One of my goals for this year is to explore many different illustration approaches and media. Since I love my dogs so much I chose one of them, a Dachshund, as inspiration for a bunch of these sketches. I’d like to eventually add more styles to the custom pet portraits I create for my pet accessories shop, Oxford Dogma. Or maybe offer prints of different breeds if people would be interested in those as well.
After doing a bunch of sketches with really simplified faces, I felt a little blocked and uninspired. The drawings were OK, but didn’t have much life to them.
Then I discovered that adding more shaping to the face made me like them so much more! Plus, I found this adorable photo of a Dachshund with a flying ear that encapsulates the silliness of the breed.
These two things helped inspire a whole bunch of drawings:
|Using gouache over a gessoed sketchbook page made some really interesting textures.|
|Trying out using a dip pen with watercolor paint for the line work.|
|Micron pen and watercolor wash.|
|Loving the simple, sketchy pencil combined with watercolor.|
|I dug up some cheap, old colored pencils for this one and learned I really like drawing with colored pencils! I upgraded to Polychromos shortly after.|
|I used a combination of lifting color with a paper towel and wet-in-wet watercolor to make the black and tan coloring on this Dachshund.|
I clearly had fun drawing the little sweaters with the cable pattern — once I started I couldn’t stop!
I also learned more about how to do a watercolor wash in my Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal. It sucks up the water pretty readily, so I found that holding the book at an angle and keeping a bead of water along the bottom of the wash helped make it more even. If the brush got too dry, the brush strokes were quite evident.
This was an awesome activity for exploring styles and media because I stuck with one main subject. Sounds obvious but I’ve never done that before! My normal mode is to draw or paint something once, then move on to the next thing.
I’m not ready to focus on a particular style yet, but if you see one that you think is working well let me know in the comments :)