Since my pet portraits have featured a lot of grass in them I thought I would do a little tutorial as to how I do my grass. As with art there is no right or wrong way, but I know I struggled with it for ages and I know others do too, so this is how I go about it.
This is the shih tzu portrait I was talking about yesterday. We decided they want him on grass rather than the grey carpet.
As with fur, grass needs to be built up in layers to give it depth. Here I have started with the darkest grass under the dogs feet, this is where the shadow is falling. I will probably darken it later, but I am just marking out where I want the shadows to go and to give me measure as to how light I want to make the grass in the rest of the portrait.
I then go to the grass that will be behind the dog. This I want to give a softer, out of focus look to give it some depth of field. I use lots of little upward strokes, with varying shades of green. Always going in the direction the grass will be going.
In this next photo you can see I have worked some more on it, using the same process and in places soften it with my finger.As I work down, I start to make the blades of grass longer as we are nearing the dog to again show depth of field and give some perspective to the portrait.I continue this, all the way down increasing the length slightly until it gets to a length I think will be suitable to the dog. Remembering we will be building up the layers to create depth. Also I use varying shades of green, remember grass isn’t just one colour, there are even some browns in there.
Working more on the grass I tend to use mainly the mid tone green for the base and then I add some dark and lighter blades. I will continue to pick out the different shades on top the mid tone and adjust as I see fit.Here it is nearly finished. I have darkened the shadow under the dog and and lots of different shades of greens for the blades of grass, remember grass doesn’t just go in one direction, so make sure you vary the the direction the strokes go in. I add the lightest blades of grass last.
This isn’t totally finished, will tweak and amend as I go along and also once the dog portrait is complete I will add a few blades of grass over his paws to make sure it doesn’t look like he is floating on top of the grass, but sitting it it and making him grounded. I will show the photo of how I have done that when the portrait is completed.
I hope that helps and if anyone has any questions let me know!