My wife loves wolves, so I decided to put my dagger stroke skills to the test. A billion dagger strokes, some pen and a hand cramp later I finished this Wolf with Snow.

I learned a lot about how to use the different brushes to pull small detail while doing this piece, it was fun but tedious. I still have a cramp in my thumb from it... The project took me about 5-6hrs working 1-2hrs at a time.

My wife Crystal really liked it and that made all the cramps and frustration worth it.

wolf finished

Its on 11x14in Canvas board prepped with high build primer and a black base of AutoAir sealer dark. All of the paints used were AutoAir Colors, semi-opaque white, transparent white, black, yellow, blue, red oxide and candy blue for the eyes. Fine hairs and whiskers were done with Micron Archival pens 005 and 02 size. I used a range of airbrushes on this to work with each and the small dagger strokes. Most of the fine work was done with the Harder & Steenbeck Infinity and Iwata Hi-Line HP-CH. I also used a DeVilbiss Dagr and Master G44 as well loaded with black. After I came to a point where I felt it was done enough I quickly signed it and clear coated it so I wouldn't be tempted to keep going back and working on it more.

I worked from a reference photo I found and started in PhotoShop to remove and blur the background elements of the original photo and to isolate just the head of the wolf. I printed out a few copies at the size I needed and cut out my high white spots, dark black spots, eyes and nose as well as the basic outline shape using a scalpel. I used these cut outs as loose stencils to get placement of the eyes, nose, and important reference points established then went in and worked them all with dagger stroke after dagger stroke in white, every so often going in with some black to knock something back a bit to help get some depth.