This week’s submission comes from artist Vasile Mihai who has drawn this rottweiler in soft pastels and pastel pencils. This was her very first pet portrait! I love your values on this!! You weren’t afraid to get your darks and lights as they should be!! That fact alone made your work look quite realistic! Your perspective and detail are really good too. The colors you used to tone down the bright white on the tongue really improved on the reference photo.
First let’s take a look at the initial drawing. I’ve imported this into photoshop, laid your reference over your work, lined up the eye, then outlined the reference so that we can better see how accurate your drawing is. This one was different than usual because each individual area was pretty accurate, but when, put all together everything was off. If I lined up the eye to the reference as shown here, you can see that everything else is too small. If I lined up the muzzle, then it throws off all the other areas of the drawing.
My biggest tip for making sure that your drawing is accurate before you start shading is to check your work against itself. I show how you can do that in this video:
Now you may be asking why then, if the drawing is off, does it still look so realistic? This is such a great example of what I’m always talking about. Contrast. Your contrast is so awesome that the way you’ve shaded and added highlights, even with the outlines being off, it still looks realistic! Contrast can make up for a whole lot!!
My next tip for this guy is on the fur. When you try and draw in each individual strand of fur, you’re not necessarily making the fur look more realistic. Often, you will end up making the fur look scruffy instead of smooth as it should. With a short coated breed like this, you will have some strands and clumps of fur showing, but not everywhere. If you just soften those fur marks out that will make a huge difference. And this is seriously easy to do using pastels, just smudge them out! You don’t want to get rid of all the detail, you just want to soften it out. You did an awesome job of getting all those fur strokes to go in the right direction though! Good job!
My last tip on this guy is to add the ultramarine blue in that is in the reference photo. Black is super reflective. If you want to make a black dog look shiny, get those reflections in the coat! You started to, I can see a couple of spots of blue, but yours is more of a green blue. Get that blue that is closer to purple on the color wheel like is in your reference photo and really layer that in there. You will take a black dog’s coat from looking a dull to shiny by making that one adjustment!
You’ve done an amazing job on this piece! Keep it up!!