Behind the Scenes: Kaya

It’s time to start revealing the Christmas gift commissions!!! Are you excited? I am!!!!

I’m going a little out of order this year as I want to make sure I don’t reveal any pictures that haven’t been given yet. I’ll be revealing them in the order I definitely know they were received, and as I hand delivered this one and saw it be opened, I know it’s okay to do this one first 😉


Title: Kaya

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 5 x 7, framed and matted to 8 x 10

Time to complete: One afternoon

Purpose: Commissioned by my husband for his co-worker/family friend to commemorate her dog who just passed away in November

Thought process: I honestly didn’t know if this piece would ever be started, let alone finished. My husband mentioned that he wanted a drawing of Kaya done, but he knew I was working on other drawings at the time and didn’t want to add more to my plate. I mentioned maybe doing one after Christmas, and he thought that was a great idea.

When I finished all of my commissions ahead of schedule, he brought the idea of the drawing back up. I told him I wasn’t sure about timing as I was behind on our Christmas prep, but I’d look at pictures. I looked on Facebook for some pictures, but the ones I was finding didn’t feel right. He agreed, and we moved on.

Fast forward a week, and my husband mentioned that our friend’s daughter (who also is our new babysitter!) was looking for pictures and would be sending over a couple shortly for us to look at. We looked at them, and then both quickly agreed on a picture that we thought would be perfect after a little cropping for a better composition.

FB_IMG_1450154305099 (1)

The next day I prepped my paper, started drawing, and then had it finished that night!

Favorite part: I love how the collar turned out, and how Kaya’s expression comes through. She seems so happy, which is why we loved the reference picture!

Problems with the piece: It’s a silly problem, really. The only dogs I’d ever drawn before are either labs or lab mixes. They have wider faces, and are just a stockier dog. Kaya is a doberman, so the sleek face and fur as well as the higher set eyes was a bit of a challenge! It kept me on my toes and really forced me to focus on the original picture.

Starting to add detail

Oh, and dog noses are still crazy hard and weird looking.

Fun Tidbits:

This was my fourth dog drawing! I’ve completed MiloQ.D., another dog that was a Christmas gift which will be revealed next month, and now Kaya!

Questions on the piece:


Um, because I’m insane, obviously!!!!

Actually, it was because I knew this would be a somewhat easy piece to do. We agreed to keep it small, and dogs are my quickest subject to draw at the moment. There was no deadline as we originally thought it wouldn’t be even started until after Christmas. And doing something nice for a friend is something I’m always ready to jump in and do!

Finished and ready to be framed!

Why did this only take an afternoon, but other pieces can take weeks?

This piece is much smaller. You wouldn’t think a 5×7 is that much smaller than an 8×10, but it’s actually 35 square inches compared to 80. That is a HUGE difference!

Also, dog faces are much less time consuming than other objects, like a human face or a building. They’re much more forgiving if I don’t get the likeness 100% correct, where it could throw the look and feel of another subject completely off.

Don’t get me wrong, this one took longer than it should have. I’m used to working in peace and quiet now, so having my family around while I worked was distracting, so I was making careless mistakes that I had to fix or would lose momentum when I’d have to go and take care of someone or giggle at their antics 🙂


After looking back at all the dogs that I’ve done, I think I need to try a long haired one to see how that goes. Maybe my pupper, Mason, will let me take his picture and be my subject matter!

Stay tuned for next week’s reveal: a church, commissioned by a long time customer!

2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Kaya

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