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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Portrait of Jake

In March I had a serious injury and I haven’t been able to work for several months. See my July 16 post So I thought I would start sharing some of my earlier artwork with you.

This is Nancy Borylla's “Jake”, a very special and beloved companion who went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2018.

Nancy and I took a while to find the right photo of Jake for the portrait. Originally Nancy had sent me a pic of Jake lying down in grass and said how much she liked that photo - taken by a friend and so much better than her own snapshots. But I always ask my clients to send me all the photos that "speak to them", without worrying about whether or not it looks like a portrait. I made some suggestions about the ones she sent, and made a couple of rough layouts. Then she came up with one of Jake sitting and smiling up at the camera. I immediately liked it and said to Nancy that it would make a great portrait. She replied, "That's the face I love!". It was the first time I had heard emotion like that from her about any of the photos.

Choosing the right photo(s) to use is an important part of the process I go through with my portrait clients. I think we made the right choice. I love the happy look on Jake's face.

Prismacolor pencil portrait head study of black and tan Doberman
Prismacolor pencil on light blue Canson Mi-Teintes paper

When I emailed Nancy a jpg of the finished portrait for her approval, I asked if she thought the "frosted" hair on Jake's chin looked too prominent. This was her response:

"I love it, Kevin! I wouldn't change a thing. I love his little white hairs on his chin. Dammit, I miss him... Thank you so very much. You are so talented. I'm grateful."

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