Sherlock – a Digital Painting Demonstration

It's time for another digital painting demo! I've had a couple portrait commissions going the last couple weeks. Here's a video of my process creating one of them. This pet portrait is of Sherlock, a charming Chihuahua.

Some paintings go quicker than others. This one, for example, took a mere two hours. On the other hand, I just finished a portrait that took at least – because I wasn't tracking my time – twelve hours. It came out great in the end, and I'll have more to say about that portrait in a future post.

The reason this portrait went so fast comes down to the fact that I had good photo references. Not great, but good. They had the following qualities:

  • Images in focus.
  • Good file size (1600 x 1200 pixels)
  • Large subject within the photo. Sherlock wasn't in the background. He was the center of attention.
  • Natural lighting from an oblique angle which revealed interesting shadows.
  • An interesting pose. Sherlock looked like he was posing for his high school yearbook.

When my photo references have those characteristics, I get to concentrate on the art side of things. In other words, my focus becomes creating a compelling portrait, and not trying to figure out missing details, or faking an interesting pose.

For these pet paintings I use Corel Painter 2019. Snagit software is my choice for capturing the screen as I'm working. For editing, I use Adobe Premiere. Captions are made in Adobe Illustrator, and the music is composed in Logic.

Pet Portraits

I offer full range of portrait sizes on paper and stretched canvas. Give me a chance to paint your pet portrait!

About the Author


Topdog (aka Steve Merryman) is a designer, illustrator, dog lover, smart-ass and budding curmudgeon. He spends time working in his home-based design studio, SIGMA; painting dogs and other things; writing; chopping firewood; hiking; eating cheeseburgers; shooting guns; trying to ignore social media; and wondering where he left his pants.

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      Thank you! Did your comment go to moderation again? I made an adjustment to cut down on SPAM and it looks like you may have got caught inadvertently.

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