Saturday, August 10, 2013

Barney the Basset

Yesterday we stayed in a bed and breakfast in the Catskill mountains, whose proprietor Ben owns a basset hound named Barney.

I asked Ben if I could take Barney for a walk and sketch his portrait. Barney is a five-year-old rescue who was hit by cars three times until Ben offered him a new home.

Barney doesn't usually get to hang out in the parlor and receive such attentions, and he definitely rose to the occasion (as much as a basset can rise). Once Barney settled for a nap, I got out my watercolors and water-soluble colored pencils.

Here's what the sketch looks like as I begin to wet the colored pencils with a water brush. Note how the water alters the dry colored pencil. It darkens, softens, and intensifies the color.

Once I cover the light, warm areas, I add some blue from another brush pen that is filled with fountain pen ink. I am working quickly, because I'm expecting Barney will change position after 10 minutes or so—which he does. After that I work from memory.

Now the sketch is almost done, and if you scroll back up, you can see it finished.
Materials used:
Caran D'Ache watercolor pencils
Moleskine Watercolor Notebook
Niji water brush filled with fountain pen ink
Waterman fountain pen
The place I stayed is called River Run Bed and Breakfast in Fleischmann's, New York.


Steve said...

Very soulful portrait. Love the little touches of white on the nose and above the eyes in the final version. The feeling of soft wrinkles is palpable. Good move, taking Barney for a walk before attempting the portrait -- a little fatigue helps the model hold the pose.

Karen Eade said...

Oh this is really nice. I love the way you started off just with very rough shapes and the dog/detail emerged from those shapes. Me, I would have tried to do a complete drawing before adding colour and it would have been less effective. The lettering is terrific. Couldn't have done that!

mp said...


hippolyta said...

Lovely. This inspired me to buy watercolor pencils and start experimenting with them, and I keep coming back to it and studying your technique. How did you remove the rough sketch lines under the lettering area? Could you remove them with an eraser, (what kind?)or is there another clever way to diminish or disguise them?