Ok, I'll dive in. This is the first time I've done a graphite drawing. It started off as drawing practice in my sketchbook, but then seem to want to be developed.
I've been doing mostly cartoon characters for the last year, one or two CP pieces, but never realised how lovely graphite/charcoal can be. I probably need to dabble in it a bit more, since I struggled so much with values in CP, probably too new.
I started off using the smudging method, but really, I seem to think that he looks better without it, although still it's there. Once I did the blending/smudging,it's impossible to take away completely, and I'm just not sure which way to go with it. So some is blended/smudged, some is free strokes. He's got some minute crazy-silly cute little kinked furs on his chin, and the blending took away from that, so I left them as strokes. What do you think?
As I was progressing, I came across JD Hillberry (as you do) and his demos on getting really dark values by combining charcoal and carbon with graphite. Up to that point, I'd only been using 2b a la Lee Hammond. So then I started incorporating some charcoal, but at this stage it was hard to get blended in. I don't think I've done too badly for a first go.
With the grass/hay or whatever it is I've produced, I tried Mike Sibley's negative drawing for grass, intending to get straw like in the source pic, but I didn't succeed. I don't' care now if it isn't exact, but just want it look ok, if you have any suggestions there. I've done the shadows under the belly between the legs, but am unsure how to finish it. I though of possibly doing a vignette to balance that out, but I've read some artist's don't recommend them. You can see I've also made his eye a little more animated than in the picture. I think it's better, but I have to be careful, I lean toward a cartoony style, I think, because that's all I've practiced the last year. His ear doesn't look finished to me, either.
Finally, the pic was taken slightly on an angle and I didn't realise the effect it might have, so if it looks slightly wonky, he wasn't photographed head-on. Also seem to have come out bluish, despite my trying to adjust them, so there's 2 versions. All help appreciated to help finish him, (and I don't mean a bacon sandwich!!!) and please be gentle!
Source pic also below: