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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Nadia portrait in progress 15

Yesterday I shared the pic of Nadia holding her dish, the fifth and final figure in Nadia‘s portrait. But the portrait is not finished yet. Today I added green grass under upper-left-Nadia, and the velvet-covered podium under stacked-Nadia. I didn’t add those bases when I did each of those figures. I needed to first get all the figures completed, so I could see the artwork as a whole. To judge how to do those final pieces — lighter or darker, bright or muted, crisp edges or fading gradually? — so that they don’t take any attention away from the important figures.


Grass under upper-left Nadia finished. I used the same green pencils I used for the pink-and-green Junior Handler ribbon that Julianna is holding. I didn’t want to put this base under this figure on the left side until I saw which greens would be used in the ribbon over on the right side. So those greens look harmonious, they help tie the whole image together in a balanced way. (You’ll see the whole image below.)

Close-up of colored pencil portrait of Top Twenty Doberman, in progress with colored pencils


Here I’m putting in some of the velvet’s texture, with 4 colors of pencils. Three lighter (a very pale grey that has a tinge of purple, a muted grey-purple which is the same value (lightness/darkness) as the grey paper, and a mauve that is more brownish than the others) and one dark “black cherry” pencil. I’m just scribbling them with rough, jiggly movements to get the random crushed-velvet texture.

Close-up of colored pencil portrait of Top Twenty Doberman, in progress with colored pencils

The lettering was done by tracing an actual font lettering with cream pencil.


Here's the whole portrait so far. Very close to finished.

You can see how using the same greens on the left as Julianna’s ribbon on the right, helps “balance” an asymmetrical layout. Same greens, and about the same amount of green, on both sides. I did not want greens to pop out in this portrait. But they do help give color to what would otherwise be a mostly black/white/grey and beige/rust artwork.

Portrait of Grand Champion Top Twenty Doberman with professional handler and Junior Handler, in progress

Notice the scribbly texture I’ve given to the crushed velvet of the podium. But that part is not finished. The texture I’ve made is too blotchy, it pulls a bit of attention away from the figures (pulls your eye down and off the bottom edge). I need this wide rectangle at the very bottom of the artwork to be a solid color, and not so much blotchy-ness (too much texture). I’ll smooth that blotchy texture out and give the whole base a nice burgundy-purple by going over it with a wash of reddish-purple watercolor.

Tomorrow you’ll see how that pulls it together and makes it look like crushed velvet.

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