Friday, May 8, 2009

A PenPets Puzzle

Here’s a fascinating puzzle for me to put together in the next few days. I have a PenPets commission for three dogs—Sappho, the Bloodhound, Daisy, the Yorkie/Terrier mix, and Lily the little Dachshund—all in one 8” X 10” frame. Here’s a photo of the three of them together to give me an indication of their respective sizes. Sappho dwarfs her little sisters. She’s a benevolent giant, I suspect. Note that Daisy stands a tad taller than Lily.

It’s not a bad shot of Sappho, but I’ll choose different shots of Daisy and Lily. These choices are easy.

Here’s the shot of Daisy that I like. She's wide-eyed, tress-tossed, and shows a hint of terrier assertion in the set of her mouth.

And here’s Lily, the little imp! Who can’t imagine her getting her way with her bigger siblings? I think she must have her whole household wrapped around her paw!

Sappho is the tough one. She’s so photogenic! I love every shot in her portfolio. If I were drawing her alone I’d choose this side view. It’s so Bloodhoundish—the doleful eye, the drooping jowl, the glistening lip, the folded ear.

But I can’t figure out how to include Daisy and Lily in this pose. So I start playing with my options. I print out all the photos in black and white, I size them, I cut them out, and then I start piecing the puzzle together. Here’s Sappho from the group shot above with the two little cut-outs inserted. Notice that I've reversed Daisy's picture.

I don’t think the three dogs are integrated in this combination, perhaps because both Lily and Daisy are looking at the camera while Sappho is looking off to the side. There’s a disconnect between the big and the little dogs.

Here’s another go at it.

I like this one, but the picture of Sappho is pretty fuzzy. I’m afraid I won't find the telling details I need to draw it well enough.

Here’s another combination.

This one works for me. There are a lot of connections between the three radically different dogs. All three sets of eyes are looking directly at the camera, all three sets of ears are doing their thing—drooping, cocking, pricking—all three girls have their dog tags on, and all three personalities shine forth. Finally, their combined shapes form a nice triangle on the page. I’m going to go with this one. I’ve already completed a rough sketch and will spend another hour or two penciling in the details before I take up my pen. Wish me luck, a clear eye, and a steady hand!


Joslyne said...

Wow! I can't wait to see the finished product! I love when you put these kind of posts up and we get to see behind the scenes. :)

Leslie Moore said...

I think you chose the wrong grouping, Leslie. The second to last one is much better, with little Lily tucked between Sappho's front legs, and Daisy on a lower level in front. It's a better picture of Sappho, too.

Your Conscience

Leslie Moore said...

Now you tell me! After I've spent days struggling with the last grouping! I couldn't see Sappho's eyes well enough in the photo you like. How can I draw a dog without a clear view of her eyes -- the windows to her soul!

Leslie Moore said...

Use your imagination! You're so damned literal. All you can draw is what you can see.

Leslie Moore said...

You're right, as usual. I SHOULD have chosen that grouping. I wish I had. But the portrait is almost done. It's not too bad. I'm just kicking myself because it could have been better.