Max, Coloured Pencil and Neocolor crayons A2 size

I made the foolish suggestion to my niece that I would draw a picture of her beloved dog Max for Christmas. I did add the caveat that it could be a complete failure and she would be getting a gift voucher if it didn’t work.  I have not done many dog portraits and he is difficult colour to be drawing.  I did spend some time on fellow blogger Rebecca Anderson’s site , she does amazing drawings of her black dog,

After a shaky start I am pleased with the result.  The eyes, in fact, have turned out too well and they  follow you around the room.  There were a couple of times when I was drawing it that I could feel him watching me.  Because he is so black, there are times when it is only the flash of the whites of his eyes, that let you know that he is curled up into a dark corner.

He is a rescue pup, we got him at around three months, but he must have had a rough time as he is still a very nervous boy and easily spooked.  My niece has done an amazing job with him and he is well trained, though prone to getting into trouble.  He is visiting us at the moment, while Katie is at the beach with friends.  Our girls love having him to visit, Rosie loves her elder brother, but he is more interested in basking in the sun.


Rosie, Max and Hannah. Max had to voice is objection in being disturbed from his afternoon nap.






18 responses to “Max

  1. Wow! His eyes would follow you around! This is sooo amazing!! Well done! 💕🎨👍✨

  2. This turned out lovely, Karen. When I first saw your drawing, I thought it was your reference photo! You did get the eyes right!

  3. He is lovely Karen, you have captured so much character which is the key to a successful animal portrait, don’t you think.

  4. Karen, there are far too many doggy drawings on FB. And I get sick of them (and kitten drawings). They are so often much-of-a-muchness. So I’m DELIGHTED to see your drawing. It is a stand out. You haven’t done a sentimental drawing and yet it is heartfelt. The eyes are splendid and one can see the anxiety in Max’s nature (due to his start in life probably). While I started out by saying I’m ‘over’ all the puppies and kittens on FB, I could very happily own this piece. I would look and look at it. You are a fabulous artist, Karen!!!

    • Thank you Julie, that is high praise indeed. I know where you are coming from regarding the number of dog/ cat drawings, I nearly didn’t share this one. He is still an anxious boy, it was hard to find a relaxed photo of him to draw. He might have had a bad start, but he has ended up in such a loving home with my niece.

  5. Julie has said everything I was thinking Karen! Your drawing gives Max genuine character, he looks like an absolutely real dog, with distinct personality. The tightly cropped composition, limited palette and clean forms are important for making this work too, but ultimately it is the eyes that make it so successful. Congratulations!

    • Thanks Anna, I don’t want to make dog paintings a habit, but really happy this one turned out. The limited neutral palette was such a change from my flower colours, good to change things up though.

  6. This is a very beautiful drawing. The dog is so expressive. The animal drawings that I love best are those that make me feel I know the animal and its character. I feel that about your drawing.

  7. Wow you did an amazing job! As you know, I know the difficulty involved. It is all about the eyes, that sliver of white. I try to grab as much of his burnt sienna iris color when I can, but I think I over exaggerate that too much. Highlights are essential if I want him to have legs. haha. You really did a nice job capturing that timid side of him. I love the intertwining legs. I am quite humbled you used me as a bit of reference, I think you have excelled and this is going to be cherished! xoxo

    • Rebecca you were more than a bit of a reference, your beautiful Dexter drawings gave me the courage and the technique to give this painting a go. This one has neocolor (Caran de arche)-watercolour pastel underneath the colour pencils. Julie who is one of the best coloured pencil artists in Australia has just done a post on her technique, she uses oil pastels underneath her coloured pencils. So interesting to share techniques and try some new ones.

      • Oh, I will check that out. Not that I need to add a new medium to my repertoire, hehe, but I can imagine how rich those two together could be. I wonder if the color pencil locks the pastel down, I am now really intrigued. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Well done! Dark/black dogs are so difficult to portray and you did it! I keep avoiding friends with black labs for this reason. I’m just a big chicken. 😉

    • It was scary I can tell you, but the offer kind of blurted out when I couldn’t think of what else to get them for Christmas. So glad I did it though, always nice to stretch your comfort zone.

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