View Full Version : Coco-A C&C's really welcomed on this

09-25-2013, 09:44 AM
This is Coco. She belongs to friends of mine and I wanted to give them a picture of her. I have attached a photo that I painted the picture from. Would really appreciate C&C on this one before I decide whether to give to them. Many thanks

Lynda Mortensen
09-25-2013, 12:02 PM
I am sure your friends would be delighted to have a picture of Coco! However, The proportions are a little out, and to solve this you could use the grid system to make a light pencil drawing first before coloring it. You need a sheet of acetate or glass, then use a fine marker to draw 1/2 inch squares on it. Place this on top of the photo, then count the number of squares vertically and horizontally that cover the part of the photo you wish to draw, then lightly divide your paper into the same number of squares. The next step is to copy what is in each square onto the same square of your paper...but surprisingly, this is best done upside down, as it stops your mind thinking about the subject and drawing what it thinks is there, and instead your mind can focus on shapes and what is actually there. Try it and see :). Because it's in watercolour, and you won't want those grid lines showing, then either erase them before you paint, or use transfer paper or a light box to trace the drawing onto your watercolour paper.

09-25-2013, 01:51 PM
Marcy, your proportions are indeed a bit off. A grid, as Lynda suggested is a good way to get them correct or you can blow up your photograph and trace it onto your watercolor paper. Getting the drawing just right can be difficult but is imperative if you want a good likeness.

I think this sweet dog is adorable and your friends will love having a painting of their treasured pet.

09-25-2013, 02:00 PM
Thanks Lynda for your time in reviewing and explaining. Sounds complicated and very time consuming but then I spend a lot of time working on bird feathers so I guess no different. Sounds interesting though and I might give it a try. I remember seeing using grid lines a while ago when viewing a tutorial on-line. Again, thank you ever so much.

09-25-2013, 02:09 PM
No Marcy - don't give it to them. Have another go and get the proportions better. Eyes look too close and not level. Shape of mouth and ears?? You have taken on a very difficult assignment which would daunt me but I'm afraid Coco looks a little owlish at present.

Mike :wave:

09-26-2013, 05:09 AM
Hi Marcy, you've been given some good advice. I will add my two cents. When you do this over and are ready to start painting, look very closely at the reference. Start with his eyes - notice the highlight and make sure you don't paint over it. Really look at his teeth and mouth. Make sure your drawing is very good on this as it make him who he is and should be painted as good as you can. I can't stress enough how important it is to really LOOK at your reference, especially when painting a portrait. Good luck!

09-26-2013, 09:46 AM
Thank you all for your suggestions on improvement. I will keep trying and trying until I get Coco's picture right as I want to gift to my friend (and her husband) of 35 years. Much thanks. There is a second dog (Chiwini name Eddie) but I am not about to tackle him yet. Was going to try to put both in same picture but that seemed overwhelming at this time to me. :wave:

M.L. Schaefer
09-26-2013, 03:38 PM
Ah, yes, the positions of the eyes, especially, is way off. I hate to use a grid, refuse to trace, and draw everything freehand, mostly eyeballing it.

BUT, if something is very difficult, I will use a piece of tracing paper and mark the main eye (the largest)from the photo. Just a pencil mark where it ends, where it begins....and I then use that to mark the placement of the other features: i.e. (example only), the nose is one eye length away, the other eye is two eye lengths away, etc. That is all from the photo.

I then free-hand draw my main eye, and then use that measurement to locate where the nose is, the other eye, etc. (i.e., the nose is one eye length away, the other eye is two eye lengths away, etc.) It sounds complicated, but is amazingly easy. :) The eye lengths are consistent measurements, and can help solve really wonky placements! How do I know that? Had my share of them!

:heart: M.
A quick (?) P.S.: Always trust your eye, and not your brain. I once drew a cat that was stretching on its back in the sun, contorted as only a cat can contort itself. I drew it, and thought That CAN NOT be right! I redrew it, erased redrew parts of it. Over and over again!!! Finally, I decided to trace it to see where the pencil marks were! It was almost exactly like what I had first drawn!!!! My eye saw the truth, my brain "rebelled!" Just some words of Wisdom (?):)

09-27-2013, 04:31 AM
Hi, Marcy -

you've chosen a challenging subject! All the advice above is excellent. However, creating a likeness of Coco that will have her essence is of prime importance in this case!
Can you get some other snapshots of Coco? Using this one, it will be difficult to paint her mouth in a way that does not look a little menacing. Even though that's far from true, her eye-catching, prominent teeth and wide open, dark mouth seem like a threatening grimace, and will be extremely difficult to paint with the sweetness of expression that your friends no doubt see in her!

Here's a snapshot of Gigi, a similar type of dog, where she seems to be smiling!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2013/183832-Chase__Gigi_6-2013_copy.jpg

I'm not suggesting that you use Gigi's picture to paint Coco, just to illustrate how even dogs' pictured expressions can be fleeting, but offer entirely different impressions in a portrait. Gigi's mouth position would be a LOT easier to draw and paint!