Posted in Digital Art

So nice to find a site sharing royalty free art reference photos!

I keep finding myself drawn back to cat and dog painting – and being a past dog owner, and current cat owner I really don’t have a problem with that.  Having said that though, there are only so many times you can paint from pictures of your own cats before you really need to work on something new.

Finding reference photos that you can use freely is quite difficult, so I was happy the other day to find a fellow artist and photographer who has a website packed with royalty free photos for artists to use with no concerns over copyright.

For any artists who are interested, here is the link:

artphotoreffree I actually found this generous lady on Facebook, and it wasn’t until I visited her site that I saw that the pic I chose to do was on her profile.

There are some great photos there to choose from and I think I may go find a dog next!  I think for me, I’m not overly interested in painting a whole animal.  Eyes have always been my fascination, so I tend to enjoy cropping pics and concentrating on the face as that’s where I think the most expression comes from.

Even just painting a face takes me hours and dozens and dozens of layers.  I can end up with about 10 layers open at once and as soon as I am satisfied with how it looks at that point, that is when I ‘drop’ or ‘merge’ them down onto the main canvas.  I find that if I have too many open I get all confused about what layer is where, as I can be notoriously lazy and not bother actually naming them.  Terrible aren’t I?!

So with this one I am going to share here I cropped the photo to just have eyes, nose and mouth as the main feature.  I am forever trying to perfect my ‘fur’ – which makes sense when you consider that’s what a cat or dog has the most of, right?  I’ve tried all sorts, but am slowly getting to being able to use several different brushes to achieve ‘my style’.   I have found that a combination of brushes is starting to do the trick – in this latest painting I used the following to create the fur texture:

Digital Brushes
Digital Brushes

Oil Bristle, scratchboard tool, impressionist brush, detail oil, square chalk, tiny spatter air brush and soft velocity airbrush.  Yes it seems like a lot, but I think they work well together. I do try out others, but the results are never quite what I am looking for.  Corel has SO many brushes that even after having this software for 3 years there are loads I have never even tried!

Anyway, without further ado – here is my ‘cat face’ painting. 🙂  The only thing I am going to fix up is that ‘band’ above the eye on the right hand side – it’s too narrow for my thinking… what say you????




Self taught artist back living in New Zealand after more than a decade of living in Canada. Starting over in more ways than one but always up for the challenge!

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