Thursday, 6 June 2013

My littlest niece

My brother takes brilliant photographs, and I've used his photos as inspiration for paintings and drawings several times.

He recently took some lovely black and white, high contrast photos of his littlest daughter, 3-year old Lyra, and I decided that one of them would make a really nice pencil portrait and I hoped I'd make a decent fist of it.  It would be tricky because (a) people are hard to draw; (b) getting a likeness to the actual person being represented is screamingly hard; (c) babies and small children are tricky - their faces are not finished forming yet and, if you're not careful, come out a bit, well, 'blobby'; and (d) smiling people are practically a no-no for portrait artists - portraying a convincing smile is one of the most difficult things.  That's why the Mona Lisa is barely smirking.

The photo I chose of Lyra has all of these problems.  I was really going to have to push myself to get this one to come out right. (small hint - obviously it did otherwise I wouldn't be showing you!!)

For this one I did do a series of photos showing progress, on the off chance that it worked out okay!

I printed off two copies of the photo I wanted to use, one bigger than the other, so I could get the detail right.  This one was done in pencil on A4 acrylic paper.  I started off taping it up, as usual, then began drawing in the basic facial details and trying to get proportions right.  The eraser got used a lot.

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Then I started adding more details:

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And moved the photos around the board so I could see them better.  In this one I've added the background just by smudging the pencil with my fingertips:

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Worked more on the eyes, and the neck, and started working on the hair:

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Coming together now, am pleased with progress:

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Sometimes viewing from an angle is interesting:

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Final version:

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I'm extremely proud of this one - I think it's the best picture I've done so far, by a long way.  It gives me hope that I might just be able to draw recognisable people after all - with more practice of course!!




1 comment:

pinklea said...

That is fantastic! I've been impressed with all of your artwork, but yes, people are hard to draw (particularly for those of us who can really only do stick figures). Your drawing of Lyra looks EXACTLY like the photo! Wonderful work!