Thursday, 21 July 2011

Guest Blog: Featuring the artwork of Loose-legs Lawson.

My sister Tricky has asked me to be a guest on her blog this week.  I don’t have a cool nickname like ‘Tricky Hickson’ so… call me… Easy Lawson. No that won’t work…

Anyway, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to paint a portrait using soft pastels.

To create this magnificent piece of art that will hang in your parent’s hallway proudly, and for which you will most likely only get paid in the form of a sushi lunch with your mum, you will need;

Conte Paris Pastel Pencils
Art Spectrum Soft Pastels
Faber Castel Sketching Pencils
Photo for reference (unless ridiculously talented you can do it from memory only)

I chose to draw our beloved Daschund Neuman. Although he’s no longer with us, this drawing captures him perfectly and pays homage to adventurous life he led. It might be creepy if you painted my dog so feel free to paint your own beloved pet, family member or celebrity crush. Or you could combine two of those things and paint Robert Cattinson:

First start off by sketching a pretty detailed outline of your subject. This is by far the most important stage and can make or break your final piece if you don’t spend enough time perfecting it. So don’t fuck it up!

Once that’s done, you can begin colouring with the pastels. Pastels are essentially like chalk but they can be smudged and blended to create a smoother finish. I like to start with the eye area because it really brings the subject to life. (Unfortunately, not literally. RIP). The most important part of the eye is the pupil and the reflected light which can be achieved by a quick swipe of pure white over the pupil.  It gives the eye more dimension. If the dog you’re painting is also black, or your painting a person with black hair, make sure to not just use straight black. Mix in some blues, tans, yellows, browns and skin tones where necessary. Keep checking back on your photo for reference.

Work your way around the ears. See all the different colours in the hair that I’ve used? This also applies to painting humans. A blonde girl might have whites, yellows, creams, umbers, greys or even blacks in her hair. It would never be a straight colour. The strokes should obviously go in the same direction as the hair would. The good thing with pastels is they can be smudged and mixed on the page, and you can rarely fuck it up because you can go over the top of it as many times as you like. Good news for novices!

I’m working my way through the picture in a logical order of the direction of the hair to keep it all flowing naturally.

Almost finished. While the painting could be finished here, I like to go over them at the end with a white pastel and highlight any areas that are hit by sun or light. Also to draw in any grey hairs or whiskers or any finishing touches.

And voila! The painting is complete. And I’m very pleased with how it’s come along. Give it a decent spray with hair spray to set and it’s ready to be framed.

Here is a super close up of the eye area to show you what pastel looks like close up and how much detail goes into each piece.

My guest blog post might not have been as lol-worthy as Tricky’s normal posts but I hope you found it informative enough to go and pick up a pack of cheap pastels from Stacks and give it a go! Or not be pov and actually fork out for some proper materials from an art store. Either way, good luck my fellow artistes!


  1. Wow that painting is so amazing. And I hear loose-legs Lawson is hot and not as loose-legged as initially described!

  2. Very good work!

  3. All I can say is that it's not Kate...

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