Field labradors in graphite

July 26, 2017

Recently I’ve been working on a collection of sketches of Prune and Suzi, and I thought it would be interesting to collate them all here. I’ve been putting off drawing those two for some time; they’re such individuals and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to capture their personalities on paper. I finally decided to have a go anyway and ended up doing 14 sketches of the monkeys.

I based all my sketches on photos we’ve taken of the dogs, and kept it simple using only black graphite pencils. Enjoy the collection, which I have named Field Labradors in GraphiteBecause that sounds rather grand, and fancy. Maybe you’ll recognise some of the photos these sketches were based on…

This was the first sketch I did of the dogs 

Small dog watches Prune steal her white bread 

A couple of the dogs in the garden 

A few of Suzi

And Prune, of course

One of Matti, because he’s adorable 

A couple of my favourites, to finish 

If you’re thinking of using graphite pencils to do some sketching, here are a few tips:

  • Use a 2B/ 3B pencil to sketch the outline of your subject.
  • The use of shading is how you make the picture three-dimensional. Use the thickest pencils (6B or 8B) for the darkest areas.
  • I tend to map out the different shades and tones I can see in the photo as I do the outline, and then shade these in later.
  • Take some time over the eyes- they capture the subject’s personality. It might help to start with these after the outline.
  • If you are drawing animals, pay attention to the texture of their coats- I used different shades and also changed the direction I was shading to make their fur more life-like.
  • Have a good eraser handy- you can also use it to lighten areas rather than just leaving those white.

I have more tips on sketching in my previous Sketchbook files posts… but honestly its best just to experiment and try stuff out for yourself, which is what I did and the sketching got easier and easier. I hope you enjoyed this little collection and maybe you’ve been inspired to try a field labrador sketch for yourself! I wonder what Prune and Suzi think of their portraits…

All sketches and photos my own (well it would be cheating otherwise, wouldn’t it?)  

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  • Reply Subha July 28, 2017 at 6:22 am

    HI, I enjoyed the sketches. I won’t be trying to sketch anything, but you have taught yourself very well! I could certainly recognize the dogs!

    • Reply Layla July 28, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      glad they were recognisable!

  • Reply Bhama July 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Perfect faces and sparkly eyes. You are able to bring those suttle differences between them. We appreciate your skill in free sketching art. Inspiration to your future students. Keep it up.

    • Reply Layla July 28, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      thank you so much 🙂

  • Reply Bert July 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    You’re getting good at this. I could easily tell the difference between them. Good that you had photos imagine keeping them quiet to pose! some useful tips as well. I also have a tip include your name or initials and the date on each sketch, may come in handy when you become famous!

    • Reply Layla July 28, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      thats a good tip- i will go back and do that!

  • Reply Maya Kuijper July 31, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    oh wow these are so good, the monkeys will be very honored. love these posts 🙂

    • Reply Layla August 1, 2017 at 5:37 am

      thank you 🙂
      and thank you for the great photos they’re based on!

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