Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chihuahua Cont. 2

With all the holiday hullabaloo winding down, I have spent the last few nights finding my way around the background of this drawing.  It is hard to believe or admit, but I have reworked this little area over and over the last three nights.  The depth of the shadows must be figured out at the beginning of each drawing.  They set the bar for the continuity of the rest of the piece.  Usually, I make better progress by starting on the darkest area.  My dread of all of those little leaves, or the fact that they are out of focus, might have been part of the problem.  My brain was telling me, once they got up on the screen, that the composition could go darker yet.  The best thing for me to do is to wait for the rest of the greenery to go in before pushing the darks any more.  These leaves are suppose to be out of focus.  My eyes may be wanting to add more depth to bring them out to the viewer, when the truth of the drawing is that they must stay flat to create the depth of the farthest part of the background.  Does that make sense?  Maybe only in my crazy head! ;)

It is tempting to follow the paper down and work with the subject next.  And no... this has nothing to do with my personal thoughts about drawing plant life! ;)  After a little thought about the composition, I have decided to create the rest of the background with the drawing paper upside down.  This is a technique that comes in handy for me when I tire of looking at the same familiar repetitive shapes.  I guess, it just makes the background subject a little more exciting to create. :)   So if I were to start the little puppy and hand next, it is not going to be a hindrance when creating the foliage.  The final decision will be made tonight, and you will all find the answer in my next post! ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanks For The Memories

Rest in peace... He was the most photogenic hamster that I ever had the pleasure of knowing...

Even though he mainly just slept in his exercise ball, it sure made for a wonderful drawing.

I certainly will never forget the 2 o'clock wake up call, when you escaped and decided to roam around in my bed...

He was a sweet little soul and will be missed...

Danimal aka "Dani"
November 30, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011


Don't you just love a holiday that promotes eating all the candy that your stomach can hold?  LOL

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chihuahua Continued

Yes, I am still here! ;)   I had to devote some time to getting my Etsy Store off the ground before the holidays. (Another personal goal to check off the list!)  So these last few weeks have been filled with felted wool, gourds, paper clay and acrylic paints.  It is so nice to get back to a normal schedule at the drawing board and transfer this little guy to Bristol.  Tonight was mainly devoted to bringing the flower blossoms into view.  Did I ever tell you that plants are really NOT my favorite subject?  Due to this flaw in my character, the background is going to go first on this drawing.

Look at my sad attempt to the left. LOL  I started to map in the darks but lost interest.  My mind always wanders to the right.  What does that mean??  *sigh*  ... Other than I lack discipline! ;)   

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chihuahua Work in Progress

This puppies photograph almost has a celestial feel to it.  The composition is a tiny Chihuahua puppy held up in front of flowering plants.  Its little body is curled up as it sleeps on the palm of a hand.  As you can see by the sketch, not much of the human hand will be seen by the viewer.  But I feel, the hand has enough showing to represent itself in the composition and give a sense of scale to the size of the puppy.  I had two different pics from this photo shoot, and it was difficult deciding which to draw first.   I cropped this one pretty tight and will see how it progresses in graphite. 

The finished size will be approximately 7 x 8 inches.  My support will  be Bristol board, and I will be using a 2b mechanical pencil, blending stumps, and various erasers.

 Ahhh... Nothing like the feeling of beginning a new piece of art! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Business Cards ~ Goals of 2011

Remember way back in January when I was setting my years goals?  Seems like forever ago to me... *sigh*  Well, third on my list was to create and have printed my own personal business cards for my graphite art business.  I am so happy to say that I achieved that goal as of last Wednesday when this package arrived.

I had been searching for a site to create my own layout and business cards.  The girls over at the Blog Guide Book ran a promotion for .  Their endorsement was all that I needed. :)  I did a photo layout (with some free help from Picnik) of a few of my drawings and began to create my first business cards.  It was so easy and fun that I decided to do another set for my Pumpkin Hollow creations.  Since my cards arrival, my hubby wants me to design some for the tree business.  Did I ever tell you that my original reason for going to college was for graphic arts?  LOVE IT! ;)  

The clarity of my graphite drawings on such a small format is incredible... better than I could have imagined!  Originally, I thought that I would have to jump to a postcard size for such clear details, but this little card is absolutely perfect.  And lucky me, they were running 15% off of business cards!  Oh... and on the back there is my contact information - name/addy/phone/email/blog, a little bit about my art, and my self portrait.  It is amazing how much could fit and still be legible while staying within the cutting lines.

