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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Shasta portrait in progress 4 - "Value control"

Started working on Shasta’s head today.

When Diane saw these in-progress pics, she wrote:

“Looking good! EXCITING!!!!”


In my last two posts I shared the progress of the forest of tree trunks in the upper part of the artwork. Next I drew out detailed outlines of Shasta’s figure on the Canson paper with cream and dark grey pencils. Then I start filling in her tri-color coat. 


I interrupted my work 3 times to scan the artwork to show the pencil-work being added… 

1

Detail of a colored pencil portrait of an Australian Shepherd, in progress

2

Shasta’s face is mostly white, with some red and grey on the left (her right) side. Both her ears are “merle” (black and grey). You may think I’ve put too much white on the outer edge of her ear… 

Detail of a colored pencil portrait of an Australian Shepherd, in progress

3

I used a lot of white on the left side of the ear because I want golden sunlight touching the side of Shasta's face, coming from the left like on the tree trunks. Those are back-lit hairs, on the side of her ear and across the top of her head. That will be toned down a bit when I do the ferns behind her. 

Detail of a colored pencil portrait of an Australian Shepherd, in progress

FOR ARTISTS:

Since the sunlit hairs must be white, as bright as I can make them, the rest of the white areas of Shasta’s face are actually pale grey. It’s a careful balancing act, because I want her face to look like the pure snowy white it is in life…but it has to be darker than the true white of those sunlit hairs on the top and side of her face, where the light is hitting. (You can see that on the side of her nose now too.) Artists call this “value control”. Values = how dark or light something is. Those who are sensitive to value will be able to see that Shasta’s white forehead in the picture above is slightly darker than the white of the backlit hairs on the top of her head. You can see the difference where those two values meet, and see that her “white” forehead is being rendered with a very pale grey.


 

4

This shows the whole artwork as it looked when I stopped work for the day. Now the whole composition is starting to emerge, with beautiful Shasta on a little footbridge while hiking in the Vancouver Island forest with her beloved people. 


Detail of a colored pencil portrait of an Australian Shepherd, in progress

Prismacolor pencil on "Felt Grey" Canson paper.

20 x 26 inches

Commissioned by Diane B. as a gift for her son and his fiancé.


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