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Shih Tzu - Stages of a Dog Painting in Pastels

I took a photo many years ago of this gorgeous little dog belonging to a neighbour of mine - a Shih Tzu named Robbie, and I finally got around to painting him.

My first stage is to choose my pastel paper colour, this is probably the most difficult part! I needed to find a colour that wasn't too dark because the dog's coat has quite a lot of lighter colours in it. I chose Canson Mi-Teintes "Maroon" (it's more of a warm beige) - smooth side.

I started by deciding on a size, as he is a small dog I chose an 8x10". Then I sketched the dog in a pale coloured pastel pencil.

Shih Tzu Dog Painting in Pastels
Sketched Outline

The next stage was to start blocking in with Pan Pastels. I always look for basic shapes so that I'm working over the whole painting - not just concentrating on one section at a time.

Shih Tzu Pastel Painting Work in Progress
Starting to block in shapes

Shih Tzu Pastel Painting Work in Progress
Blocking in shapes and adding a little detail

My next stage is to block in the background so I can see how the painting looks with all the basics in place so I can judge my composition and tonal values as I progress.

Shih Tzu Dog Pastel Painting
Blocked in background

I keep working on tonal values and gradually add in some finer details with soft pastels.

Shih Tzu Dog Pastel Painting
Adding in details

I keep working all over the dog painting making sure I'm happy with the colours and tonal values and add in some further fine details with soft pastels.

Shih Tzu Dog Pastel Painting
Adding further details with soft pastels

When I think I'm finished I step away for a while and then go back, if I'm satisfied it's finished I sign it and the dog portrait painting is finished.

Shih Tzu Dog Pastel Painting
Finished painting

If you would like to commission a dog portrait painting please contact me. You can browse more of my dog paintings on my website.

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