I am toying with the idea of creating some folding pamphlets to put into local businesses.  If it goes as smoothly and looks as cool as these cards, I will be one happy artist... Onward to the rest of my goals!! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait ~ Finished

Here they are finished and ready to be matted!   (As with all my pics, you can click on the image to enlarge them.)   I opted to go with a blank background that dealt only with the light source and shadows that were created.  Shadows add so much to the dimension of a drawing.  I just love the impact that they have on pushing the subjects forward.

Although this is a terribly bright photo, I had to take a quick pic of these two that I matted for the purpose of protection on their travels home.   I am in love with black core mats.  Bristol, although very light, is far from being white.  The black core of the mat brightens up the Bristol by kicking up the highlights and bringing out the darks. 

Well, "graphite" Bella and Chester are in their new home now and are awaiting the moment to be given as a birthday present.  It almost seems like stillness has fallen over my house, since the excitement of final touch ups and delivery are over.  I took a moment before writing this entry and read back through the posts on the creation of these two.   I laugh at how much was happening in my life while this commission was taking shape.  It has been quite a journey... :) 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 9

Ready for the background.  As you can see, Chester is a handsome little dude all blended and highlighted. :)  His dark eyes and muzzle stand out well next to Bella's long hair.  I hoped his strong features would be his strength in the drawing.   Both Yorkies complement each other well with their unique looks.  I love Chester's wide eyed look, and  Bella will get some more dimension to her once the background goes in and stray hairs are put in place. 

So much time gets spent looking at these little fur balls and studying their faces.  I really feel that I know them.  I am a firm believer that every animal is as unique as we are as humans, pertaining to looks as well as personalities.   It is fun to walk into the back door of my studio area and be greeted by these sweet faces.  I feel that I am lucky to get to work with so many different subjects and be able to live with their presence in my home if only for a while.  Makes me feel like I have more pets in my life.  I'm sure that my little black monster (aka Mew) likes it that way, since she doesn't have to share her kibble or comfy pillow with these "graphite" pets! ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 8

Just thought I'd let you catch a glimpse of Chester in the rough stage! ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 6

Ouch!  It's been a while.  No, I haven't fizzled out on this. ;)   Just got a little side tracked by the busy weekends of August... spending time at the flea markets and had a park days celebration in our small town.  My son brought out his Minneapolis Molines for the town tractor pull.  He won 3 first place pulls and 2 seconds.  How exciting is that???   And in front of the hometown crowd.  I was very happy for him and my hubby aka "the pit crew/chief mechanic". ;)  The local volunteer fire department hosts the event, and they barbecue 1/2 chicken dinners and deliver them to the pull.  Nothing like carry out to make a girl happy!!  It made for a wonderful weekend with the most beautiful weather.

As you can see, I have begun Chester.  The top portion of his head has been blended, highlighted, and darkened.  The side of his face is at the mapping stage right now.  I have gotten quite a bit farther tonight with the mapping, but the light isn't good enough for another pic.  I am anxious to get to his eyes and muzzle area.  They are surrounded by some interesting dark hair that gives so much character to his face.  His chin hairs are more reminiscent of his daughters locks and should tie him into her nicely.  The area of the forehead and ears is smooth and lacking definition, so most of the details will present themselves around the eyes and below.   I will be off from work for a couple of days this week, so I hope to make the same progress on him as I did on his daughter, Bella.   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 5

Click to Enlarge

Can you believe it?  Three days and I am already doing an update. :)  Time off from work translates into more time at the drawing board.  Well, I promised that this little girl, who happens to be named Bella, would at least be blended.  But I am happy to report, she is pretty much finished.  Her highlights are in with the shadows darkened.  Her fur is good to go until the minor touch ups at the end of the drawing process.

