Friday, January 9, 2015

Working Christmastown, and the trials and tribulations of portraits...

So for a little bit of time during the month of December, I was given an opportunity to really tackle something that I've been meaning to get myself better at, live portraiture.  Before I go any further, this is in no way a slam against live caricature in any way as its a tremendous skill to have and those who are actually good at it will reap tremendous rewards from it.  However, I will say that at least for me, going back to the portrait "roots" is vital.  It keeps me grounded in a sense and serves as a reminder of the importance of volumes and form.

When I took over the shop for the little bit of time that I had, there was one major goal I kept in mind outside of the obvious making crazy money.  I felt like I had to really dig deep into the portrait end of it and come out of there better than I left.  So without further ado, these are the pictures that I cooked up from the lab.

 So one of the first frontal sales I had to do was this dog.  Admittedly, I think it's easier to draw them this way than at the caricature stand.  It's quicker over there, but it's more accurate over here.  I can't remember what the owner told me about him, but in case you were wondering, he is missing an eye.  This one wasn't bad at all considering that the photo was a bit challenging.
 These two sisters were live.  This one also brought about an issue that I'm gonna have to make sure I don't walk into, with the one on the right her nose should've been a bit shorter.  These get a little tricky to spot mainly because you don't really get the time to step back and compare, so that means the initial observations just have to be sharper than typical.
 Eartha Kitt.  This makes the third time I've drawn her, but the first where she's not Catwoman.  She's the first one to enter the lab where I got the chance to experiment with the pastels some.  I also picked a reference that challenge my ability to see the planes of the face.  She took longer than I would've liked, but the lessons from this one only served to help me speed them up later.
 Another frontal, this time of a young girl.  Overall it works, but the biggest stumble I made with this one was not sticking to the original plan because a vital structure of her face got obscured while trying to tighten things up.  All this means is just map certain things out a little bit more, especially in the initial block in. Aside from that, can't complain too much about it.
 Aubrey Hepburn.  Stepping back made me realize the eyes were a little too large for comfort.  Could be better, and a bit less outline too.
 This kid was another sale I had.  The only strike I have against it was that I could've given the right side planes of his face some more shadow.  Aside from that, I was really happy with the child's likeness.  The major forms did hit where they needed to the most.
 Benedict Cumberbatch.  Did some experimentation with the shadowing, especially with the Creat-a-color umbra.  Use it right, and it does wonders.  Too much and we'll have a problem.  This sketch was the first one of two that I managed to actually sell, and what was even crazier was that he didn't last a day in the shop.  Matter of fact it might have only been 2 hours or so before someone HAD to have him.  This might have been a bit of a turning point, as the sale let me know that I was on the right track.
 Prince.  I decided to draw him with the afro for personal reasons.  Also another one that experimented with a downturned angle.
 Victor Newman, AKA "The Moustache".  With this one, it became apparent to me that as with most things like this, the beginning phase can tell you a lot about whether its going to work out or not.  I could see him as early as the block in phase about two minutes in.
 Patrick Troughton, AKA Dr. Who no. 2,  He's got a great face and expressions, and I saw it as a challenge to really understand how the light and shadow plays off of that.
 Han Solo.  His was the first one that the speed started to pick on.  The block in was done so fast it made me pause for a moment.  This one also made me realize when it was truly time to start adding the highlights, and to not piddle around with the dark and mids so much as there's only so much information those two can give you by themselves.
 Leia.  Same deal with Han, but the angle made me think a little extra time about a couple things.  I was really starting to like and appreciate the real potential of how these things can really look.
 Rhianna.  There were a couple things I really wish I touched up a bit more now that I see it again but otherwise it does look like her in the important ways.  This one did look better in real life though.
 Another frontal sale, this time a older and younger sibling.  This was actually the first multiple frontal I had to do, and aside from some post sketch quirks you notice after the fact it turned out pretty favorably.  Still need to be certain to watch the values though, and especially be very aware of the center line with 3/4 view portraits.  It's easy to forget it in the rush of things.
 Spock.  I wish I had a better photo refrence as they were all pretty difficult to work from.
 LeBron James.  I remember questioning the likeness on this one quite a bit after I finished it but it seemed like everyone who saw it at the shop knew it was him without me saying a word.  Then on top of that, he became the second one that I've sold.  Hence, you see the wrapper around it.
 Eminem.  I think he might have gotten JUST enough values to work.
 Me, matting a silhouette up and getting them ready for oval frames.  This was probably the one thing that gave me any sort of issues doing portraits at the park, but with enough practice and cutting through paper I managed to finally figure out a solid strategy for them.  This was actually my first framed silhouette sale ever.

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