Isla is no longer a puppy, but what an absolutely perfect choice of a reference in this photo from her puppyhood!


I began by sketching Isla with a light coloured pastel pencil, aiming to capture her movement. With three of her paws on the ground this was more difficult, so I made sure to bring attention to her floppy ears flying behind her.


Once I was happy with the sketch, I then added some layers of ivory coloured pastel pencil to ensure a smooth base, then I began to add detail.

Usually, I add areas of colour on a subject then fill in the fine detail slowly. Isla’s portrait was an exception however as I wanted to capture the sense of perspective as she is approaching. I saw her head and front paws as the main drawing, and her body and rear paws almost as a background. I added detail to her face before anywhere else as a reference of how much detail to add to the rest of her body.FullSizeRender (2)

Once I was happy with the level of detail, I could then go on to add in her puppy wrinkles, floppy ears and giant puppy paws.


The finished portrait. Faber Castell pastel pencil and Unison soft pastel on Daley Rowney Ingres Pastel Paper, measuring 12″ x 10″ / 30 x 25cm.

Untitled design (70)

Thanks for reading! Isla’s portrait is also available as a print, with 10% of each one sold being donated to German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue UK. You can buy a copy here:

Tawny Owl Collection




  1. Really interesting to read how yo u make the magic happen. Am a huge fan of your work and very jealous. For someone who can only draw a stickman I am very impressed. Great work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s