Now I will move on to the second Yorkshire Terrier that happens to be her Dad.  His name is Winchester  aka Chester for short.  His hair has a more defined edge and is very blended.  I am going out on a  limb and say that he should go a little faster than his daughter.  Yep I know, it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong! LOL 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 4

I can read your mind... "When are you going to start blending Brenda?"  Sorry, it should have been done before now, but I couldn't help myself.  One hair led into another and then another.  I took this photo and was determined to start blending afterward but found myself mapping in her chin hairs.  Obsessive, I know!  The mapping process leaves the subject in such a mottled state.  So I will promise that the next update will have her looking more natural.  Blending stumps on the way!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 3

Back from vacation and ready to work.  As some of my followers know, I take vacation and attend the hunt on the 127 Corridor Yard Sale.  It is 654 miles of flea markets and yard sales from the bottom of Michigan to the top of Alabama.  It has been a very hot and fun vacation.  Probably the hottest one that we have attended in a long time.  We decided to start this year in Ohio and cut through Chicago on our way there.  My son has not been to the windy city, so it was fun to share that moment with him.  I will never tire of the hazy first glimpses of the Chicago skyline.  *sigh*  

I put in some time this morning on the portrait of the Yorkies (between unloading the vehicle and switching laundry ;) ) and am getting ready to create the second eye.  Yes, this is not a huge update, but I just wanted to let you know that I am still alive here! ;)  This vacation stuff does demand a lot of time from me, but now it is back to creating... :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait 2

It has been a crazy weekend with a county fair and tractor pull thrown in, but I managed to get some work done on one of the Yorkies today.  She will definitely need a little reworking as the rest of her comes into view, but I am hoping that the darker values around her muzzle will set her off.  (They both have very light hair.)  The shadows are just a little hard to finish at this point without the darkest values to compare to.   This little one has hair going in every direction... No dull moments here!   In all honesty though,  I find it relaxing to be working at long hair again.  I hope the feeling lasts! ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait Cont.

Severe weather has gotten the best of me this week. Happily, I can report that our town now has electricity and cable/Internet restored after a 4 day hiatus. My home was lucky to not be out of power as long as some of our other residents, but the Internet was out for a good part of the week.  Not that it mattered much to me, since I was busy dragging and chipping brush for our tree business. With the tree work caught up and major heat in the forecast, I was more than content with taking this afternoon to dive into the double portrait of the two Yorkies.

As you can see, they are transferred to the Bristol board. The background will be left out for now, since it is not going to get the one in the photograph. My brain wanted me to start with the Yorkie on the right in the worst way. Please don't ask me why for I will never know the reason.  At any rate, common sense won out in the end, and I held strong to the laws of smearing and began with the little girl on the left. ;) She is mapped in as far as I would like her to be before the blending step. The edges of the fur will be rough until the background makes an appearance.

For anyone who might notice, my usual tape around the edges of my drawing is not present. There is a long story that surrounds its absence, but the short version is that the Turtle drawing had damage from the tape. It was not a malfunction of the tape, but the idiot that applied the tape. I used a colored ruler in the application of my graph that left a few marks on my paper. I attempted to erase these marks... lazily went ahead and used the paper instead of transferring the sketch to a new sheet of Bristol (Hence, the whole reason why I begin my sketches on transfer paper. Duh!)... applied the tape... took forever to complete the drawing... and the tape adhered to the areas damaged by the eraser. Aaargh! To make a long story short -- too late. ;) I am not at all worried that this will happen again, but I am erring on the side of caution. This is a commission, and I will tape the drawing at the point when the background goes in.  Enough said on that sticky situation...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Double Yorkie Portrait

As I mentioned in the post before, the next drawing is a consignment drawing of two Yorkshire Terriers.  The photo I had to work with showed both of the dogs being held onto.  I tossed around doing a bust of the two dogs but am not a fan of their bodies being drawn in separate areas of the paper and  fading into nothingness.  So, I played around on the computer and created a crop that is more true to my style.   The photo is pretty small, so I am using a little larger grid to sketch my line drawing on.  The background is going  to be removed and turned into a blur of shadows.

