Dog portrait: step 1

I've been commissioned to paint another dog portrait and this time the breed is a Collie-Samoyed mix. As I have a short time frame to complete the portrait, I've decided to try something I've read some artists employ in their process, and that is to create a model (yes, I know it sucks ) for the purpose of determining the best lighting and for my reference.  I've begun the rough underpainting in greyscale.

Sabrina close-up

A wet miserable day is perfect for painting.  Wish I didn't have to go eat now.  I'm so in the zone. :)

Sabrina - step 3 - paint

Before getting too involved in the details, I've laid in some flat colour with which to show the client. I've added the pillow colour and flooring on different layers so that I can make quick changes should the need arise.

Sabrina - step 2 - ink completed

I've completed inking the piece digitally and have submitted it to the client to ensure she's happy with the likeness.  I could also have prepared this traditionally in pencil but I often find it more efficient to do this in Photoshop because I can add another layer underneath to show where the bones sit.  This helps me to see any obvious errors in the pose and to see how the fur will sit.

Sabrina - steps 1 and 2 (clean-up and ink)

As the client has made her selection of the pose and composition she prefers, I begin cleaning up the thumbnail by placing tracing paper over the initial sketch and overlaying rough perspective lines in blue. I cheat a little on the perspective as it's not necessary to be 100% accurate for this piece so I don't bother agonizing over lines being a little off.  I've been told that as long as it looks correct, it is correct - at least to the viewer.  Mind you, in something more obvious, I would take more care. I follow this by outlining the shapes of the character in red so as not to get mixed up with the perspective lines drawn. Something else I learned is that it's easier to work with perspective on a thumbnail or smaller picture than at full scale and having to break out the extra long rulers! ;-)

Once happy with the layout, I outline the cat and bed in pencil and add some light shading.  At this point, I scan it in and bring it into Photoshop for inking which I do on a separate layer above the scanned image.

Life drawing at the TCW

I'm making an effort to go life drawing again as it's one of the things I regret not spending enough time doing. I know it's a good exercise to keep up with as it trains you to solve problems quickly and, in turn, helps to increase the speed with which you draw. I find life drawing is a lot like working out. The more you do it the better the results. And like working out, it's hard to get past those first few times. My first session was no less discouraging as my drawing of the pretty lady turned out looking more like something that was dragged from the pit so I'll spare you the posting of that. Instead, I've posted something from my most recent open life drawing session at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop.

They had a costume for the latter half of the session which I think added an element of fun plus it's good to practice drawing drapery. I've taken one of the poses and started to add colour and play around with it a bit.  I'm not sure where it will go but sometimes it's just about the journey.

Sketch at a café

After the TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) and some art supply shopping, the hubby and I stopped at a gallery/café across from the AGO.  I wanted to try out my new mechanical blue pencil so drew a quick sketch of Victor.  He wanted to try out his new brush pen so inked it.  Here is the result.  I think we make a good team.

What I've been up to

Since it's been quite some time since my last update, I wanted to write about what I've been up to. I have to admit that the long-overdue fair summer weather and a lot of changes at my day job  contributed to lulling me into slacker mode on the drawing front.  I just wanted to get out, enjoy the weather, see friends, shop and enjoy the city! Then came fall which always means three things for me: the Toronto International Film Festival (yay!), an increase in work at the office (boo!) and a renewed determination to become a better artist. The last usually means becoming a hermit and devoting whatever spare time is left at the end of the day to draw.

An aspiring writer friend (I'm sure she'll become famous one day) recently asked me if I'd be interested in helping her take a script she is working on into graphic novel form. After reading only a few chapters, I was hooked but where to begin? I was extremely flattered but mostly concerned about all the work involved. Victor and I decided to get some industry knowledge by taking separate classes at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop where they have veterans of the comic book and animation industry like Ty Templeton, Geordie Miller and Scott Caple to name a few.

I chose two classes focussing on perspective and anatomy respectively as refreshers while Victor is taking Ty's Comic Bootcamp that covers scripting, layouts and rudimentary figure drawing. The classes are already helping us to see things in a new light. I'm not sure how this project is going to turn out but I'll do my best and we'll see what happens. :o To make up for my absence here are some of my doodles, studio life drawings and character sketches from the last few months: