The never ending Labradors

A blog for an artist? Where do I start? Would people be interested in hearing about the artwork I create or the commissions I take on? Who would read it? Is there any point?

These questions are what I’ve asked myself every time someone has mentioned blogging to me. I just can’t see why it would be interesting to anyone. But here I am… writing my first blog. Lets keep all fingers and toes crossed that maybe someone will find what I write and what I draw to be of interest!

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This commission has been one of the toughest and most draining drawings I’ve had to do. And I’m still not completely finished. The reference picture was taken years ago, at a guess I’d say no less than 10. As you can imagine that meant most of these dogs had passed away with the last dog sadly being PTS a few weeks ago. So no other pictures could be taken, the reference photo I had was the only photo I was going to be getting.

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I had no problem drawing the 5 dogs on the left, it was when I came to draw the final dog on the right that the problems began. How was I going to negotiate the issue of the car hiding half his body? I definitely didn’t want to draw the car in so I had to come up with an alternative solution. Most of the advice I got was to draw a tree in instead of the side of the car. I hated the idea of creating a strong vertical line when the rest of the drawing was the undulating heights of the heads and bodies. Putting any sort of strong vertical line would make it appear harsh and restricted. I settled on the plan to draw a softened, blurred border, to give the impression the dogs where behind something but it wasn’t defined enough to be anything in particular.

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This was my result. I was happy with the way it looked and sent a photograph off to the client to get his approval. Its funny how things don’t go the way you plan! Although he was over the moon with the rest of the dogs, the blurred edge did not go down well and back to the drawing board it was!

So the real challenge began. The client had requested I try to fill in the rest of the dogs body. I couldn’t think of anything worse! Coping an image is easy, I can do that all day and night if I had to, but tell me to draw ANYTHING without a reference photo and I stumble. My mind can’t picture a thing and the result looks like something you’d find in a 5 year olds art book. How was I going to fill this guy in without completely ruining it?!

I decided to turn to the internet, I watched videos of dogs, scoured google for images of dogs siting, standing and everything in between. I decided to just go for it and use as many images and videos I could to try and piece him together. I even went and took pictures of my Grandparents Labrador to help! First I drew him stood up but there was so much information to get in, in the image he isn’t just stood straight, he’s leaning his weight on his right leg, he’s stood at an angle with his shoulders slightly hunched and his head tilted. There was just took much to take into consideration.

This brings us up to date with the work I’ve done on it today. I decided to draw him sitting down and blacking out most of whats behind his front legs to make it look like he’s in the shade. I focused my attention on giving just a hint of his front legs and feet and that slight lean on his right leg. I can now look at the drawing without cringing so hopefully thats a good sign! I feel much happier with it now, the only thing left to do is contact the client and hope he feels the same way!

The first image in this blog is the stage I have reached today!

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