I was pretty happy with the crop of these two little sweeties, once they were printed out.   Well... I guess it would be more accurate to say, once they were printed out for the fourth time!  Have you ever had one of those days?  My printer is a Canon MP 560.  Although their has been much talk of Canons consuming ink, I really do love this printer.  It has separate ink tanks, and I keep printing even if the computer says to replace a particular tank.  (I have counted and printed 10 extra 8 x 10's the last time by doing that!)  Whatever gives the "ink replacement" warning is way ahead of the ink really running out, which is amazingly wasteful.  Anyways, my black ink was low, and my photo came out lacking that value.  Okay, I expected this eventually.  So, I pop in another sheet of photo paper and a black ink cartridge and start the process again.  Still no black.  What?  I ran a third attempt.  (Don't ask me why I would even do that.  My life mimics the saying that "Haste makes Waste."  Ugh!!)   After that failed attempt, the light went on above my head... clogged printer nozzle.  Duh!  This is the first time that has happened with this printer, which I must add is amazing for how little it is used.  Anyways, successful fourth print...  Yay!

As you can see by the line drawing, one of these little pups has a short and amazingly chiseled hair cut, while the other one is sporting "the Rachel"  made popular by Jennifer Aniston during the early days of Friends. LOL  (Love the cut, and the Yorkie breed  pulls it off so well!)  Let me also add... It is a sad day when your subjects have better hair cuts than your own, and they happen to be canines to boot! LOL  ;)   Back to my point, the contrast in hair styles, along with difference in the size of their heads, will lend itself well to this composition.  The finished size of this piece will be 6 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches.   The crop will make them appear to be looking out of the drawing, which may be a little bit of a twist on the conventional portrait, but sometimes it is nice to be unconventional right?  ;) 

Ooops... I have to add...

Happy 4th of July Everyone!!  :)  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baby Turtle Finished

Here he is finished!  You all know the drill.  I will leave him up for a few days and do a little touching up and smoothing before it is put away.  But, he is definitely finished enough to post. :)   I didn't add that much sand (which is very hard to see in the photo), because it would be to distracting.  It was definitely something new to work on a reference in a macro setting.  It was a touch more difficult  to get the details in such a small size work, so a little artistic license came into play on some of the details.  It is also interesting to note how the shadows that surround the focal point become so blotchy looking.  When looking at a photo, your eyes correct to see it more smooth.  This could also be contributed to the dark skin tones of the hand.  At any rate, it meant a lot of going back and darkening / smoothing of tones. 

What's next?  I have a commission that I need to get going on of two Yorkies.   There will not be a background with these two.  Haven't completely hashed out the composition yet, but the initial sketches will make that pull together.   One of my son's hamsters, Gordy (I haven't drawn this one yet), has passed away.  Thankfully, we have some photos of him being held.  So, a special request has been made of me to immortalize this little guy in graphite.   So it looks like there will be a lot of fur in my near future!  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baby Turtle 6

This little guy is a pain to get a good picture of, so I zoomed in for a close up shot this time.  The bottom half of his body is blurred, and the thumb's placement is between the focused  and "out of focus" areas.  So, the bottom of the turtle will make more sense when the picture is in its entirety.  The sand on his body still has to be dealt with.  I am going to have the background finished before going back to the sand.   The next post will see this drawing finished!  :)    

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baby Turtle 5

What was that ill fated prediction?  "Finish this one over the long weekend."  Yeah... I don't think so. LOL  I can say this honestly and emphatically, "I have NEVER had my back locked up like it was the day after the last post of this turtle."  I avoided the drawing table until three days ago.  The scary thing is that I do not know what I even did to strain it.  One good thing about it?  It makes me appreciate the mobility that I am getting back so much more!   It is great to be back at the board.  *sigh*

I have spent the last few days mapping in this little guy.  Doesn't look like much does it? ;)  I know, I know.  It takes a long time to do.  He is so small, and there has been a lot of erasing.     He is in his "ugly" stage but is ready to be blended.  No predictions this time... I have some lawn mowing,  town garage sales to attend, and a wedding to go to this weekend.   My favorite time to draw is later into the night, so I will try to squeeze in a few hours here and there. ;) 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Remembrance on Memorial Day

This is just the most beautiful song from Dire Straits entitled "Brothers in Arms".    God bless the service men and women on this Memorial Day who have served, are serving, and will serve this wonderful country of ours...For those that have come home and those that we will forever hold in our memories and hearts. 

