View Full Version : WIP Need Help With Painting White Snoopy

A Few Pigments
05-11-2005, 03:19 PM
Iím trying to paint a white soft toy. In this case itís a white Snoopy. Iím having a devil of a time with the values. Does anyone have any advice in regard to painting white objects? All advice greatly appreciated.


05-13-2005, 03:59 PM
Hi Bruce, it may be that you are not aware just how dark those darks in the white fur are. Common sense tells us the fur is white and the shadows will not be all that dark, so that's what we see. I see you've gone for one colour. I suppose the fur will pick up light differently to other surfaces we might be used to, but I'd still expect to see some different colours from the surroundings in there, especially the shadows. What was the ambient light colour? I'd expect green at the least.


A Few Pigments
05-14-2005, 12:10 AM
Hi Mikey,

In 2 days youíre the only one whoís said anything. Thank you Mikey. Okay, I know about using cool colours in shadows, but I was reading again about how Van Eyck would pick a colour for an object, then make a light value from that colour and a dark value from that colour and use the 3 values to paint an object. Iím trying to make that work here, sort of.

Iíve been reading again about Giotto and his subtle shadows. Iím thinking of trying to do a painting in the style of the mid 1300ís. could be fun after trying to learn from much more recent artists.

05-14-2005, 03:49 AM
HI Bruce, I think it's always good to push the limits with experiment, and simple keeps us to the point.


05-14-2005, 08:00 AM
Hi Bruce.....I think snoopy's fur looks very silky.....if the fur is whiter...try some zinc white with a touch of cad yellow light....comes out a really glowing white...especially if you leave some of the values you have as medium value..and then put the darks in as Mikey suggested....
at the moment I'd rather be painting your snoopy then my darn sketch for this mural commission..... :D :D
cheers kim
ps he's very cute.... :wave:

Anita Murphy
05-14-2005, 09:25 AM
Bruce - not sure how I missed this one! I'm with Mikey on deepening the shadows and Kim on lightening the lights. Where his nose/muzzle protrudes from his face shouldn't the shadows be deeper - its a bit flat at the moment and one thing about Snoopy is he has a BIG nose! Does that make any sense?

A Few Pigments
05-14-2005, 03:43 PM
Hi Kim,
Itís funny you should say youíd rather be working on this Snoopy instead of your commission because Iíd rather be working on any commission then this stupid little SnoopyÖLOL. I have zinc yellow, cad yellow light and cad yellow medium, but I seldom use them. To me they seem garish compared to Naples yellow. Would Naples yellow work? Iím using burnt sienna as the body color. Itís not easy working with such a limited palette, but I enjoy it. It makes me think more. Sometimes it makes me think I shouldnít work with such a limited paletteÖlol. Thank you for your advice. :)

Hi Anita,
Yes his nose needs more work. I saw a show once on TV where other cartoonists were talking about the Peanuts comic strip and they all agreed only Charles M. Schulz could draw Snoopy properly. I guess I have my work cut out for me. Thank you for your advice. :)

05-14-2005, 05:07 PM
Hi Bruce :wave:

( I haven't been around much in recent days :( - just catching up around the forums )

I think you've already got that feel of fur-fabric, and the way it catches the light, very nicely here.

A while ago there was a thread on painting white puppies - you might find the comments that I, and others, made there, to be helpful?


I think naples yellow might work - but the others would too, "knocked back" with some white or very pale grey (or just a hint of a complementary to grey it a touch?).

Your colour/value choices often do seem to be a bit "pastel" - That's part of your style I think, and I'm not convinced that its something we should be trying to get you to change - I'm not sure "Snoopy a la Caravaggio" is where we should be going with this :)

"Pastel" here certainly suits the subject and is part of the charm of the painting I think - you could push the lights and darks a little if you wanted a bit more dynamic range, but don't overdo it.

Hope this is of some help


A Few Pigments
05-14-2005, 07:44 PM
Originally posted by dcorc
Your colour/value choices often do seem to be a bit "pastel"

Youíve piqued my curiosity. Can you please post a link to a painting in oil Iíve done that you consider to contain ďpastel colours/valuesĒ. As you know Iím still a rank amateur at this game of art (one might say a poser) so any example you could provide would be helpful. :)

05-14-2005, 08:34 PM
Hi Bruce

I was thinking that you seem to select quite tight sets of mid-values - in this or "soft rhino (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=260247)", for example - if we have a look at a "levels" graph for Snoopy, for example:


(for those not familiar - the brightness is plotted horizontally, from black on the left to white on the right, and the vertical shows the proportion of pixels which are at each brightness level)

So here we see that there are very few near-white, or near-black areas in the image - most of the "action" is in the middle.

