I Can’t Resist a Cute Dog

June 30, 2017
This is a photo of the original ink sketch. (I didn’t have lights set up.) You can see that I was interested in simply getting down some rough shapes. I knew that I would build areas up with color and value.

I’ve never been able to resist cute dogs. (I have a very broad definition of what constitutes cute—just ask my friends who go on walks with me and put up with my frequent stops to chat up dogs.)

I thought you might enjoy this cute dog experiment. I selected an image from Sktchy because I was housebound the other day. I sketched using a Uniball Vision with green-black ink on Canson Watercolor board. Then I added watercolors. I typically don’t like the phthalo or helio blues, but on this day I went for those green cast blues.

Typically the Uniball Vision is waterproof but on this board it took longer to dry because of the sizing, so sometimes it blended with the watercolor. I knew that going in and it didn’t bother me.

What I didn’t like was the way the Canson Watercolor Board had such a pronounced, repetitive texture that it was obvious and distracting when scanned. (See the final image where the watercolor washes make it the most notable.

I won’t be buying more of this board and I’ll use what I have up with pen and ink sketches and gouache sketches. I’ve found the texture is not so obvious when I work in those media.

Here’s the finished sketch.

This was one of my loose page journal pages, but I liked the result so much I trimmed the 6 x 9 inch board down to fit a small 5 x 7 inch frame and now have this pups staring at me just above my drawing table. He always makes me smile.

A detail of the watercolor sketch. The texture of the board can be clearly seen.

Here’s a detail from this watercolor sketch so that you can see the repetitive board texture even better. Except for that issue of texture it’s actually quite fun to work on this board. It takes inks of all types well, keeping crisp lines. Given enough time before applying the wet washes I’ve found most of my usual sketching pens work in a waterproof fashion on this paper.

I think you can also see from the detail image I’ve included that it is possible to pick up areas of color (see near the ear) if your washes get too dark. (Other areas of lightness are early washes that were simply not build up with darker values.)

You’ll see the repetitive texture most clearly in the dark areas around the eye. There’s a sort of slanted ridging to the downward right that is the texture of the board. Actually now that I look at both views of the finished image I can see the texture is quite noticeable in the full image as well. You will clearly get the idea. If this texture doesn’t distract or bother  you than you might enjoy working on this board.






    • Billby
    • June 30, 2017

    Love the washes. Guess my screen (or eyes :-)) don’t pick up the repetitive paper texture, but the subtle transitions in the darks are really nice. bill b.

    1. Reply

      Click on the detail drawing at the bottom of the post Bill and you’ll go to a blow up of the image. Then look at the eye and through it and above and below it you’ll see a “ridging” that goes up at the left and down at the right and runs in a uniform pattern through the image. That’s the board texture. It’s very visible in person even without a close up.

      Glad you enjoyed the washes. I really liked painting it so that it skewed greenish.

    • KerowynA
    • July 1, 2017

    I love these colors! What did you use?

    1. Reply

      I was using one of my Schmincke Pan Watercolor palettes that has a couple pans of Daniel Smith colors. I was working with Helio Blue Reddish and quin gold (D.S.), and then a bit of Translucent orange. You can see all three of the colors in the painting in their pure form.

      Oh, and for the eyes I allowed myself a little bit of English Venetian Red mixed with translucent orange and Helio Blue Reddish. And one small dot of Schmincke Titanium white gouache in each eye, but washed over in the eye on our left. All the other bits of white in the image are just paper color.

      The colors were also influenced by the ink I used to sketch. If you look on our right at the base of the ear you can see the dark blue ink bleeding into the wash. This happened everywhere and altered the color mixes. It was sort of a forest green that diluted out to a Kelly green.

      I don’t typically like the phthalo blues, but I’ve been experimenting with them for the past two years and am starting to really like them.

    • Tina Koyama
    • July 2, 2017

    Perfect catchlight in the pup’s eye.

    – Tina

    1. Reply

      Thanks Tina, I was particularly happy with the way the shadowed eyes turned out too.

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