Puppies are cute. We all know this. Even so, meeting friendly, enthusiastic, small dog-beings who still have their puppy smell never disappoint. I always come away feeling light hearted and happy. I think puppies are designed to help us feel that way.
Monet – so named for his mottled coat colours which are reminiscent of a Monet painting – has some serious cuteness going on. Capturing that in a photo was the challenge. Puppies tend to be busy and unable to sit still long enough to compose a photo, much less click the shutter and hope the shot is in focus.
So his photos are filled with the arms and body parts of Lorna, his human. Which is fine, because all I'm going to use for the portrait is Monet's body. Clients often ask me to not draw their arm or hand, or whatever has gotten in the way of the shot. I'm used to ignoring those bits and choosing a pic,despite the human parts which are in the shot.
Getting photos which are perfect to work from is always a win for me – it makes my job a million times easier. Sometimes though, I have to hope that what I have is good enough to create a portrait my client is going to be happy with. Because these pics were taken indoors and all the light was coming from one direction only, it created dark shadows on the right side of the dog's faces.
Thankfully Photoshop can help lighten an area to a certain extent, to at least see the detail in the dark areas. But I still have to double check all the photo reference to make sure that the colours I'm using are accurate and that the subjects look like they do in real life!
The other bonus of taking reference photos myself is that I know the file sizes are big (about 15MB when viewed in Photoshop), which means I can zoom in to see the detail without the image pixellating and obscuring the detail which is needed to create realistic pet portraits.
Part of this commission was creating a portrait with both dogs together. Thankfully, they were quite happy to sit next to each other in one basket, long enough to get a picture.
This was framed because Lorna was giving it to her mom as a gift.
|Monet and Emma – Coloured Pencil A4|
You can see Emma's puppy portrait here and Lorna's previous dog-friend
Bambi's portrait here.
|Monet, longhaired Dachshund puppy, 41x30cm|