Thank you for joining me again. The portrait of this black Bouvier is coming along very nicely. The color is beginning to take shape and the hair looks more like hair every day.
This is the fourth part in a five-part series describing how I’m layering several colors to create a natural, realistic black. If you missed any of the previous articles or would like to review them, here are the links.
- How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencil, Part 1
- How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencil, Part 2
- How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencil, Part 3
Each of the previous steps in the layering process involved introducing a new color. This week, I’ll be working with previous colors again. But I will also be adding a new color: Black.
Before adding color, however, I blended the previous layers with rubbing alcohol to fill in some of the paper holes. I also wanted to blend the colors mechanically as well as visually. Rubbing alcohol was the perfect tool for both.
It also moved the portrait several steps forward. That’s one of the reasons I recommend an alcohol blend so highly.
I used a small sable brush with the hairs trimmed quite short to apply rubbing alcohol to the darkest areas, then spread it into surrounding areas to move pigment around a little. It’s not quite as efficient as using water and watercolor, but it works quite well and the results are almost always exactly what’s needed.
Step 6: Indigo Blue & Dark Umber
When the paper was thoroughly dry, I glazed indigo blue over all of the lighter middle values and most of the highlights. These areas hadn’t been worked on before, so I used very light pressure and the side of a well-sharpened pencil to lay down color.
Most of the work was accomplished in a single layer. For some of the darker areas, I used two or three layers.
I also finished the dark parts in the eyes by using the point of the pencil and medium-heavy pressure to draw the pupils and rims of the eyes. I added black to the eyes to darken them a little bit more.
Next, I sharpened the dark umber pencil and added a glaze in the same areas. Again, I used the side of the pencil for all the work. In the lighter areas, I used light pressure. In areas with more color, I increased the pressure to light-medium. Some areas were worked over just once; others received two or three layers of dark umber.
Step 7: Adding Black
From this point on, it’s all about bringing the previous layers of individual color into harmony. I used the same colors I’d used before (indigo blue and dark umber), but added black and used all three colors together to begin finishing the drawing.
I worked from one area to the next beginning with the off side front leg. In each area, I alternated layers of dark umber and indigo blue using the sides of the pencils and medium to medium-heavy pressure. Then I used the points of the pencils—mostly dark umber—and heavy pressure to create the hair shapes. Finally, I glazed black into the entire area with light pressure in the highlights and increased pressure until I was nearly burnishing in the darkest shadows.
I did the nose, too, but didn’t finish that. I also layered dark umber into the shadowed parts of the tongue.
Next, I burnished all of the drawing except the facial features, the ears, and the lightest highlights. The shadows were most heavily burnished.
Burnishing in random areas also allowed me to create subtle variations in the middle values, a method that worked best to suggest thick hair in the front legs.
After burnishing, it was fist-full-of-pencils time. I used black, white, warm grey medium, warm grey very light, and powder blue to work up the lights and darks and the shapes of random hair masses throughout the legs and body.
At this point, the drawing is starting to look finished. Everything looks pretty good except the head, which needs quite a bit more work.
In the next post, I’ll finish the head, then put the finishing touches on the drawing as a whole.