I absolutely loved Mia’s reference photograph, in addition to being well lit and clear, it really captured her expression and personality.
Unless I am drawing a large or complicated piece, I prefer to do a simple sketch first and then change or tweak anything I’m unhappy with as I add layers of pastel. Mia’s markings really threw me off with this one however, the white on her muzzle kept tricking me into thinking everything was crooked! You can make out the several faint pencil marks of previous attempts on this sketch.
Once I was finally happy with the sketch, I added a base layer of white pastel pencil all over, then roughly laid down her features and markings.
I built up several layers of black pastel and rubbed each one in fully before adding the next to ensure her black colouring was a rich black, for her white colouring, I included layers of grey and ivory to build the shape of her muzzle and allow the white highlights to stand out as much as possible.
‘Mia’ 12″ x 10″ Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencil and Unison soft pastel on Daler Rowney Ingres paper. Gillian Ussher Art 2016 and is available to purchase as a print.