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Pastel Portrait of a Lamb


Pastel portrait of a lamb.

pastel portrait of a lamb
Pastel portrait of a lamb. Soft pastel on sanded paper.

New artwork just finished. A portrait of a lamb using soft pastels and pastel pencils. It often seems that wildlife artists (and I am guilty of this myself) spend most of their time depicting the more ‘glamorous’ animals such lions, tigers or wolves. There is nothing really wrong with this of course, particularly when it draws attention to conservation and endangerd species, but sometimes the humble farm animal will get overlooked in the art world.

One of the inspirations for attempting this picture was an excellent website I came across called Think Differently About Sheep. It is a fasinating resource about the plight of farm animals and how we can change our understanding towards them. I would certainly urge you to check it out.

Please also have a look at The Journal of a Struggling Artist which is a blog for those who struggle with visual art. It is full of information as well as hints and tips about drawing and painting. It is inspiring for beginners as well as more experienced artists.

The Portrait

After the initial sketches I drew the main features directly onto sanded paper with a pastel pencil. The colour is blocked in quite quickly just to get rid of the intimidating blankness of the paper. This is my usual method of beginning a portrait.

lamb stage one
Early stages of the portrait

The background in the reference photo was not really suitable so I essentially just made one up from various other reference photos. Sometimes a solid block of colour will suffice as a background but I felt this portrait needed to be placed in a proper landscape.

lamb stage two
The later stages of the portrait.

The coat of the lamb proved to be a bit more challenging that I first realised. I had to over and over the area several times building up the layers of colour try to create the illusion of the coat. The whiteness of the coat was finished off using hard pastels.


The materials I used in this portrait were: Rembrandt soft pastels, Derwent pastel pencils, Daler Rowney hard pastels and Fisher 400 sanded paper.


Time lapse video showing the portrait being created from start to finish

Thank you for reading this blog post. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below or you can email me directly. Don’t forget to check out my social media pages as well.






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