Today, I’m going to show you how to draw a dog’s ear on Pastelmat.
The dog is a Welsh Corgi and is a recently completed portrait. Corgis have stand-up ears, and, since this dog is a tri-color, there is a confusing mix of color inside the ear. At least it looks confusing at first glance.
I will tell you that after laying in the base layers, I left the ears for last because they looked so challenging. As it turned out, they weren’t that difficult at all.
The focus for this step-by-step is the ear on the right side of the portrait, because it shows the most detail.
Let’s get started.
How to Draw a Dog’s Ear on Pastelmat
Here is a close-up version of the reference photo.
You can copy this image to use for making your line drawing, or you can lightly sketch the ear. The reference photo isn’t very high resolution, so I suggest a quick sketch. The general shape is all you need to draw.
I used White Pastelmat and Polychromos pencils for this demo. You can use any paper and pencils, but if you use traditional paper, you results may vary.
Layer Cream into all of the areas where you see any brown or light-colored hair. Cream is the lightest value in this area and therefore a good base color. Use scumbling (circular) strokes and medium or lighter pressure to cover the paper as smoothly as possible.
If you’re working on Pastelmat, it’s not important to keep your pencil needle-sharp. If you’re working on a traditional paper, make sure your pencil is sharp.
Next, layer Black on the tip and side of the ear with a combination of scumbling and directional strokes. Leave the outside edges white.
Use directional strokes to draw the black hair at the base of the ear.
Notice that the color at the tip of the ear is smoother. That’s where I used both scumbling and directional strokes. Along the sides and at the base, I used only directional strokes because there’s more visible hair texture in these areas.
Next, use a combination of directional and scumbling strokes to add Terracotta to the redder areas inside the ear.
Just above the black hair at the base of the ear, where there is visible hair texture, use directional strokes and light pressure. Match the strokes to the shapes you see: Long strokes for longer hair and short strokes for shorter hair.
Use light pressure throughout and follow the reference photo as closely as you can.
Layer Dark Indigo over the dark areas with a sharpish pencil and medium-light to medium pressure. Vary the type of stroke depending on the visible hair texture.
Where black hair overlaps the browns near the base of the ear and where it is seen through the brown hair near the tip, add a few directional strokes of Black. Use light pressure and a sharp pencil.
Also add a few strokes of Black over the brown marks near the bottom of the ear at the base.
Continue to work around the highlights around the edges of the ear.
Now start adding red-browns with Terra Cotta to the places where brown transitions into black around the edges and at the base of the ear. Use light pressure and directional strokes in the darker brown areas. Make sure your pencil is very sharp.
Vary the length and curve of strokes to fit each group of hair, and create the look of more realistic hair. Don’t make all of the marks look the same.
If you need to darken any of these areas, it’s best to add more layers, rather than increase the pressure.
Continue stroking in combinations of Black and Terra Cotta using light to medium-light pressure. Follow the pattern of colors and values visible in the reference photo. If you cannot see detail in an area, don’t assume you need to add detail in that area. Instead, draw what you see.
This looks like a big leap forward between Step 4 and Step 5. It isn’t. It’s just the adding of several layers of color.
Continue adding bits of color here and there with sharp pencils. Follow the direction of hair growth and compare your drawing to the reference photo often.
And don’t give up!
Next, scumble Dark Indigo into the blacks in the ear. Use a sharp pencil and light to medium-light pressure.
Then blend the black area near the tip of the ear with scumbling strokes and Cold Grey II.
Add Black in the dark areas just as you have been doing. But add Dark Indigo in the cooler areas and Caput Mortuum in the warmer blacks to give the black more richness. You can also mix these two colors with Black to create smooth transitions in color.
Use medium-light to medium pressure and match strokes to the texture you see in the reference photo. If you don’t see any texture, use scumbling strokes.
In the brown areas, mix layers of Cream and Terra Cotta. After applying several hair-like strokes, glaze Green Gold and Nougat over the left side of the brown area, which is in deeper shadow than the right half.
Around the edges of the ear, use Cold Grey II and Cold Grey IV stroked one into the other and into the Black closer to the inside of the ear.
Finish the ear with alternating layers of Dark Indigo, Caput Mortuum Violet and Black in the black parts of the ear.
In the brown areas, start with Ivory and Cream, then add Sanquine in the more reddish areas.
For both color areas, use directional strokes applied with medium to medium-heavy pressure and sharp pencils. At this stage, it’s important to keep the pencils sharp. Overlap strokes and colors, but follow the direction of hair and hair groups to the best of your ability.
After a few layers of each color group, glaze with Cold Grey I to smooth out the colors. Use a sharp pencil and light pressure.
Then add more layers using the same colors in the same areas.
After that, blend with Nougat. Once again, blend with light pressure, scumbling strokes, and sharp pencils.
Continue adding color and blending until the ear looks finished to you.
The Bottom Line
That’s how to draw a dog’s ear on Pastelmat. You can use this process on any type of dog’s ear or on any other subject.
The real key is to work carefully and slowly, pay close attention to your reference photo, and match strokes with the type of texture you’re drawing.
Here is the finished portrait.
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