Painting Dr Whooves Part 2


How an internet friendship can be a real thing

Part one Here

Long-time blogging acquaintance Katherine commissioned me to paint Rodney in early February.  Unfortunately for her, she made the mistake of saying “No hurry.”  Haha.  Fatal.  Thanks to that remark, it took me a while to start, but start I finally did, and I gleefully winged off a photo to prove that Something had indeed been done.

Her immediate response (besides “Yay!”) was “What’s the cotton bud for?” Smudging, I replied.  Pastels require a lot of smudging.  I use a rag (the sky), fingers (biggish areas of colour), cotton buds (smaller areas of colour), paintbrushes (where I want to get a hairy effect or a shiny highlight effect), and pointy sticks like the one below the cotton bud (for fine detail).

This exchange quickly morphed into a “You should do a series of posts which explains your process and what you use.”

Ehhh no, what if I totally screw up it and my series turns into “How I create firelighters using pastels” ???

But I tried, I really did.  I videoed my studio, my dogs sleeping beside me and me doing some smudging.  The only problem was, the smudging footage turned out to be some really detailed coverage of my worktable.  It’s hard to hold a camera and smudge pastels at the same time.  So I decided that filming was not a good idea, and I returned to my usual habit of taking ‘progress’ photos.

And then progress ground to a halt.  There was a trip to Chamonix to see Youngest Daughter.  And work at the stables. And lots of work at Villa Amande.  And a Paddy’s Day party to organise.  But finally I got back to Rodney.  And I rapidly got to the point where all the Horse Bits were more or less coloured in and all that was left was (cue dramatic music)…

The Scarf.

The chromatically correct replica of Dr Who’s scarf.  The one created by another blogger (a knitting blogger) a couple of years ago.  Read about its origins here

This scarf is quasi-famous.  I had to get it right.

I like to knit knitted things.  Let me tell you right now, I don’t like to paint knitted things.  Knitting this scarf would probably have been easier than painting it.

At one point, I was quite certain that I would completely ruin all my work and would have to tell Katherine I was starting again and leaving out the ****ing scarf.  But I persevered.  Sketched in the folds and the way it draped.  Got the colours as close as I could. Worked on the shadows under Rodney’s neck.  And then painstakingly shaded in each knitted row.  Technical aside – for all of those fine lines, I used pastel pencils, not pastel sticks.

First pass with colours on The Scarf. Note the accidental Arm and Sleeve smudging going from underneath his jaw towards the underside of his neck. Not a good thing.  See next photo.

Working my way down, row by row.  The clear paper is to prevent me from smudging the rest of Rodney away.  Sigh.

Tackling the shadows under the neck

And the end result.

Note how the sky changed from the very first pass – I felt he needed a little more definition behind him.  And I also liked the way that the sky appears superficially blue but is in fact a little stormy – much like Rodney himself!

I am really pleased with how he turned out.  I just hope that Katherine is too.  And that Rodney arrives safely in Alabama… we’ll find out in Part 3 I guess.



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