Baby Turtle 4

As you can see, I have started the baby turtle.  The fingers are all blended,  and they were made darker to balance my values and not have such a "washed out" appearance.  (The hand in the photo reference has a medium tan color.)  The darkest shadows may get a little deeper before this one is finished.  The little body of the turtle takes quite some time to render.  I am taking it slowly.  My hopes were to be close to completing this one over the long weekend.  Unfortunately, I woke up Friday with a pulled muscle in my back.  Grrrrr!   This is the first time that my back has made it torture to sit at the drawing table.  Even though the change is slight, I am happy with the darkening of the hand and the start to the turtle.  I do not believe that I have ever reworked an object more than this hand.  It makes me think that I should have began with the turtle.  The darkness of the turtle is what sets the tone for the rest of the drawing.  Lesson learned!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby Turtle 3

As the fourth finger enters the drawing, the viewer can begin to see how small this little turtle really is.  This drawing shows my love of photography when using the macro setting.  By using this setting, the photographer captured the true scale of this baby turtle and conveyed it in a masterful way. 

I am still working on the area above the turtle and will have to do some pushing of the darks.  My method is to build value and blend... take away value... build value and blend... take away value... repeat as many times as necessary. ;)  There is sand on one finger, the thumb, and the turtle.  It will be a challenge on how to convey the grains without being to blotchy.  The grains show up well enough on the photo but hard to render due to the minute size.  I can tell you this... I am getting tired of working on areas that are out-of-focus!  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Turtle 2

Does it look like I am gaining ground yet? ;)  I have been working for a few hours here and there over the last three days.  I started very lightly, which always happens at the beginning of a drawing.  With this being the background, my layers were not as aggressive as they would be if the central focus was drawn in already.  So I find myself searching for the degrees of depth in my shadows.  If it looks a little choppy, it is because I am adding another layer of shadows.  They will have to be blended in the next step.  I think this will be dark enough to move on to another area.  This last layer of mapping makes the fingers look more sharper in detail.   When I blend, they will look more out of focus and will recede into the background and allow the turtle to pop forward.   Well... got to head back to the drawing board while there is still a few hours left to work.  :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baby Turtle Cont.

As you can see by the date,  I took a little hiatus from drawing.  It does feel good to be back at the drawing board again... refreshed! :)  The fingers in the drawing are starting to be mapped in.  They will be out-of-focus for the most part.  The hand is pretty tan, so once the blending starts, I will be deepening the shadows and skin tone more.   It was tempting to start on the crisp clean lines of the turtle first, but I decided to try a left to right approach.  Part of this decision was due to it being such a pain in the last drawing to put the background around the already drawnYorkie.  Also, I wanted to make sure that I could get the right amount of blur in the fingers first.  My mind has a terrible habit of directing my hands to draw out-of-focus objects in focus.  This little talent comes in handy when working with a bad photo, but not so good :( when I am working on a blurry background.  I will complete the work over the top of the turtle before adding him in.  He has little bits of sand on his body that should make for a tedious challenge, and I do not want to risk smudging him. ;) 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Warmest Wishes for a Wonderful Easter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby Turtle Drawing

Sometimes the most time consuming part of a drawing is deciding what to draw.  Oh wait... I did have it picked out.  Unfortunately, this artist loves to change her mind!  There I sat over the weekend with my original choice of photo reference.   Then, four others managed to find a way into the running.  (One even had fur!)  And the truly scary thing... the pile of references were threatening to grow some more.  If not for the depletion of all of my photo paper, this little guy would probably not be being posted.  But alas... even with the promise from Amazon that photo paper was on the way,  I made my choice and here is the line drawing.

