I usually blog just my urban sketches, but I had so much fun working on this portrait of Bunny the cat that I thought I’d blog the process. Working from life is easy: you’re there, you see the person, the place, you respond to it, and what you capture is not so much an accurate physical replica as it is the spirit of the place or the person.
But I’ve never met Bunny and she lives on the other side of the continent, so when I was asked to work on a portrait of Bunny, I had a lot of questions: I wanted photographs, of course, lots of them-but I also wanted to know about Bunny- her personality, stories, anything that would bring Bunny to life for me, to create a personality to go with the picutres. And I got lots of stories. Here is what stuck with me: Bunny is a sweet, gentle Ragdoll cat that behaves like a dog. I loved that: Bunny the cat that behaves like a dog! I looked at lots of pictures of Bunny and decided to work from this one: I loved it’s coloring and warm light and the fact that bunny was looking away from the camera.
Step 1: a light pencil sketch, and then some inked in lines.
Step 2: Wet-in-wet washes to define the background and set Bunny apart from it. More wet-in wet-work with light, fresh colors on Bunny. Instead of true neutrals, I used mostly a crimson-blue mix with quinacridone gold to warm it up in patches. Bunny’s eyes are almost pure blue pigment.
Step 3: It’s all fun from here on, as long as I remember to do as little as I have to and keep some areas untouched with more coats of colors. Darker shades in the ears and around the mouth, a deep red on the collar and a few splatters.
Step 4: A few more darks, some finer brushwork, and some balancing of colors for composition: a deeper blue under Bunny’s throat to complement the blue eyes. A few dark whiskers and some in white pencil. And some more splatters just because they are so much fun. All done!