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Animals in focus

Estelle Robinson offers tips and techniques for painting likenesses of animals in pastel

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Get to know your materials and basic techniques

Tips and techniques on producing a likeness

Winter’s Pride, pastel on Velour, 161⁄2x111⁄2in. (42x30cm)
Courtesy of Estelle Robinson

As a child, I was horse mad, which is where my drawing of animals began. As I became older this passion for art expanded into drawing cats and dogs then, as an adult, I began to draw friends’ pets and that’s how it all started.

I used graphite and coloured pastel in my early days as a portrait artist, but now my preferred medium is pastel – and the development of textured papers is a revelation! I use photos as reference for my work and often use multiple photos to bring together the composition, look at different backgrounds or find details. Sometimes the preferred image isn’t ideal; perhaps it’s out of focus or the colours aren’t true to life, but I can pick these things up from looking at other references.

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About Leisure Painter

Brighten up your winter painting with the February issue of Leisure Painter. We begin the issue with a look at 'more than just paintings' where Claudia Myatt demonstrates how to use a combination of planning and playfulness to create lively and modern designs in watercolour. You are also invited to follow our 31-day challenge, where Steve Strode offers advice and inspiration for an entire month of creative activities. The rest of the issue is packed with demonstrations, practical advice and tutorials on how to draw and paint in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, line and wash, pastel, coloured pencil, scratchboard and more.