This drawing is a macro shot of a baby turtle that is being held up to the camera.  It is a spectacular photo reference, and I was thrilled at the sight of it.  There is not much to the line drawing, since most of the hand is out of focus.   I just set up some reference points for the fingers, and the harder lines to the turtle.  This drawing will be 7 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches.  I will be using my faithful 2b mechanical and 9b wood case pencils, lots of blending stumps, and kneaded eraser.  It will be interesting to see how this piece comes out, since so little of it is in focus.   But I think, it will make for an interesting way to showcase this little guy. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yorkshire Terrier Finished

I am proud to announce that this little girl is finished.  My poor 9b pencil is half the size that it started out as.  It kept shrinking layer after layer. ;)  The real payoff was when the tape came off.  I love the crisp lines.  This was the first time that I have had a black background.  I found it to be very messy.  The drafting tape is priceless in keeping the edge sharp and providing a white area around the drawing.  When cleaning up the white border beyond the tape, I picked up the wrong eraser and created a smudge. :(   Although it lightened up considerably, the tape has made enough of a border to mat around the drawing.  *whew* 

I will leave this little girl on the board for a few days before considering her finished.  My next pic is ready to be put into a line drawing, and there will not be any fur on this one! ;)  Just taking a little break to practice some hands again.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Drawing of a Yorkie 5

 Here is a quick update.  I have blended out the hair and eye and have pulled some highlights.  The leg to the right will get some darkening, but I want to see the background around it first.  The fur on that leg is considerably lighter than the one to the left.  There are a lot of stray hairs to be put in, but they will not all make it into the drawing.  I think it would look very "fly away" .  The dark background has been started Ugh! and will need to be gone over several times.  Below the paws there will be some nice reflections from the lighting to break up the monotony of the black.  I would love to see this one finished by the end of the month.   I promised myself the next subject will not require any fur!  ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Drawing of a Yorkie 4

What a week!  I started back to one of my part time jobs after a winter hiatus and am trying to get use to a packed schedule.  The first week is always the toughest.  I am looking forward to settling into a more calmer second week and getting a more set schedule for all my artwork. ;) 

As you can see, the rest of this little dog is mapped in.  My main problem with this drawing is seeing my photo reference through my Mylar cover.  This image is so dark that working under my lamp at night (which is my favorite time to draw) is almost unbearable to my eyes.  Since she is all mapped in, with the exception of the reflections and slight hints of fur in the background, I will pull the Mylar and work straight from the image.  Yay! :)   

This is a little off the subject of dogs, but...  I have made reference on my other blog about the wonders of YouTube.  As my younger sister can attest to, I was not interested in that site in the least for years.  I thought it was simply a site mainly attributed to music.  Although I have found back some cool old music videos from the past! ;)   But it is also a wealth of informative videos that some wonderfully talented people share with the world.  I cannot remember what I was searching for, but I stumbled across a brilliant Russian artist by the name of Igor Kazarin.  He works with oil paint in the dry brush technique.  This interested me, since I love to create my acrylic work with a dry brush.  This gentleman is so extremely talented. Lucky for him that I cannot hop into my car and spend my weekends looking over his shoulder!  He has many spectacular works, but please click on the link here and check out his amazing painting of Johnny Depp.  The music is awesome, the time lapse video rocks, and the talent keeps me awe struck every time I watch it.  It also lists his other equally outstanding works which are in black and white and color.  Just click on them and sit back to enjoy the show.  He also has a website that you can visit here .  If I need inspiration or am not sure if I want to put some time in on my own work, I take the 5 minutes to watch one of his videos and my world is full of the desire to perfect my own skills.  I cannot say enough how grateful that I am for him sharing of his talents.   If any of my followers have a favorite artist on YouTube, let me know.  I would love to find more talented artists to view.  My search on YouTube has only just begun! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Drawing of a Yorkie 3

The darks are going to have to get a whole lot darker, but here is where this little girl is at tonight.  My 9b pencil is starting to get some use.  I broke down and put in a few of the stray hairs to the top left.  I finally have a glimpse of what the finished piece will look like.  That is always a good shot in the arm for that last push in a drawing.  Plus, I love to create eyes, and it will be nice to see her's complete. :)  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Drawing of a Yorkie 2

This little guy is extremely difficult to photograph.  Aaaargh!   I finally just decided to not try and get a close up.  As you can see, I did not put in the background yet and am going to try and push through the majority of the dog first.  The hair from the earlier post is all complete, and the face is now starting to be mapped in.  The light source hits her forehead and  the unfinished side of the face and will make for some nice highlights.  I love doing highlights and am glad that most of the dark areas are finished.  The bottom hair of the muzzle looks a little scary right now, but in the finished work, they will be barely noticeable in the dark shadows.

