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 Starbuck in Pastel Pencil

Starbuck was drawn with Derwent pastel pencils on Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel paper in Blue Haze, a blue grey shade chosen to act as a mid-tone for his fur. This type of paper allows for the many layers of colour needed to give the dog character. Note how little actual black is used in this project. Instead, layers of various darks are built up to give the dog's coat more life. When doing animal portraits, ensure you have at least one clear, sharp reference photo. The more photos you have from different angles, the better you know your subject.

You will need

Derwent Pastel Pencils:

Marigold P080, Cadmium Red P130, Crimson  P160, Dioxozine Purple P280, Indigo P360, Powder Blue P310, Chocolate P590, Burnt Carmine P610, Terracotta P640, French Grey Dark P650,  Aluminium Grey P680,  Blue Grey P690, Carbon Black P710, Titanium White P720.

Derwent paper stump, Derwent pastel pencil sharpener or craft knife, kneadable eraser.

HB pencil, plastic eraser,  dusting brush. A dark grey coloured pencil is useful for signing your work, easier to write with than pastel pencil.

Sandpaper block or piece of sandpaper for sharpening and cleaning tips of pencils.

Spare paper to test your colours and strokes and to clean the paper stump. Also useful to rest your wrist on to prevent smudging your work.

Tracing paper or Tracedown paper, drawing board or foamboard, masking tape. 

 Tip: working upright at an easel minimises dust on your clean paper. Start at the top and work downwards to avoid smudging. 


Step 1

First draw the dogís outline onto the pastel paper and place the features as exactly as you can. Start building up colour around the eye sockets with blue grey, then indigo in long, directional strokes. Add terracotta to the irises, chocolate to the pupils and white highlights. Colours can be deepened later. Use aluminium in tiny circles for the nose, stroking indigo, blue grey and white around the edge to set it into the face. Add highlights. The forehead is aluminium, fading to white at the top. Blend gently with your finger, a blender or a small piece of clean rag. Use blue grey and indigo to shade the area between the face and the ear.







Tip: apply the colours in directional lines following the contours of the animalís face. Use a variety of long and short and stippled marks depending on the length of the coat e.g. longer on the ears, shorter on the muzzle, stippled on the bridge of the nose.




Step 2

Start to shape the curl of the ears using blue grey and white in long, wavy strokes, noting where the light and shade falls. Add a touch of marigold to the lower part of the dogís eye to make it shinier and deepen the pupils with black. Deepen the tone around the eyes and nose and in the nostrils with layers of purple followed by indigo, using black for only the very darkest parts of the eye socket. Stipple indigo, blue grey and white on the bridge of the nose. The key is to keep the markings and facial shape accurate while softly blending the colours into one another. Use the same colours to start the neck, leaving space for the tags. Indicate the collar with cadmium red and crimson.






Tip: use a light touch for the first layers, pressing more heavily for the later highlights.




Step 3

Darken the nose with blue grey and add more highlights if needed. Continue deepening the tones of the dark fur by adding layers of indigo, sometimes with burgundy or burnt carmine underneath for variety. Add more layers of the various greys, powder blue and white to the ears and muzzle in long strokes. Build up the shape of the tags with French grey dark, aluminium and white.










Step 4

Use the greys, powder blue and white in long, wavy strokes to build up colour on the dogís chest and ears. Make shadows beneath each ear and around the edge of the face with purple and indigo. This will bring the ears forward and help make the dog look alert.











Step 5

Work on the muzzle and bridge of the nose. Use shorter strokes of various lights and darks to merge the edges of the paler and deeper areas. Cut the light into the dark and visa versa. This will make the image more cohesive.










Step 6

Leave your work for a while, preferably a day or two, then go back to it with fresh eyes. Adjust any areas as needed but donít be tempted to fiddle too much or you may lose the painterly feel. Finally clean any dust off the background with the kneadable eraser.



 I hope you have enjoyed capturing Starbuck in pastel pencils.






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