|Technique for Dog Painting|
- Using merely white to illustrate the eyeballs and reflections on the eyes.
- Rendering dog’s eyes in a “painting by numbers” way, such as: representing a round black dot for pupils; filling in the irises with any brown, blue or green at the artist’s disposal, and finishing off with a dark outline around the eyes.
- Leaving areas around the eyes blank, such as the dog’s brow, temples and bridge of the nose.
The following advice for pet artists on painting dog’s eyes will help capture the true essence of a dog’s character.
Close observation is the key to painting realistic dog’s eyes in a portrait. Turning the photo upside down will help the artist override the dictatorial part of the brain that favours painting by numbers and making generalisations about how a dog’s eyes “should” look. Doing so will break down the area into abstract tonal shapes and colours. The following tips will also help.
- The eyeballs of dog’s eyes are rarely just white, but contain a multitude of other colours, including blues, violets, earth colours and crimsons. Dog’s brows will cast shadows over the eyeball, and may darken it to almost black at the point where the eyeball disappears into the eye socket.
- Highlights and reflections within the eyes are not merely white or round in shape, but often contain gradations of other colours, often blues and crimsons. Look out for objects reflected on the eyeball, creating odd shapes.
- Similarly, the colour of the dog’s irises will vary according the shadows and reflections falling over them.
- The degree to which the eye is open or the shape of the upper eyelid will have a fundamental effect upon the expression of the dog and therefore its character. Revealing too much upper pupil will make the dog look surprised; revealing too little will make the dog look sleepy. Pay special attention to the contours around the dog’s eyelids to capture the dog’s expression and character.
Treating the skin around the eyes as an extension of the eyes themselves will help capture dog’s character and make the eyes look more convincing. This entails breaking down the area of the temple, brows and bridge of the nose into abstract shapes and lines and rendering them truthfully.
How to Capture a Dog’s Character in a Dog Portrait
Painting a dog’s eyes accurately is the key to capturing a dog’s character. This entails dispelling any preconceptions about how dog’s eyes should look and using close observation. Turning the photo upside down will help curtail assumptions. The oil pigments I most often use for painting dog’s eyes are as follows:
Burnt umber, burnt sienna, ultramarine, pthalo blue, permanent rose, cadmium yellow and white. For highlights I will use white, ultramarine, permanent rose and burnt sienna. I reserve black only for the darkest area of the pupils.
At Techniques for Painting Eyes on Dogs