Majestic Tiger pastel portrait

I think I mentioned that I was thinking about studying with an online English pastelist, Colin Bradley.  I have worked through several of his free lessons, this being one, and decided to bite the bullet and today I joined for a period of time where I will have access to multiple complete videos.   So that will probably determine the subject matter for the next few weeks.  The lesson Colin did was of a full-faced tiger.  I wanted to do a similar pose but not the exact piece that he did.  I wanted to see if I could take the techniques he was discussing and apply it to a similar pose and lighting conditions.  You can see Colin's piece below.  I did find this super reference photo at PMP, one of two tigers in the picture, but I really liked his regal and majestic look.   I also like how even though he is looking forward, he is not boldly look at your, but studying something intensely.

I am working on off white Aqua Bee charcoal/pastel paper, an ancient tablet that I have but I think the paper is quite similar to the Ingres that Colin recommends.  I can cut up one of my big pieces and make 8 - 8"x10" pieces for practice.  I then mounted this to a piece of 8"x10" mat board that I had so it would have more rigidity and stability.  The background is done with pan pastels and just a made up something so that it wouldn't be a solid background.  The remainder of the tiger was done with pastel pencils.  Colin recommends Pitt pencils, but I have a variety and used Pitts where I had them and then color matched as best I could to those I have in different brands.

I haven't had lessons or done workshops so am looking forward to this experience.  I am trying hard to keep my mind open and not revert to what feels natural.  I tried a different method this time of watching the video first in a section, then painting what I saw in the same section.  It seemed to work better than the last time I mentioned that I didn't have a good rhythm.  Since most of my studies have been of the reading and translating what I read variety, it is almost I think, like taking a workshop to see someone actually drawing and explaining what they are doing in front of your eyes.  Although I still think there are "secret steps" that no one talks about when it goes from "almost there" to "done and amazing".

Thanks much for stopping by and have a super weekend


  1. I really like your piece better than the instructors - lol. His tiger has obviously been groomed and pampered since birth while yours looks much more natural. It will be great to see what you accomplish during the 'courses' you take. Enjoy, Nelvia!

  2. I agree with Val, I like your piece better. Well done!!! Great shading and blending. I hope you pick up some good tips.


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