Using Artistic License with Animal Features

//Using Artistic License with Animal Features

One of our members Steve sent in this picture of he completed of a Cocker Spaniel. Steve asked for some tips and advice on the areas mentioned below. As a member Steve can request feedback on his work:

Hi Steve and Colin

I have attached my painting and my photo of my sister-in-law’s Cocker Spaniel, Chester. I would like Colin’s thoughts on the work, especially the nose, on which I struggled, not being able to quite get the brighter light on the right hand side of it. I used PanPastels and Faber-Castell PITT Pastel Pencils on dark grey Pastelmat paper.


I feel that you have done very well considering the rather complex photo reference you had to work from. The nose area was particularly difficult and I can see how you struggled to produce a good representation of what is available.

First of all attention must be paid to the shape of the nose in the drawing out stage, if you study the reference picture closely then you drawing you will see that the nostril on the left that you have drawn out is an incorrect shape.

You have heard me use the term artistic license in my work and here is a case in point, what you have done is tried to copy what you see in the reference and to be honest I could not even pull that off successfully.

What I would, and have done on many occasions, is to search for similar cocker spaniels ‘noses’ on the internet, you would be surprised at the choices available. Pick a nose that matches as near as possible to the nose you see on the dog you are drawing and use that to help you produce the nose you are happy with.

As long as the colours match and the shape is right you should be able to produce a satisfactory result, I hope this helps.

By | 2019-05-08T12:36:31+00:00 May 8th, 2019|Picture Feedback|0 Comments