The background will be what pulls this piece together in the end.  There are quite a few areas of hair on the outskirts of the coat that will be like the muzzle and be very slight in appearance.  I am worried that the 9b Prismacolor graphite will not achieve a smooth flat dark background  in such a large area.  So, I did order some Derwent Onyx Dark pencils from Dick Blick that I might try out on this piece, if I feel the 9b falls short.  * Rant Alert! :) *  Well... actually, Blick had to special order them, since they do not carry them, and I cannot find a dealer around here in the U.S..  They are one company that I cannot say enough good things about.   If you've never been to their site, I highly recommend you check them out at .  It doesn't happen often, but if they do not have an item that you want in their catalog, they will do their best to try and locate it for you.  They are just outstanding from the initial order all the way through to delivery, and the best at answering annoying questions from confused artists! ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Drawing of Yorkie Continued

How is this for being caught up in the uglier stage of a drawing?  ;)  Instead of showing you a clean section of a drawing in progress, I thought that I would show the messier stage of development.  The tuft of hair at the top is the closest to completed part of this drawing.  As you follow down the side, the hair is in varying degrees of being rendered.  Usually, I tend to do smaller areas at a time and take them to completion, but I got a little ahead of myself on this one.  So... I went back up to the top of  the hair to blend and highlight and am currently working the side of the face.  The dark background at this point is just hinted to along the sides of the hair.   It is very tempting to put in the background before going further.  This is something that I normally do not do, but the darkness of the photo reference versus the whiteness of the paper is making me distracted.   I am not sure what to do there yet.   It is frustrating to not be able to put in the highlighted stray hairs, but they really have to wait until the end of the drawing process.   I hope to have something a little more pleasant for the eyes to view in the next post... :)  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Drawing of a Yorkshire Terrier

Isn't this such a cute little dog to start on Valentine's Day?  (Of course, it would have a whole lot more appeal if it was finished!)    The size of this piece will be 6 1/4 x 9 3/4 inches.  This drawing will differ from the others due to the fact that it will have a black background, and a lot of the dog's body fades into the darkness.  This effect illuminates the subject in such a serene way.   I originally had another Yorkie pic ready to go, but I stumbled across this one and fell in love.  It even bumped the other photo out of the running for being the next piece.  I look forward to the challenge of recreating the photographer's beautiful representation of this breed.  :)     

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Finished Drawing of a Boxer

I am so happy to say that the Boxer is finished!   Believe it or not this is a little girl, too.  The photo was generously made available at a picture library, and in the file it stated that this cutie's name is Lucy.  It must be a lucky name for me! :)  The background is blurred out grass.  In retrospect, it would have been easier to do a faint cloudy background to this one and probably would have been just as effective.  Of course, I planned to keep with the photo.  After completing the background, the pattern and depth of graphite seemed to be overpowering.  My husband agreed.  So... the background got some rework :( and a considerable amount of lightening to it.  Now, both of us are happy with the result.  A lot of time could have been saved by opting out of the reference background, but of course as most of you know,  my preference has always been for busier ones. :)  (Of course during the rework, I might have given a different answer!)

I did go back and work some 9b into the dog's face and ears.  It helped to define the whiskers as they went in.  Quite a few of the hairs around the lower jaw were not defined.  Sometimes it is tempting to get carried away and put them in there, but then it throws off the natural appearance and makes the subject come across flat.  I remind myself of that all the time, since whiskers are my favorite part of animal drawings!

