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New Portrait Commission: Denver

This is my newest and biggest portrait commission yet, an 11" by 14" colored pencil portrait of a white lab named Denver. This piece took a little less than a week and it was a lot of fun working at those dimensions since it's been awhile since I someone commissioned something that big.

I just wanted to quickly share my method for working on a colored pencil piece at this size. As with all of my pet portraits, they start off as a sketch to create the major shapes and general structure of the portrait subject. This is usually like a quickly drawn gesture drawing, gesture drawings are usually very loose and are drawn very quickly because it's easier to establish the shapes and general vibe of the subject you are working with. Once the gesture is drawn and the structure is established, I then carefully use solid lines in order to drawn skeletal landmarks, skeletal landmarks like the brow ridge, cheek bones, etc. Then I soften up all of the lines and begin to make the shadows because at this point everything is place and it's time to solidify everything by establishing the lighting. This usually takes the longest because I'm very meticulous about having accurate shadows and highlights. Once the piece is established in graphite I do a bit of color matching to make sure the colors are as similar if not exact as possible using my available colored pencils.

From there I use a light box and light desk to basically trace the graphite portrait using the selected colored pencils. I make very light blocks of color according to the graphite template, I do it lightly so that I can easily erase any mistakes without effecting the integrity of the paper's surface. Once the colors are blocked out, I then continue to use the graphite template to start blending and softening the color blocks into cohesive shades and values, while still working very lightly so that I can continue to be able to erase if necessary. From there I just gently saturate the whole portrait just doing layer upon layer of colors until the portrait pops more. I'll try to take some photos on the process with the next portrait.

Below is the final product!

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