Friday, May 29, 2009

Making a start on the Collies

Next up on my drawing board is a group portrait of four Border Collies. The overall portrait will be 20x16 inches and in order to fit all four dogs into the agreed composition, which is based on a photo taken with them all in the back of a truck, each dog has to be slightly smaller than I am used to drawing. This is bearing in mind that the smallest sized portrait I do is 10x8 inches. It just means I need to keep my pencils that bit sharper to get all the fine details in.

First up, working left to right, is Barney. And the progress shots so far.

A Work in Progress

Thursday, May 21, 2009

On the drawing board

21cm x27cm, Coloured Pencil
Copyright Laura Hardie 2009

I work from photos (as if you hadn’t guessed:)) – I have to as I've yet to come across a dog, or any animal for that matter, who will happily pose for up to 30 hours or more while I complete their portrait. But I have to admit to being very particular when it comes to choosing those that I will work from, as I’m sure those who have worked with me in the past will testify. I’m not saying I haven’t worked with bad photos because I have, many in fact when I first started out, but ultimately this shows in the finished portrait hence my ‘fussiness’ and insistence on good photos to start with.

This week I had planned to start a portrait of four Collies but on printing out the agreed reference photos I really wasn’t completely happy with two of them so decided to ask for more. I do find it hard if I continually have to ask for more photos when they’re unsuitable – I almost feel as if I’m being a pain – but it’s so important to get this stage right and hopefully the finished portrait makes all the extra effort worthwhile.

So with the Collie portrait on hold until next week I had the chance to work on my own portfolio, which I’m slowly trying to build up between commissioned pieces, but was disappointed to get next to nothing done – too much procrastinating and not enough action. I had the perfect opportunity too as my daughter was off to London on a school trip for the week giving me plenty of me time. Sadly the only thing I managed to do was to finish the above drawing of Zara. I started this back in February and you can see a couple of work in progress shots here and here.

At this stage I’m undecided what to call this piece but I do have a few ideas running round my head that I’ll no doubt spend some time pondering over.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Portrait finished

Copyright Laura Hardie 2009

I put the last finishing touches to Skye this morning and now feel I’ve reached the stage where I’ve done all I can to this portrait so I’m officially calling it finished – further to approval of course.

Despite my reservations with the choice of reference photos for both dogs – there were some discussions early on and they were not the ones I would have personally chosen - I think they work well together. Maybe I should point out that I am terribly fussy when it comes to reference photos:)

And not forgetting the finished portrait showing both dogs together.

Keira and Skye
16x12 Coloured Pencil on paper
Copyright Laura Hardie 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Slowly moving on

I’m still working away on the double portrait of Skye and Keira which, as seems to be the norm these days, is taking longer to finish than I originally planned. I have now made a start on Skye as you can see in the following stages.

A Work in Progress
Copyright Laura Hardie 2009

Another couple of days should finally see this one complete.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Coloured Pencil Tutor required

A Work in Progress
Copyright Laura Hardie 2009

I’ve not been feeling too good these past few days so my pencils have been lying dormant gathering dust while I’ve been moping around feeling sorry for myself. I did manage to finish Keira before all this however, which I’m pleased about, but will need to play catch up for the rest of the week to get this portrait finished in time.

Now for something a little bit different and exciting, at least for my blog anyway. Melanie Phillips who currently tutors with the London Art College made me aware of a vacancy they currently have there and I would like to do my bit and hopefully bring this to the attention of any coloured pencil artists out there. The London Art College specialises in providing tuition by distance learning art courses and are currently looking for a tutor for their Coloured Pencil Course. The details are as follows…

Tutor Required for London Art College Distance Learning Course

There is a vacancy for a distance Learning Course Tutor for the Coloured Pencil Certificate Course. This is a unique opportunity to work with students from the comfort of your own home or studio. The successful applicant will eventually be able to put their mark on the course and make it their own. The post requires a few hours per week in tutoring, which will start gradually as you take over the new enrolees. The tutor will be required to have some general computer skills. Previous experience in tutoring may help but it is not necessary.

This is open to UK applicants only.

Application - Stage 1
If you are interested in taking over the tutoring post for the coloured pencil course please entitle your email 'CP Course tutor vacancy' with the following.....
Please include a few high res examples of your coloured pencil artwork,
A brief background of your experiences / education /age range
Tutoring experiences if any,
Whether you have a full / part time job or work as an artist full / part time.
Please email this to Melanie Phillips -

Application - Stage 2
In the second stage of the application, the successful applicants will be asked to produce a sample critique. An excerpt of a previous students critique will be given to each applicant to show what we are looking for. You will be given three pieces of artwork to critique and this can be then emailed along with your feedback, length of time the critique took and any other comments you may have.

Good Luck!

For further information, or to submit an application please email Melanie Phillips -

It’s a great opportunity I’m sure you’ll agree and I personally wish all the best to those who apply.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Portrait update

A Work in Progress
Copyright Laura Hardie 2009

A couple more stages showing Keira coming together. I should have her finished over the weekend and then it’s onto her companion Skye, the Springer Spaniel.