I don't have a way of showing your colours in an image on a colour wheel, but I'd guess that they tend to fall more centrally, rather than towards the outer edges associated with high chroma/saturation (Einion will probably tell me off for using terms loosely :D )

This combination of gentle colour and level choices is what I described as "pastel" (for comparison, I'm increasingly aware that personally, I often err in my own paintings towards making things excessively contrasty, and need to work on keeping my own values tighter)

Not a criticism, Bruce, just an observation :)


A Few Pigments
05-14-2005, 09:31 PM
Hi Dave,

I know itís not a criticism. You always try to be constructive rather than destructive. The Soft Rhino painting I though would be better lighter as itís intended for a childís room.

One wonders, in regard to my other paintings, if my tendency towards lighter values could be explained by the fact that not making shadows dark enough is a common problem with beginning artist. Iím sure that has a lot to do with it.

I remember you remarking in the past I have a subtle way of doing things. May be I should copy a Caravaggio.

I was just thinking in The Soft Rhino there is quite a bit of colour contrast betwixt the earth colour of the Rhino and the blue in the background and foreground. Iím working on a portrait now http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3524790&postcount=102 where I again used colour contrast in a similar way. May subconsciously I prefer colour contrast to value contrast, becaues I seem to be using colour contrast more than value contrast? I never really thought about it before. The journey continues.

Thank you for making me think. I should try it more often. :)

05-17-2005, 05:17 AM
Very very interesting information Bruce...(and Dave)....funny how the obvious doesn't stick out until it's pointed out by objective eyes....I think I used to think more in colour rather than value and I think I keep learning the difference by copying the masters...Degas in particular.....every time I copy a master....my next original painting is always a bit better...(IMO)......no wonder the masters had so many apprentices who became masters themselves...... :D
cheers kim

05-17-2005, 05:20 AM
Hi Bruce, I think your snoopy is going to look amazing when done! :clap:

A Few Pigments
05-17-2005, 07:19 PM
Hi Lisa, I donít think Iíve learned enough to make anything look amazing yet, but Iíll post the finial painting anyway. Iíll be happy if it looks like snoopy.

Hi Kim, I think youíre right about copying the work of the masters. My personal favorite is Anders Zorn. He was brilliant at getting the most from a limited palette. I should copy another one of his.

A Few Pigments
05-27-2005, 08:34 PM
I had another go at this painting. I was thinking may be I should just call it A Christmas Snoopy With A Florida SuntanÖno. Iíll try painting it again.


05-28-2005, 08:40 AM
Hi Bruce.....I think snoopy is looking more grounded and more a dog of substance.....I like the darker values.......and you have retained the texture of his fur....... :) :cool:
cheers kim

05-28-2005, 02:19 PM
Second image posting = muchly improved !

A Few Pigments
05-28-2005, 03:39 PM
Hi Gilberte, I guess it does look a little better, but Iíll try it again and see if I can get it right this time. I was thinking John Singer Sargent did a portrait that was white on white. May be I should try doing a copy of it.

Hi Kim, I was trying to keep the values too light the first time so I guess the darker values work better.

05-29-2005, 04:18 PM
Hi Bruce - I think this works well with the greater contrast. The paint handling is very nice still, and gives the feel of the fur-fabric well

- have you ever tried doing a painting only in black and white (I mean grayscale, by this) - it can be a very useful exercise to concentrate purely on values. (A while ago, I was shooting some video with friends, and one of the things we did was to set up the lighting for the shots so they looked good on a monitor in black and white, even though the finished thing will be in colour)


A Few Pigments
05-29-2005, 11:58 PM
Hi, Greetings, Salutations and how ya doin Dave,

Thank you for your suggestion. Iíll be doing a verdaccio when I paint Lisa. That will give me some practice with sfumato and chiaroscuro as well.

I know it was popular for a while to do an under painting in black and white, but I donít think da Vinci ever did that. He seems to have used black, white and ocher for his verdaccios. I was surprised to learn da Vinci worked the same way as Jan van Eyck. The only difference was da Vinci toned his gesso with a very little bit of raw umber, but only a very little bit. And da Vinci added green to the shadows of his verdaccio before he started glazing.

Iíll try to finish this Snoopy in opaque layers and then may be I could try painting it again using da Vinci's method.

05-30-2005, 05:04 AM
Hi Bruce, Second posting much improved. Great fur effect and tonal values! Keep on pushing! :)

05-30-2005, 05:08 AM
Ah Yes Bruce......SNOOPY DA VINCI.......sounds good..... :D
cheers kim