Pastels, Step-by-step drawing

Husky drawing

It’s not very seasonal, but the latest drawing I’ve finished is a husky in the snow. The sun came out as soon as I started it, so maybe I’d better keep to the wintry theme….potential Christmas card prints at the least!

Anyway, this latest drawing is tricky as the subject is mostly black and white. I like to be quite bold with my colours when starting the drawing at least as using contrasting colours allows the light to bounce off the pastel dust and give a more 3d effect. I also don’t really like using black. So, a challenge!

I started with an outline in pastel pencil which is easier to control than the sticks and gives a more controlled line


I usually leave the background too late and struggle to get the tones right so have started to add it earlier.

Next I put down some tone by shading purple and orange over each over, as well as green and red. It sounds odd, but the contrasting colours will give a grey-brown key that is a layer to work on.


I added some bright turquoise blue to the face to act as a key for the paler white fur.


Then I began to build up the detail




The process involved lots of redrawing and layering.
This is the finished picture


I couldn’t avoid black, but it’s layered over blue, purple and orange which is allowed to show through in places.
I’m not sure it’s finished, that’s just so hard to call, but I hate to overwork my animal portraits.

I’m not interested in every piece of fur, more the look in the eyes and a sense of character.
Pastels give a good sense of fur quite quickly and easily, but I am also quite impatient and probably don’t spend as long on pieces as I should!


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