Blog Sketches

Old English Sheepdog Pencil Drawing

Old English Sheepdog Pencil Drawing by Amy Letts Pet Portraits

Old English Sheepdog - Detail view of pencil drawing by Amy Letts
Face Detail

Another doggy drawing!

This is the commission I got from one of the friends I play D&D with. I was for his girlfriend as a Valentines Day present because they both adore Old English Sheepdogs and want to have one as a pet one day. Aww! Apparently she loved it, and now I can post the picture of it here in my blog without any risk of ruining the surprise.

I used photo reference and drew with a very light pencil at first; I wanted to detail as much of the hair as possible, I mean, an Old English Sheepdog is pretty much ALL hair so it’s very important (such a big, hairy and beautiful breed)! Then I gradually added the darker tones and shading, using a smudge stick to gently blend.

It was rather fun, and I got to use a lot of different line types to create the textures in the background. YAY!


Dying my hair with Henna

Before Henna
Before Henna
After Henna
After Henna

After much deliberation I decided to take the plunge and Henna my hair. I ordered 400g of Henna from a reliable seller on Ebay and ended up using 250g on my hair.

I mixed it up in a great big pudding bowl with orange and lemon juice until it was a mashed-potato consistency, then covered the bowl with cling film and left it to sit for around 16 hours. I added more orange juice to thin it, wrapped a sheet around my shoulders that I usually use for painting, and started glooping it on my hair.

I started at the back and tried to section it out as much as possible. It got tougher the more hair I added until it just became a muddy mess. I rubbed my fingers through it trying to massage the henna deep into the hair and glooped more on until it was thickly covered. Quite a lot of it splattered about and I ended up with henna on my face a neck which stained them orange for a while, but that soon disappeared. Unsure as to how evenly I had applied it I figured I’d done the best I could so I wrapped my head in cling film and proceeded to wait for four hours. I just drew and did computer stuff as per usual. I had to stuff the edges of the cling film with tissue paper to stop liquid-henna running out. It felt really warm and heavy on my head.

After four hours I ran a bath and soaked my hair in it. It helped get the majority of the muddy henna out and I showered the rest, washing my hair with teatree shampoo as I normally do but with extra conditioner. I figured all the henna was out when the water started to run clean. So I got out the bath, towel-dyed my hair, and ran off to my D&D game. I didn’t get a proper look at it til afterwards.

As you can see it is quite a difference from my dark-blonde hair!  I’m pleased with the colour. I had worried it would look orange but it is definitely red! It seems really even all over and I don’t seem to have missed anything after all! I’ll be interested to see it in daylight and wonder how it will turn out in a few days time when it settles to its ‘true colour.’  Overall I’d say dying hair with henna is a piece of cake!

I found Henna For Hair a really useful resource.


Should I henna my hair?


Henna is a plant whose leaves produce a red dye.  It’s translucent and conbines with hairs natural tones.  It’s supposed to be a very good conditioner, making hair strong and smooth.  In addition to this it apparently soothes headaches and migraines (I’m a terrible migraine sufferer myself).

You can see from my picture what colour my hair is now. What would you call it – dark blonde? To be honest I’m not sure, it certainly used to be blonde but has gradually been getting darker.  I’ve sort-of wanted red hair since reading The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce.  The heroine – Alanna – was a huge role-model for me in my teens.  My sister dyes her hair red and it looks really nice.

I have never, ever dyed my hair.  I don’t like to fuss over my appearance and rarely wear make-up.  If I started using henna would I be reapplying it all the time?  How tedious is it to do?  Is it worth it?  Do you think it would suit me?  I’d really appreciate hearing peoples experiences and opinions.