Simon Bland

A Blog About Oil Painting

A Portrait in Pencil

by Simon Bland / Jun 9, 2013 / Dog Portrait

A portrait of a German shepherd dog in pencil on paper

This is my latest portrait, a rescued German Shepherd called Nick.

I do pencil sketches all the time as studies or as preparatory drawings for my portraits and landscapes, but it's been a while since my last formal portrait in pencil.  I used a full sheet of Arches hot press watercolor paper - a very high quality paper which is 100% cotton and as thick as card.

All the areas are built up in layers, just like a painting, except that the drawing is done with a very fine cross-hatching technique.  Here's a close up so you can see more of the detail:

The Arches paper has a lot of sizing which gives the paper some tooth while still being smooth, By keeping the pencils sharp and working with a light touch, the tooth can be preserved and some wonderfully soft edges can be obtained.

I did most of this drawing standing up at my drawing table: I was able to walk around the table and work on the drawing from lots of different angles.