Today's entry is a custom portrait of my boss's dog Hank! I would tell you what kind of dog he is, but I don't actually know. I've only ever seen photos of him, though I imagine he's quite the genial dogfellow... and if you're really on the ball, you might find his name hidden in the details! Here's the original...
I've really been enjoying these mini portraits lately. They give me a chance to let go of any conceptual concerns and just practice my techniques... mostly shading styles. While not necessarily my best drawing, this was another great opportunity to experiment with line work. The photo I was working from was a bit low-res or had a soft focus, so I had to tinker and invent some of the values and textures rather than copying them directly.
My favorite details are the highlights on his skin folds and background shading.
I've been wanting to play with a background like this for awhile... not the bones specifically (although I do like them quite a bit!) but the parallel lines that break and fade at the edges.
I see a lot of this shading style from some my favorite illustrators (R. Crumb, Patrick Arrasmith, and Mario Zucca to name a few). Their clean, refined use of line is something I find quite elegant and really aspire to.
I may someday find I'm able to get this effect by simply lifting my pen to break the lines (as these guys most likely are), but for now I'm enjoying the flexibility of claybord for laying down lines and then breaking them with my scraper tools. Claybord also allows me to reintroduce highlights, which I'm not likely to give up anytime soon.
My automatic tendency is towards a more haphazard crosshatching style than my idols, but I'm going to continue working towards that nice, controlled use of parallel lines. I may even try drawing something soon that sticks exclusively to parallel shading in lieu of the perpendicular crosshatching!