View Full Version : Demo of sorts or Vicky, Bambam the Pom

04-25-2008, 09:34 PM
Hi Guys,
A while ago I agreed to try and paint one of Vickyís dogs, Bambam, and do a demo of sorts of how I did it. The ref of him is tiny and blurred so I found another picture of a Pom in a better pose and planned to make an amalgamation of the two. Itís not something I have tried before, then again neither is trying to do fur on Colourfix paper, so itís going to be more of an adventure than a demo. Having spent many an hour over the last few weeks doing fairly detailed pencil works I am ready to try and do something looser and more painted than drawn. It was Vickys birthday a couple of days ago so true to my word I have made a start. Iíll try to explain my thinking at each step and C&C is most welcome so where my thinking is dumb then please tell me. I hope that maybe there will be something useful here for someone and that the journey will be entertaining and not too painful. So here we go, Bambam a WIP on Colourfix 14x11 inches, Pastel pencils, Faber hard pastels and maybe a softie or two still to come later.
To start here are the refs I have to work from. Neither is particularly good but as I really donít want to go for a realistic finish I think I can manage. Bambam is the little reddish fella. The other ref I printed off 2 copies, one dark and one light, to give me a better idea of shapes and outlines.

Before printing off the refs I put 4 crosses on it, one in each corner. This allows for easy matching up of tracing paper between copies and of course if you wish you can mark your painting the same way and use the traced overlay later on when you lose the drawing. Although I have never done it yet I have thought that using overhead projection transparencies could be useful for work where accuracy is a must. Simply overlay and draw the key points in pen and at any time you can match your crosses and check all is ok. But for the purposes of this piece Iím simply saving time and getting the main measurements done quickly. I trace the elements I think are important and then use a soft pastel of a colour that will show up on the back of the tracing paper and transfer to the Colourfix. Itís all done very loosely really as the transfer will not be very accurate. Colin Bradley uses carbon paper in his demos to do this but I find it can bleed easily into your work and might take a week or more to show.

Ok so here we have the all the elements and measurements I think I need. So I use a pink pastel on the back of the tracing and go over the lines again to transfer. I have chosen a green surface to work on as I plan to use a fair amount of red in the piece. Iím hoping this will give more vibrancy. As you can see, the transfer is pretty rough and my next task is to go over it and draw more accurately the foundation. To the left youíll see one of my many sheets of sandpaper I keep handy for sharpening up my pencils and pastels as I work. Until recently I shied away from sharpening as it seemed such a waste of all those expensive pigments. I have learned that it really is essential to not be afraid of creating a usable edge or point to work with as in truth youíll dust off and erase more pastel in corrections and retries than youíll lose in sharpening in the first place. If painting in oils we would go for a bigger or smaller brush without a second thought but with pastel sticks I was so reluctant to modify and edge to work with, silly really.

Ok, now itís time to start drawing in more solidly but still keeping it light enough to make changes. I start collecting pencils in a tray at this point to build a palette of colours that Iíll keep using throughout and also to remind me what I have used. Iím not overly bothered yet about being accurate as itís a general feel Iím after. There are 2 things Iím thinking about just now. Firstly I want to establish tones and get all the different areas close to where they need to be to get some form. Secondly Iím looking to indicate fur direction and edges. Also if Iím going to make this fairly colourful then now is a good time to add some Ďover the topí colours and the lights as they can be covered up later and dulled down and the lights can be recovered a bit if lost. The white you can see here is a charcoal pencil used lightly which will be covered soon and I have a personal rule not to use any white until the finish . Things are already starting to get a bit worrying as there is a straight line down the left hand side of the picture as we view it. The nose is the wrong shape and I cannot clearly see the shape of the snout. The eyes have no eyeballs just dark spheres and on the ref of Bambam I have no idea of the inside colour of his ears. Considering that I work my animal paintings around eyes, nose and ears then a certain amount of panic is setting in now. But Iíll try to keep it all fairly dark for now and see how we go.

04-25-2008, 09:38 PM
The next few stages sort of explain themselves really. I have added some colour to the inner ears for now but plan to cover it with hairs mostly. I have discovered that my ref doesn't show me much detail on the mouth either now. Hmm, eyes, nose, ear and mouth all a bit scratchy, oops who picked this? Oh yeh it was me. Added some detail to the eyes that wasnít there to see how they looked and itíll do for now as I plan to work dark over them. Trying to establish the tongue colour in relation to the rest of the piece and vice versa as it should be fairly constant whatever colour the fur is.

More of the same really. The nose is still awful but the tongue is working for me now to provide a key to other areas. Doesnít that red stand out well against the green? Lol Starting to use the Faber sticks now quite lightly and loosely to define directions and the colours I want to show through once I knock it all back a bit. Still have that horrid straight line on the left to get rid of.

