I was asked to work with another library branch at work and create a "Pop Pet" Portrait class where people would bring in pictures of their pets and we would rock the Andy Warhol style of bright colors and large images. I had never done one of those before but said "sure, why not!". I decided to practice a bit ahead of time with my childhood dog Ginger aka Pinge, Ginge Pinge, Pinger, etc. you get the picture. You can see the results in my previous post here.
At the end of last year, I was asked to teach a class for The Little Birdie Wine Nest in Parma to help people "realistically" paint their pets. Again, I had never done that before, although I had a little experience with the "pop" style, but "realistic" would be a little bit different. Again, I decided to practice ahead of time! I watched a variety of YouTube videos on what other artists do and adapted to those techniques. Below I will walk you through those steps!
Yes, I can choose to just sketch this out freehand but... I have found the best way to get his basic shape down first and that is with a projector! I save the picture to a flash drive, plug it in to my projector, and project it onto a canvas in order to sketch out the animal. That way, all the features are the right size and shape and located where they're supposed to be! Because.. you know.. that's kind of important.
I do want to address here something essential to painting a pet. So when we talk about our animals we might say "I have a black dog... a white cat.." but do you really? If you really study your animal's fur, you will see that your black dog has some copper brown hair in some spots, or your white cat has some grey undertones. Pay attention to these areas because they will come into play while painting your pet! We work from darkest to lightest colors and then go back and forth to create more detail towards the end.
After the basic colors are done, I kind of start hopping all over the place! I worked a bit on Simba's mighty chest which is all white but using a bit of black, then grey, then white. Next, I focused on his snout which is a bit tricky! The key here is just to make sure they don't end up looking like pigs! Which seems to happen a lot :)
I hope this helps break down the steps of painting your own pet realistically! It takes a little bit of getting used to at first but you will get the hang of it, practice practice practice, right?! If you try this out share it below so I can see what you create!
Rebecca Myers (Dickinson)
Hey there, I'm Becca, or Rebecca, but not Becky, never Becky, unless you're my family from down south! I'm a simply modern librarian by day and an artist by night. My pursuit is for a simple, happy, healthy, and more fulfilling life! I hope I inspire you to get crafty!