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In Context: A Piecemeal Portrait of a Dog

December 4, 2017
Staedtler Pigment Liner on a 3M Post-it Note™, collaged with painted paper, and expanded. Blue acrylic marker was used for a frame. A Piecemeal portrait.

Sometimes when I don’t like the paper in a journal I’m working in (here a Zeta Smooth, heavyweight journal from Stillman & Birn) I will sketch on Post-it Notes™

Sometimes I save those bits of paper and make a piecemeal portrait. (See the category list for additional piecemeal portraits.)

See my four part review on the Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook beginning with this post.



    • Jeanne
    • January 15, 2018

    Loving and learning from your dog sketches, I’ve been trying to sketch my cocker spaniel. However, much of his form is covered by fuzzy, fluffy hair and fur. Ears meld into paws, and legs meld into his stomach. Can you give me advice on how to improve my sketching, suggesting both his form and fur without having to shave him? Thanks for sharing your superlative blogs – your skill and candor are appreciated.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Jean, I’m glad you enjoy my dog pictures. Please look at this post where I draw a fluffy dog.

      There you’ll see the drawing which is basically a contour drawing of the shapes of the fur and some of the shadow shapes. And in the next image you can see how I add values to those shapes to give the sense of volume.

      That’s what you need to do with your furry friend. Shadow shapes are your friend.

      Also, think about the following—the eye doesn’t need to see massive amounts of detail to understand fur. In the darkest areas there will be no detail as it’s too dark. In the lightest areas where the light hits the dog there will be no details because the light burns them out. By picking an area to describe the texture, and by having your shapes mimic that texture (ragged in the case of the post I’m pointing out to you) then that’s enough and the eye reads it as a fur covered dog.

      Go to one of my blog pages and find the category list in the left column under the search engine. Click on the menu “Select Category” and it will open. Scroll down to dogs and click on it. Then a whole bunch of posts will come up with dog drawings and paintings and you can scroll through those for additional ideas.

      Have fun sketching your dog!

    2. Reply

      Jeanne, here’s one more example for you

      It’s a white dog and by showing some very minimal hair texture and ragged edges and some shadow areas you get the impression of a dog, the shape of the dog, and that it is furry.

    3. Reply

      One more example using a one ink color approacher and a shaggy dog. You select the hair texture that’s going to be useful to get your message across

      But note that I went a little crazy in the throat area because I love sketching hair and it’s shadowy down there but not totally dark so I thought it would be OK. I’m just saying I think I over did it. You’ll find the more you draw your dog the more you’ll work out a way to deal with that fur if you stick to shapes, shadow shapes, and selective detail

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