Today’s submission comes from artist Christina Bodeanu. She has completed this pet portrait in graphite. WOW great job on the contrast!! You’ve also started with a VERY accurate drawing which sets you up to hit your goal of realism quite well!! You’ve done a perfect job on the direction of the fur too!
Taking a look at some things we can adjust to improve on this even more, my main tips are for placement. You’ve chopped off his feet! If you’re going to include his legs, include his feet too, they were on your reference photo, so work those in as well if you’re going to use this much of the body. Luckily on this guy, because there is so much contrast in his face, the legs going off the page like this aren’t really drawing the eyes off the page like they normally would, but that won’t always be the case on portraits. Include the legs or don’t, but don’t just chop off the feet.
My next tip is on the nose. You copied it exact to the reference photo, so great work there, but if someone saw this and not the reference photo, they would likely think you drew it lopsided. in a case like this, I would straighten the nose out. The only exception to that for me would be if this dog did have a lopsided nose, then it would make sense to leave it. If the photo was just taken while he was in mid-sniff then I would go ahead and make that adjustment.
Moving onto the background, I see where you sort of based it off of the reference photo…but not completely s now it is a bit confusing. Is it a blanket? Well no, it can’t be because the dog is super realistic and obviously the artist would be able to make it look like a blanket. Well, what is it then? Take the time to get your backgrounds just perfect. If they are not, it will pull down the rest of the piece. Here you can keep it all soft, but the straight lines which were hay bits in the photo don’t make sense here. One thing I do like about the background on your reference photo is the contrast between how dark the ground is and the light coloring of the dog. It really made him pop.
So often when we are drawing portraits we want to put all of our time into the subject and rush over the background. Make sure you spend as much time as needed to get that background just as perfect as your subject!!
This really is a beautiful piece you are an awesome pet portrait artist!!