Dog Illustrations: A Mixed Media Technique & Using a Reference Photo | Elisa Ferreira | Skillshare

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Dog Illustrations: A Mixed Media Technique & Using a Reference Photo

teacher avatar Elisa Ferreira, Illustrator | Creator of Lisa's Balcony

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Choosing a Reference Photo


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Base Drawing


    • 5.

      Creating Colors


    • 6.

      Painting Stage 1


    • 7.

      Painting Stage 2


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

My name is Elisa, also known as Lisa’s Balcony. I love creating handmade illustrations about animals, nature, food and beautiful things.

In this class we’ll be creating a dog illustration using a reference photo and practicing a mixed media technique with gouache paints and colored pencils. You can also follow this class using watercolors instead of gouache paints.

You’ll also learn:

- How to choose a good reference photo for your animal illustrations.

- Two ways to create the base drawing or underpainting of the illustration.

- Some tips on mixing and preparing colors before the painting stage.

- A mixed media technique using gouache paint and colored pencils. (You can follow this class using watercolors instead of gouache paint if you want).

If you love illustration, dogs, animals and practicing mixed media techniques, this is a great chance to paint your own dog or your friend’s dog to create a unique present. You will also learn the technique that I use in my own animal illustrations and ask me for feedback or any question that you may have during the process.

The final artwork can be also scanned and used in other beautiful projects such as greeting cards, notebook covers, mugs, cushions, etc.

You can find more examples of my work here: Instagram



Spring - Ikson

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elisa Ferreira

Illustrator | Creator of Lisa's Balcony



My name is Elisa. I’m an spanish illustrator and the creator of Lisa’s Balcony.

I love painting animals, elements from nature, flowers, food, and lovely things. Then, I turn my illustrations into digital graphics so people can use them. 

I provide designers and creative companies with lovely graphics to turn their projects and products into something beautiful and appealing.

Illustration can be a great way to inspire others through your creative projects and transmit beauty, friendliness and good vibes!