So what is next for the drawing board?  I have a lovely shot of my son with a little tree frog sitting on his hand that I would really like to do, but my husband is pushing for another dog.  His choice is a darling picture of a little Yorkshire Terrier.  I might do a line drawing of each and decide then, since I'm sure both will be renderings for this year. ;)    

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Drawing of a Boxer 6

Fifteen inches of snow later... and here is where I am at with my Boxer. (Not that I am implying that it takes a blizzard shutting down half of Illinois to make me work at my art.  But it does take away a lot of other options!)  The only area left on the dog is a smidge of his back and some light fur in front.  The background of the photo reference is very blurred and hazy, so it will not add much except a few faint references to shadows.  I am actually anxious to see how the 'lack' of background will affect this piece.  So many of my backgrounds are busy, and this will make for a nice change of pace.  I would like to see this one completed and a sketch in the works for the next drawing before the weekend is over, but it does no good to hurry a drawing.  The weather man is calling for sub zero wind chills here, so that will definitely limit any other activities.  (I avoid going out in the cold if at all possible!)  At any rate, the next post will be the completed work.  Yay! :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Drawing of a Boxer 5

I am currently working on the darker side of his face. It seems to be going a little faster. The lighter hairs will wait until the end of the drawing as usual. I hope to get the ear and neck in tonight. The weather forecast for tomorrow is a possible 15 inches of snow, so odds are in my favor for some drawing board time (between trips out to shovel). :) Let's just hope that the electricity stays on!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Drawing of a Boxer 4

Made a little progress this last week. His chin will get more defined when the light hairs are added. I shaded in the white of the muzzle. His forehead had very faint shadows. When I put in the black along the side of the face, the white area on the muzzle may get some darker shading. It is easier to gauge the depth of shadows in the lighter areas when I have a strong contrast present. Hopefully, I will be able to post some more progress in the next couple of days. I would like to finish this one up by the end of the month to keep on schedule... or at least be close! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Drawing of a Boxer 3

Well, I can breath a little easier (and now so can he!). The nose area had a lot of tiny details that translated to a lot of lightening and darkening (over and over again). It is such a small area with a huge impact on the overall balance. After the nose area was complete, it made it easier to map in the muzzle. The more I work on this guy...the more I am liking this composition. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Drawing of a Boxer 2

This is how he sits on the drawing board this morning. His coloring does not have a whole lot of contrast in the ear and forehead area, but I think it holds its own with the black. The area around the eye and to the side of his face was deepened in the shadows. I will go back and put in the fine hair details after the whole face is finished. The mid section of the face is white, so that should add some nice contrast to the piece. I am looking forward to getting some work done on this guy later today. Hopefully I didn't jinx myself with that statement! ;)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Drawing of a Boxer Cont.

It is hard to believe my last post that involved blending a drawing was on the 22nd of November. But I can tell you this for sure, it felt like more than a month break as I sat in front of the drawing board. This moment was when I chose my word-of -the-year (Focus!). The difficulties were comical and horrific at the same time, but I was determined not to scrap this guy. My first hurdle was the fact that this reference was not my first choice to draw, or as I call it "The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side" effect. (Just another way to feel sorry for myself by making a lame excuse for the slow start!) My second hurdle... I honestly was getting messed up in my process of starting a drawing and even found working my photo printer to be a challenge. (How pathetic is that?? And the answer is "No... I do not drink or take mind altering medication!") My third hurdle... after that does there really need to be a third?? ;)

Well, it was then that I picked "focus" for my inspirational word and told myself to pull it together. Then that lovely feeling came into the room, and I felt a familiar sense of organization come over me. My method of madness began to take hold, and the rest of the world and the static that comes with it faded away. The shadows of my reference photo began to make sense (I actually reworked the area of black twice before my old self clicked in- just in time to do the eye which is always a fun area to play with). It was at that moment that I could relax and begin to piece together my subject. I will do my best to stay focused and never let such a gap go between drawings!

This puppy is such a straight on view and not a whole lot of value (color) change on the sides of his face. It is interesting rendering such a straight on shot. I'm feeling a little bit out of my element but that is okay. It is nice to 'mix it up' once in awhile. As always, I am working with a 2b mechanical and a 9b wood pencil. I have been giving some thought to breaking into some charcoal to make the black value more intense. It will definitely be a media that I'll be spending some time with in the future...