I started by glazing my canvas with a light pink background using acrylic paint. The pink will shine through the final painting and give it a nice glow and a cohesiveness that is otherwise hard to achieve.
I then stretch rubber bands across the painting to create a grid so that I can accurately transfer my reference photo to the canvas. I use my tablet to display my reference photo which is incredibly handy since I can enlarge an area to get a closer look.
You may notice in the color photo of Molly (see below), there is a blank gray area above her head. I added this space so that I could straighten out her ears and give a little breathing room at the top.
Whenever I work on a commission, I really take my time. I will start rendering Molly's eyes and nose since they are the most critical elements. Hopefully I'll have an update to share very soon!