extracted just that area from the photo. As you can see, it is all composed of yellows, golds, oranges, and shades of chocolate brown. Those are different colors than I’ve used so far in the black areas of Louie’s face.

Reference photo of Doberman's face

When I focus on this area, in my mind I picture it floating alone on the paper color, like I’ve shown you here. An artist can mentally isolate an area like that to see what colors are really there.


The golds and oranges in this area are subtle. One color shades into the other without any obvious break between them. And all of the side of a dog’s muzzle is made up of abstract shapes….shapes that form his cheekbone, the curve of his jaw, the pad of flesh where the whiskers come out. It takes concentration to do one big interconnected area made up of so many odd, unusual, abstract shapes, and attend to the color changes between them, to make such a large area come out realistic: looking like the actual side of a dog’s face. When in reality it looks like this funny-looking orangey shape (collection of shapes). I have to maintain that concentration and focus on this odd blob of gold for two hours or more.


Below is how the artwork looks with that area finished. All I have to do is fill in that crescent shape on the side of Louie’s face with solid black.

Close-up of colored pencil portrait of a black Doberman on golden-brown Canson paper, in progress

Since I had all my pencil colors picked out for the gold/rust area, and I was on a roll, I continued on down his neck. This is how the portrait looked when I shut down the studio for today.

Louie’s portrait will show his whole body in a scene, but this would make a nice head-study just as it is.

Close-up of colored pencil portrait of a black Doberman on golden-brown Canson paper, in progress

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