After I have reviewed and accepted your reference photos, we will discuss your vision for the portrait. I will tell you what I think would look best and we will come to an agreement before proceeding. This may include a quick mockup for you to see. I can work with your reference photo to adjust the lighting and colors if needed.
Upon agreement, I will sketch the animal or person in my professional digital drawing/painting program - Corel Painter. This sketch will be my guide as I begin to make the subject "come alive". My method is very much like that of pastel and colored pencil artists, only I am using a computer screen and digital pastels/pencils instead of paper and pastels/pencils. Stroke by stroke, I start to build out the sketch with color - blending and building colors, values and textures. The majority of the strokes that I make lie between 4 to 15 pixels wide - very tiny! The whole process can take days to over a week for a complex portrait with multiple subjects.
The following slide show highlights some of the stages in the evolution of my custom portraits.
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