I figured this would be a nice entry to talk about the materials I use and some of my techniques.
Mr. Fancypants' portrait was created on Hannemuhle Velour paper. It's a wonderful archival and acid free paper. There are some issues with using velour paper, but I have some tips. With velour paper, erasing is out of the question. It's best to layout the drawing with a light layer of pastels and continue building the drawing. It's also possible to draw a sketch and then transfer the drawing onto the velour with carbon paper. Paint pigments also like to "dust off" velour paper. I don't like using fixative with my pastel pieces. I know this is a big debate among artists, but I'm not a big fan of fixative for pastels. To get around using fixative I use a brand of pastels called PanPastels for very large areas. This brand binds to paper very well, I highly recommend it.
Here are some progression photos of Mr. Fancypants' portrait. This tutorial is mostly going to show how I create detail in fur. Later, I will have a tutorial on eyes since it's such an important part of any portrait. I took these photos while my work was on the drafting table.
(Please click photos for a larger view.) At this stage, I've blocked the major areas with the PanPastels. I'm preparing to go into the areas where I know that fine detail will be important. I know the frame will be black and white, so I'm keeping those colors in mind while I'm working. The velour paper allows me to layer colors together. I know I want the background to have brown, grey and black shaded together.
At this stage I went back in with more brown colors in the background with the PanPastels. Then I started to go into the fine detail areas with Derwent pastel pencils. It's important to have sharp points on the pencils during this process. I like to use sandpaper to keep them sharp. I never use a pencil sharpener because the pencils are very fragile. It's important to pay attention to the direction of the fur while adding in the fine detail. I used Burnt Umber 54F, Brown Ochre 57 B, Sepia 53 F, Sepia 53 D, French Grey 70 D and French Grey 70H.
At this point, I know the final stages are near. I added in the color into the cheeks for the whiskers. I built up the background some more. I blended in some of the detail with a paper stump. I built up some of the color in the chest. In the final stages, I add shading in the inner ear, along with fur. Then I add in the whiskers with Chinese White 72 B and Ivory Black 67 B pastel pencils.
Hope this all was informative! This was my very first tutorial! Please feel free to leave comments or questions!