From a great pricture provided by photographer Nicke Reeves Payne.
A big thank you, Nicke, for your adorable picture of Bobo.
I always start with a line drawing, using a white pencil. A regular graphite pencil won't show very well on black paper.
Once the line drawing is done, I add all the highlights, and lightest areas, still with a white pencil. It's kind of like drawing a black and white picture of the subject, but in reverse since I'm using black paper.
I think this is the hardest part of the process because I have to make sure I put everything in its place, that the proportions are correct, and the right details are in the right spots. It takes a lot of effort and observation.
I usually take a little break after this step.
Once my eyes are working properly again, I start adding some colors. This time, I use the darkest colors first to work on the shadows. I go over the whole picture and add all the colors everywhere.
Once this is done, I go over each area carefully, working on the highlights again, making sure there's a nice contrast between the light and the shadows.
Working on black paper can be difficult, as not all the colors stand out well. I have to make sure I use many layers. To do so, each layer has to be applied very lightly, using a very sharp pencil tip, or the surface of the paper will be saturated too fast, and I won't be able to add any more colors. I go through pencils and sharpeners very fast. I keep a stock of new sharpeners, and I've go a bunch of white pencils.
Here's our cute Bobo, all finished, happily sleeping on his chair:
Tabby 102 - 8x10" - SOLD