One Dog Four Ways

I wasn’t setting out to compare the way I use different mediums, just to experiment with them.  (I looked it up and it’s okay to say mediums or media as a plural when discussing art.) But this project ultimately made me take a look at where my skills are with watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil and pencil.

As usual, I started out with basic outlines. (I forgot to take a picture before starting to shade.)


While I didn’t take progression photos, I zoomed in on each finished (or mostly finished) picture as I completed it.

Pencil probably took the longest. I have no idea why I started at the bottom right of the page…


As I’ve been doing with watercolor, I held the brush as if it were a pencil. I suppose if I were doing something larger, like a landscape, I might approach it a different way. I used a #4 round brush. Without thinking about it, I used my 90lb Mixed Media sketchbook and it handled the watercolor just fine! Good to know for future reference.


I think I photographed the colored pencil one before I had quite finished blending. I didn’t put much time into this one. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it might have had to do with my awful reference photo—just black on black with no real detail. I recommend Bethany Kerr’s excellent post on how to find a good reference photo (but unfortunately did not heed her advice in this case).


I think this comparison of different mediums on the same page clearly shows that my ability with charcoal is superior when it comes to achieving realism. Charcoal was also the fastest and easiest.


While I like coming closer to realism with charcoal, the watercolor dog is probably still my favorite one because I got to add some color and I just really love the fun and relaxed look of watercolor; it seems to me to have a distinct personality (or maybe a few, depending on the style used).

I wish I had used the colored mediums diagonally from each other (even though they’re all basically versions of black). But other than that this was a good experience and I recommend it as a fun project: pick a subject that you can capture from multiple angles, get out some Mixed Media paper, and see how you do with your favorite mediums!


One Dog Four Ways, watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil, and pencil on Mixed Media paper, 2018 (9×12)


  1. It’s so cool to see how you approached all these different mediums! (And I’m glad you clarified the media/mediums thing because I thought mediums was wrong but I kept saying it because saying media felt weird, but now I know lol) My favorite of these dogs is the watercolor and charcoal one. They turned out really well and I love the poses you chose!


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