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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Nadia portrait in progress 3

Yesterday I described why this first figure was done in softer colors, not true black. [See previous post.]

Since I made Nadia’s rust markings more of a gold (softer version of rust-brown) it might look like her rust markings are too yellow. It looked that way to me too.

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

But I did that knowing that when I added the bright yellow ribbon behind her, that will make those markings look different.

See what I mean? By comparison to the bright yellow, all of a sudden her markings look more orange. This is one of those tricky things our eyes do. Artists have to learn to compensate for those “optical illusions” when they choose colors.

Close-up of portrait of Doberman with Top Twenty ribbon, in progress

The underpainting for the Top Twenty ribbon was done with acrylic paint. I had to use opaque paint --- not thinned with water as I often do with underpainting --- because the paint has to completely cover the grey paper to get a nice bright yellow and purple. Otherwise the grey showing through would have dulled those colors.

I masked off the edges of the ribbon tails to get that nice straight edge. I’d never be able to paint such a straight line freehand. Some painters have that skill. I don’t!


After the paint dried overnight, I put in the details of the ribbon with colored pencils over the underpainting. Note that I made the purple ribbon lighter behind her forelegs and chest, to make Nadia stand out more. Since this figure is actually dark grey, not black. A true-black figure would pop out against that mid-tone purple.

Close-up of portrait of Doberman with Top Twenty ribbon, in progress

This is the whole portrait as it looks now. Since Hernan in his white tuxedo and Julianna with her peaches-and-cream skin and pastel dress/ribbon will be soft colors, I had to keep the purple tails of the Top 20 ribbon fairly light. The actual ribbon is a darker purple in real life. I had to make the purple dark enough that it looks the way a purple-and-gold Top 20 ribbon is supposed to look, but not so dark that it competes with the two black Nadia’s that I’ll be adding - the main stacked figure, and Nadia holding her dish.

Portrait of Doberman with Top Twenty ribbon, in progress

A close-up of Nadia’s head. I think this came out really nice against the ribbon.

It’s really not very big. Her head is a little less than two inches long in the actual artwork.

Close-up of portrait of Doberman with Top Twenty ribbon


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