This is where the day finished. I went over the eyes with a deep Prussian blue and pencil blended what was there before to remove the definition. I blocked the muzzle in and finger blended (only bit of finger blending so far) to provide a base to develop from. I have extended the collar fur to remove that nasty line and added a little purple into the yellow for the hell of it. I will go back into that area under the chin with some cooler colours and add some shadows when I work out where they should be. I need to look hard at the left hand side at the top where I have ended the fur as the poor little soul looks hunchbacked just now. Not sure about the snout width or the head shape around the left ear. Oh and his nose looks like itís been badly photoshopped on from another dog. Apart from that itís coming along fine.
More to come after the weekend if you can stand it

04-25-2008, 09:56 PM
wow great job Gary, thanks for the demo on how you work, it is always fascinating to see how people approach things! :clap:

04-25-2008, 10:20 PM
Thank you Joni for your support, on a wing and a prayer here lol
take care

04-27-2008, 06:13 AM
Fantastic thread Gary. I enjoy these types the most. I too enjoy seeing how others go about their work.

All the best,

Tennessee artist
04-27-2008, 10:22 PM
awesome gary!!! Cant waite to see the rest and learn!!!! three cheers gary!

04-28-2008, 08:01 AM
I really like the way you are sharing your thoughts and critiques as you work. It is always helpful to me and I learn more that way. Thanks for doing this...

Oh I like what I see, too!


04-28-2008, 11:12 AM
Thank you PastelPusher, softjewel and springbaby for your replies. I have been working on one WC's monthly challenges so far today but have had time to cast a fresh eye on this piece as well as get a bit more info about Bambams true colouring. So I shall return to him later on to make a few adjustments and see how far we get.
Back later

Rose Baggs
04-28-2008, 11:35 AM
It's coming along nicely Gary!!! :)

04-28-2008, 07:31 PM
It's great that we get to see so many stages of the WIP. Nice work so far Gary :)

04-29-2008, 04:35 PM
Hi again and thanks for dropping in Rose and Patrick.

Well, after taking a good long look at it with fresh eyes I decided I needed to make a few shape changes and make decision about my light source. A bright yellow warm light would work well with the reds , pinks and yellows in the fur so that part was easy. I noticed that I had totally lost the shape of the jaw on the right hand side of the picture and wanted to narrow down the left hand side quite a bit too. I have never been one to try erasing pastel and usually just try to work over the top but this time I thought Iíd try out an idea. As a way of being accurate and getting into tight places I tried an electric toothbrush to vibrate the pastel off without smearing it all over the place. You can see the results here where Iíve gone straight back to the green surface. It worked great and Iíll be curious to see how it works on other surfaces.

This next stage shows where I have drawn in white the shapes I want. The paint shaper was used to move the existing pastel about a bit and blend the collar fur down. I find it a really useful tool for creating straight edges and for making fur textures.

I didnít want the green paper showing through in the finish so used some charcoal to frame the subject. I also took this photo and put it into Photoshop and played with the collar fur on the left hand side until I was happy with the shape. I have added some purple, blue and brown to start to work out the shadow areas under the chin. The nose will be mostly purple, violet and black which should work well with some light yellow highlighted fur around it.


04-29-2008, 04:36 PM
This is the last step today and I have started with the softies. I used a few Unison natural earth colours along with Rowney oranges, reds, yellows and pinks. Everything is still nice and loose just adding strokes in the fur direction. I think the Rowney purple-brown works well on the shadow side and when I get back to this Iíll be looking to blend it cooler and darker with some of those wonderful Ludwig darks. After that it will be time to try and get the nose right and darken the top of the snout. Once thatís done Iíll go over the whole thing with the blender to tidy it up a bit before deciding what still needs attention.
Thanks for looking in
Gary :wave:

04-29-2008, 08:07 PM
Oh Gary, this is wonderful! I'm enjoying seeing how you're doing everything .... Just great!

nana b
04-29-2008, 08:27 PM
He's looking great! Can't wait for the finish!


04-29-2008, 08:47 PM
Thanks for the support Doll and Nana. I hope some of my stages will be helpful and we'll get to a nice conclusion

04-29-2008, 11:47 PM
Wow Gary very nice indeed. I also like to see the steps it takes to get to the end. Thanks for showing

Tennessee artist
04-30-2008, 08:01 PM
woo hoo looking good Gary cant waite to see it finished

04-30-2008, 08:11 PM
I really enjoyed your musing as you posted Gary...and it is coming along great! I love the colors you have chosen.

05-01-2008, 01:40 AM
Looking good Gary, love the electric toothbrush tip, thanks..i have an old one floating around so might use it next time i need to remove pastel..i use one of those paint shaper thingys, except mine is the sponge you use to smudge your eyeliner, it works a treat, guess you wouldnt have one of them handy..haha... Well done, hes coming along beautifully..

05-01-2008, 10:47 PM
Hi again, thank you for the comments again folks. Ok here's an update. Worked a bit on the nose and snout and smoothed out the fur. I have wiped off some of the pastel under the chin on the right with a tissue and will darken that area some more yet to add more contrast. Still need to work out the lighter area above the right eye to add a bit more form and generally tidy up here and there but we're not far off finishing now

05-02-2008, 04:31 AM
Looking terrific Gary. The expression is fantastic and conveys a lot of life. Thanks for posting these stages.