Starting a Jack Russell Painting

Roscoe the Jack Russell Sketch by Hope Lane

Roscoe the Jack Russell Sketch by Hope Lane

This is Roscoe, a lively Jack Russell Terrier with very expressive eyes. The painting will be an 8″ x 10″ so I’m focusing in on his cute little face with this sketch. My sketch process has evolved because of the way I spent my previous career as a graphic designer and creative director. I used to use Photoshop to plan my ad designs–and it’s still second nature to me. I start a client sketch by working in pencil to draw my subject in simple lines.

I find if I work up my pencil sketch to a very detailed level–it kills the painting’s spontaneity. That’s not true for every artist–many do highly detailed sketches before they paint. For me though–this process works best–and maybe I just can’t wait to start painting!

I scan my black and white sketch, then create a digital collage in Photoshop using the original photo as a base–often I then layer in different backgrounds, or fix details that aren’t right in the photo. I can enhance the photo’s colors and tones to see details in the shadow or brighten the colors. Once I’m happy with the composition–I apply an artist filter just to give the feeling of how this might look as a painting. Sometimes I create several variations in background colors or approaches. Then I show this to my clients so they can choose what they like best.

After that, there’s no more computer–I start prepping a painting surface, and out come my paints. There are pet portrait artists who create finished digital paintings but that’s not me. I really like to feel a brush in my hand.