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hi there. My name is ELISA. I'm an illustrator from this pay, and you might also find me as Lisa's balcony. My at works are mostly about animals, food, nature, basically things that I find beautiful. I also enjoy turning my frustrations into digital graphics so people can use thing in their creative projects. In this class will create a document Stray shin using a reference boat. This'll is a great chance to paint your own dog or create a really awesome gift for a friend. Are who knows, even offering your dog illustrations for sale. I will be sharing with you registration technique that I'm using My administration's way will be practicing a mixed major technique using watching paint and color pensees the way it used watching paint. It's very similar toe watercolors, so some of you may want to follow this class using what colors. Instead of watching bake, feel free to try that out and see how it goes. I hope you enjoy this class and makes you feel excited about painting that lovely dovey that you have in mind 2. Choosing a Reference Photo: you can approach this class in two different ways. You can download the reference for the use and paint along with me or the most interesting way. It's using your own reference for two. I think this option is much more cooler and unique, and as I said, it's a great chance to paint your dog or your friend's dog. So in case you want to use your own reference photo, I'm going to show you how I chose my photo and which criteria I took into account. In that process, this great guy is below. He's my lovely gas in stock. She was so happy when I tell her that I wanted Baloo to be my mother. So it felt great to do this project to start off. I ask her to send me several pictures off the dog. I wanted those where I go see the whole body. I didn't want to focus only on the face, but the complete body. As you can see, all the pictures are so cute. He's on Awesome doc, very photogenic. But some of them weren't good enough for this project. I really like the posture off this one, but in terms off colors. It waas too dark. As you can see, the left part is quite darker, and I think it's more interesting to use a more colorful and lighter photo with this one. The final illustration may end up being too dark and grey. I really liked this. Well, I can see the whole body and his face looks great. But as I'm just painting the dog without a background, I imagine this one turned into an illustration, and I thought that the shape off the drawing as a whole was going to be to elongate and horizontal, and I was looking for something more proportionate. We want our reference photo to be colorful. Andi, this one wasn't a good choice as value looks too dark. This photo doesn't really give us good information about the colors. Here it happens, the same thing with the color but also the angle off. The photo is a bit weird on his body posture seems to be in the middle off something, but it's not really clear, so I will go more for a posture in which he looks relaxed, untilled. He looks on some here, but in terms off composition, I don't find it very interesting because we're just seeing the site face. Also, the color palette is composed by great owns, and this is the winner. I really like this one because he still relaxed. It's a good body pressure. The final shape off the whole drawing is also good proportioned and not to Berta girl, not to our Santel. There aren't dark areas, which is good, but I found it necessary to improve the colors digitally to make it more colorful. So I edited it a little bit on photo shop. Let me show you very quickly how I edited the photo on photo shop. I went to a vestments levels and made it lighter from there. Then I went to adjustments, hue, saturation and I increased a little bit the saturation to make it more colorful Facets. Now the colors look cleaner and alive. 3. Supplies: Let's see all the things that you'll need to create your illustration while our to water containers a white water coolers palette, I find much better to use a white one because it helps to see more clearly the colors that I'm mixing. You can also use white plastic plates, the ones that you will use in a birthday party or a picnic. I've actually used these a lot, and I even use them in both sides. But I recently changed the white palette so I can wash, then Houston again and reduce my plastic waste. You will obviously need at least a couple off watercolor brushes. One off, then should be about number five or six, and the other one should be number zero or one to paint a small details. Also a regular pencil. For this getting a stage. I also recommend having on a razor close when sketching your base drawing got on a small piece of the same watercolor paper that you will use in your final illustration. Toe. Test your mixed colors while you're painting. Get a regular white sheet of paper for this getting a stage and also get or cut if necessary. Your watercolor paper. Both papers in a four size find, a paper tissue, some kitchen paper or any observant paper. So these are the Watcher paint that I have always used for years. Red, blue, yellow, sepia and white rt only colors that you need. These are from the run talents, but if you haven't these at home, you can try with other runs or even with watercolors as the way. Houston. It's very, very similar toe watercolors. Obviously, the quality and tones may very. But before poor chasing anything new, I will check out how well it works. What I have at home. This is the white color off my watcher pains, but I don't really use it very much. And if I need a very white or bake details, I prefer using These are the one. It's a Wilson and knew Tom White water colors that I found a while ago, and it's perfect for very small and white. The dales in this illustration use Prisma colored pencils, but if you haven't thesis, I would recommend to this out what you have before poor chasing anything new. If what you have, it doesn't really work, Then consider getting some new art supplies in this case because of the reference photo that I use. I only need these two colors and that's it, guys, we are ready to start, Duff. 4. Base Drawing: the vase. Throwing or under painting is very important. It's like the foundations off a house. It plays a big role in the final artwork, so I'm gonna give you two options to successfully accomplish this stage. The easiest option is basically printing a black and white version off your photo and trace it using a window. We don't really need a very detailed drawing. We really want the outline drawing and get the right proportions. If you have a late table, that's great. But if you haven't, I'm sure that you have a window in your house, and that's more done enough. Just said the printed version under window with some type. Then place your watercolor paper so the dog is in the center off the paper, and I started tracing the outlines without shading or anything like that. You just want to draw the basic lines. Where are the legs? The head knows years eyes. I recommend using a colored pencil that may look good in the final version Off illustration . In my case, I used a from color, and I tried to trace it very softly. Tow. Avoid very dark lines. The second option is more difficult But if you really want to brought this and improve your drawing skills, I totally recommend it. This one is about creating your drawing by looking at your reference photo. Looking at the white on black printed brush in May help you a lot to see the final shape. US. It looks clearer, and the fact that it has no colors makes it less confusing. Here's when you use your regular sheet of paper. Us. This is just a sketch. So don't worry if you feel that you have to start over or that you're using your air isa a lot or get a very dirty drawing, it's fine. Guys once said, Rolling Stone will trace it on the water quarter paper. The first thing I do when I started drawing this way from a reference photo is drawing some marks on the paper to indicate myself how big the drawing is gonna be on my paper. Then I started sketching. I've recommend drawing softly on the paper, the beginning so you can correct and erased the mistakes more easily. And once you have a general idea, redraw a bit harder to see more clearly your base drawing my super advice when drawing and painting. Using a reference photo is, forget the subject that you're drawing. Forget about the fact