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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Phoenix & Luxx portrait in progress - start to finish

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

January 20

Leah Hamaluk has commissioned me to do a portrait of her Dobergirls Phoenix and Luxx, a mother and daughter.

I begin a portrait by asking the client to send me all the photos of their loved one that speak to their heart, without worrying about whether a photo “looks like a portrait”. Then we start a dialog about the best way to capture the essence of their loved one….what will make them the happiest to look at for years to come.

These are Leah’s favorite pics that she sent me. This is what I start out with when I begin the journey of a portrait. It is like putting together a puzzle. First I gather all the puzzle pieces so I can see them laid out in front of me. One or more of these reference photos will become the portrait.

Client's photos of her two female Dobermans


Phoenix and Luxx portrait in progress 2

In the last post you saw the 9 gorgeous photos Leah Hamaluk sent for a portrait of her girls…

A decision was made to use the shot of Phoenix and Luxx running side by side!

This portrait is being done in my “Little Jewel” style. It's a looser, more expressionistic style than my usual tightly detailed portraits. Little Jewels also have dashes of brighter, jewel-like colors in the pencil work.

Prismacolor pencil portrait of two Dobermans running, in progress

Phoenix was Leah’s foundation bitch. Luxx, her daughter, was from Leah’s first breeding. (Aurora Dobermans, in Canada). Luxx is in front in this portrait.

Phoenix” is BVIS Can Ch. Seven's Strekoza Pennylane, CD, RA, VC, HIC, TT, CGN, ROMC

Luxx” is AmCH, CanGCH Aurora’s Invicta

Both girls are now waiting at the Bridge.

Here are the the colors of pencils I’ve prepared to start work this morning. As you can see, there are some crazy bright colors that you wouldn’t expect to see in a Doberman. Red, orange, blue, purples.

Colored pencils and artwork of Dobermans in the art studio

My “Little Jewel” portraits have jots of bright, jewel-like colors in the pencil work

Close-up of Doberman portrait in progress

Here’s a close-up of Luxx’s face that shows what I mean.


Phoenix and Luxx portrait in progress 3

Today’s work in the studio, with Leah's reference photo in front of me on the monitor while I'm working.

Colored pencil portrait of Dobermans running, with pencils, work table, and monitor, in Kevin's art studio

When a portrait is finished I send high-resolution pics of it to the client for approval. Occasionally they will request minor changes. Since I also share in-progress pics as I go along, sometimes the client catches something earlier, that needs to adjusted. When Leah saw the latest, she pointed out that Luxx’s collar needs to be darker....

Colored pencil portrait of two Dobermans running, in progress

From what I could see in the reference photo, both girls are wearing the same color collar. Leah told me that in reality, Phoenix’s collar was fuchsia and Luxx’s collar was burgundy. Leah just sent me this photo of their collars to show the difference.

Reference photo of dog collar colors

That helps a lot!

The burgundy collar at the top is Luxx's collar color. The middle collar is Phoenix's color.

The process of creating a portrait is truly a collaboration between the client and me, from beginning to end.


Phoenix and Luxx portrait finished

"Little Jewel" portrait of two black Dobermans running on grass, in colored pencil, by artist Kevin Roeckl


BVIS Can Ch. Seven's Strekoza Pennylane, CD, RA, VC, HIC, TT, CGN, ROMC


AmCH, CanGCH Aurora’s Invicta

In this close-up you can really see the "scribbly" style of my Little Jewel portraits in the the grass --- just a few slashes and scribbles in different greens, letting the green paper do most of the work.

More about my LITTLE JEWEL portrait type.

Detail of a portrait of two black Dobermans running on grass, in colored pencil, by artist Kevin Roeckl

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