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The creating of Wasabi

Wasabi photo reference

Recently I received a commission from a lovely lady in Tel Aviv, Israel to draw her pup Wasabi. It is such a blessing to create memories of our fur babies. I really enjoy doing special commissions. The drawing will be an 8x10 rendition. I am working on Stonehenge Lightweight paper for the first time. I will be using mainly Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils and a few Faber-Castell Polychromos.

Day 1

This is the photo reference I will be working from. He is so regal. I love the pop of color with the rose. I started work on him the last week of August. I normally will work all areas of a drawing at once. I just like working that way.

This time I am working the upper area first, pretty much finishing an area before moving down. I'm not sure why, but for some reason it just felt like the drawing needed to be approached this way.

Further down the face

These are the first few renderings. I have worked the ears and face a bit more. It still needs a lot of filling in. Lately it has been really hot in California, so I am only drawing in the morning as my studio gets the afternoon sun. I am really happy with the way he's looking so far.

I have begun adding color further down and also have begun to work on the rose. The various shades of pinks (anthraquionoid pink, ultramarine pink, manganese violet & crimson alizarin) are a nice change from the brown ochres, raw umbers, burnt ochres, burnt siennas, sepias, grays & blacks.

Rose and Collar

Periodically I will change my color photo to black and white to determine if I have darkened enough. I always have to check. I have found it a good habit to get into. I work with quite a ​​light touch, so getting the lights and darks correct has always been a challenge.

Black and white

Here he is in black and white. The shadows need to be darkened some more, however he is coming along nicely. I really like seeing the progress like this. It gives a different perspective and helps me to see if something is off. Also if I need to make any changes, it isn't too late to do so.

Almost done

Here he is with the background added. I used my Caran d'Ache Pablos (grey blue, indigo, sky blue) for the background. I lightly grate the pencil into a fine powder and then use a makeup sponge to blend into the large area. It is a quick way to cover a large area quickly and without lines.


He is almost completed. I just want to go over and make sure I am happy with all the areas. He has been a lot fun to do.

I worked on him a bit more. I added some darker blues to the bottom of the portrait & lighter at the top. I also wanted to make sure of the shading to the highlighted areas. I touched up the area around his nose and of course I added my signature. I believe he is ready to be sent overseas to his new home.

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