that you're drawing a dog. It might sold very strange for many of you, but the shift off Vesper def helps a lot to get good results. While I wasn't getting thes illustration, I wasn't looking at the dog. I was looking at the reference photo the whole time. US angles a straight lines and distances between points off reference. Using the A riser is totally allowed. And, as you can see at some point in the video, I realized that I was throwing the area off the dale too much to the left, so I just corrected it. Once the sketch is done and looks good, it's time to take it to the watercolor paper. The way I do it is using our a colored pencil that may look good in the final illustration . In this case, I chose again a brown color and eye color, the back off the sketch. Then I placed the sketch on the watercolor paper in a way that the dog is placed in the centre and I just trace it, and this is how my drawing looks in the watercolor paper before painting 5. Creating Colors: this is state is great to practice your color skills before start painting. I like to proper the main colors and test them on a small piece off watercolor paper to make sure that I won't use the wrong colors in the final version. I have always used the primary color paints in most off my illustrations. I don't really see necessary to buy a lot of colors when you can actually get most of them using and mixing the primary colors, which are red, blue and yellow. I like including the color sepia I my painting set and ignore the black color. I also have the white color in water paint, but in this illustration, I prefer using a nursing and new dumb white water cooler because I find it more opaque and intense in this estate, I'm mixing the pains to get several color tones that make work rate for this illustration. I helped myself looking at the cord version off their reference photo, and again I tried to forget about the fact that it's a dock. This time I'm just looking at colors and shapes. I tried to pay attention to the color tones that are more present and have a bigger area in these stock illustration because of balloons, hair color, I only need the yellow, red and sepia. Watch a pains as well as the white color paint toe. Great. Several tones. I estimate on a piece of paper where I can also check out how my mixture behave with water . This is why I said that the way I used water pain is very similar to watercolors. If there is scenario with very clear color tones, close toe white, I just apply mind mixture with more water than paint like ah, semi transparent layer. That way you will be using the natural white off the paper to your advantage once and down and happy with the fuel color mixtures that I have preferred, I get ready to paint the illustration. 6. Painting Stage 1: time to start painting ice. Place your reference photo in front of you to look at it during the whole painting process . I always use my computer or a tablet, so I don't need to print it before using any new color. I always take it first on the piece of paper to make sure that is the right one thing. I looked at the mixture and at the reference photo to the sides. If it's a good color choice, I start painting these area and let me explain the way I apply the color. I just start by the darker area off that colored, and then I add some water to extend the color to the right. So I create different tones off the same colors, like a color gradient effect. That's why I said that the way I used water paint is quite similar to what the colors. US water plays an important role in this technique. I also rubbed the layer with the brush to make a color Grady int effect, but I do it with a brush kind off, playing off paint and wet with a bit of water. The servant paper is always clothes, us Sometimes you don't need too much water in your brush. Just what? Enough to get the transparency that you want to achieve. Remember to test how the stroke will be like in your small piece of paper. Let me speed up this part so you can have a quick understanding off the process. See how I paint the darker arrest first, and then I tried to smooth them with water. After using this first color, I continued with a different tone, which waas kind off Ray. The reason why I didn't I started with the warm gray is because I wanted the other color to be underneath the gray one to get a cleaner and more colorful result. At this point, I church my brush with too much water, and I didn't like that at all. So I just took the of servant paper too quickly. Dry that area and get bathing like nothing happened. No dramas here, so it's time to pain the nose and the ice. So I have to use a thinner brush because these are small details that need a lot of precision. This one is number zero. I don't really like using black watch paint I actually create my own black by mixing blue and Serbia colors. In my experience. Black watch a paint, make illustrations look dirtier. I find much more interesting to darken your colors You see in the primary colors and say Pia, even if your color palette it's about gray color tones, I will always try to avoid black paint and create your own color palette with the primary colors, sepia and white. That's when you're really learning about colder and understand that there are many kinds off great owns, so can be warned. Other Camby colder. Other get close to the green tones ex cetera for the snout and mouth. I applied the same mixture, but I made it more transparent. Us. I have cleaned my brush with water. Remember testing your strokes in the small piece of paper guys I wanted to share. This part is slowly with you because you might find it interesting and encouraging. I was feeling the ice with color, and I messed up the right eye. I could see that the I was too big and, well, the top part of the I wasn't quite right, so I waited for the eye to get dry, and then I sort out my mistake by applying a very thick layer off paint. I just used a light color off the her that I already used at the beginning. Looking carefully at the reference photo, I make sure that I was kindof drawing a better shape for the I to do. A corruption like this is important to await the area to get dry and then applying the color with no transparency, it should be a very thick layer. 7. Painting Stage 2: So my illustration is looking very close to my reference photo in this estate. I'll pay more attention to the details to make it look a little bit more realistic. I'll have some extra shades, and I might even paint with very small strokes to create some texture and simulating the hair effect. Once I feel I'm done with the painting part, it's time to use their colored pencils. In this case, I only used two colors brown and a clamoring. I also test them in a piece of paper before using them in the original illustration. With the brown color, I create more contrast in a small arrest to create more volume and realism, like in this part where I make the right ear pop up from the head a little bit more. I also great some hair texture with it. The aquamarine color helps me to create some her effect in the lighter areas. As you can see now we have a follow floating in the middle off the paper. It will be great if we make him look like he's starting the ground. So will paint a very easy background. I don't want the background to be important, so I make it very natural. I also took into account values color her toe. Find a color background that matches well with him in this process are your subject the colors in the piece of paper before painting the original artwork and well oh, I finished the dog illustration. 8. Final Thoughts: So that's it. Guys, if you are watching me at this point, it means that you completed the glass. So thank you so much for staying along with me. Do not hesitate to share your illustration in the gallery predict section. It will make me super happy to see your creations. You can also ask for feedback and share your thoughts. They're in the process with me and the community. Have in mind that if you liked this technique, you could get practicing and find any other animal apart from ducks. Just use Ah, nice reference photo. Something that you could do with your final illustration is friend meat and the Granger place. Or make a friend super happy with an unique percent. You call, even create Prince running written cards, notebook covers or just share your creations on social media. I really hope you enjoy this class senior on the ski share