1. Choose a color of velour paper that will not compete with the background
color you will be using. Otherwise it will bleed through as you try to
lay down your background color. Buy pre-mounted velour paper. Trying to
mount it on board is difficult and might not end up being archival
quality. DO NOT draw directly onto the velour paper. This type of
surface is pretty unforgiving and you can’t remove a line or erase from
this surface. Create your drawing on sketch paper or even on tracing
paper if you prefer.
2. Once you’ve completed your drawing take it and a sheet of carbon paper
and carefully tape it down in several places so it doesn’t shift while
tracing your image. I use Sally’s Saral Wax Free Artists’ Graphite
Paper. It comes as large as 18 x 24. As you transfer your drawing on the
velour surface use a bright color pen so you can see where you’ve been
in the transferring process.
3. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve traced down enough information from
your drawing, remove the drawing and carbon paper and discard. Using a
9B graphite pencil, draw directly onto the velour surface going over the
lines from the carbon paper. Don’t press too hard or you can scar the
velour paper, but press hard enough that you can see your lines well.
This will become your map throughout your painting, so you want to get
all the pertinent information down to guide you.
4. Follow your reference photo carefully to get down all your information. I
use two reference photos, one black and white and one full color.
During this process, I follow along the black and white. I use reference
material that is the same size as my finished piece. It’s easier for me
to get it right using this process, but that is purely a preference and
5. Once I’m satisfied I have all the information I need to begin painting, I
begin to outline his highlights with a white hard pastel and the dark
spots with a dark pastel. Next, I begin to crosshatch color for the
background. This particular painting is coming out of the shadows and
has an unusually dark background. I do not just lay down black. I use
one of my soft Terry Ludwig pastels and fill the background in with dark
browns, reds, purples, greens – whatever intense darks will go well
with the end color of the horses’ coat.
6. Now it’s time to take my darkest darks in the painting and begin to lay
down an undercoat for the black areas of the horse. I use a dark blue or
dark maroon hard pastel for this process. Again, I look for highlights
and put them in at the beginning stage so they will stand out even if I
lay color over it.
7. As I lay my darks down, I also gently crosshatch a base-coat that is
consistent with the horses under coat. In this horse it almost appears
to be black, so I make an even undercoat with a medium pastel, but NOT
black. I used a very deep brown.
8. This particular horse not only has a dark background, but he’s coming
out of the shadows. Part of his body is darkened, so I go ahead and add
that to the basecoat. Then I choose a mid tone to his coat and cover the
entire front of the horse with this color, still using a hard pastel. I
should still be able to see my dark lines because remember – this is my
9. I replace the dark areas so I don’t loose my map.
10. I go back over the base coat using another tone to his fur. Now I’m
paying attention to the contours in his muscles and the shapes and folds
on his muzzle and ears. I find a color for the leather straps and start
to paint them.
11. Now I begin to punch up his contours by bringing in the lightest colors
of his coat. This is also the time to go over the blue or maroon that I
used for the black areas, such as the eyes and muzzle. They really begin
to pop having another color as a base coat. This is the time for the
finishing touches: 1. refining the black 2. redefining the lights 3.
highlights and darkening the darks.
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