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Thread: Portrait that I'm working on for an art show.

  1. #1

    Portrait that I'm working on for an art show.

    The gallery I go to my life drawing group at is doing a "Face and Figures" show, and I'm attempting to complete a piece to enter. I decided to do a portrait of a friend of mine, and here's where it's at so far. Charcoal is the medium, which does unfortunately mean that it's going to be pretty much impossible for me to fix any major mistakes. I've already notice that I got the angle slightly wrong, but I don't think anyone who isn't seeing the reference image will notice that.






    Reference image for comparison.



  2. #2
    Monkey with Crayons [Moderator] Veritas71's Avatar
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    Watch the right eye. It looks more oval than circular. In the ref it goes under the lid more. It makes the eye looking straight instead of up and to the right. Can't you use white charcoal to set off highlights and fix issues? Or is that considered poor form?
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas71 View Post
    Watch the right eye. It looks more oval than circular. In the ref it goes under the lid more. It makes the eye looking straight instead of up and to the right. Can't you use white charcoal to set off highlights and fix issues? Or is that considered poor form?
    Actually, yeah, I probably could do that. And I have some white charcoal. Just didn't think of it. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Tried to fix the eye. Made a couple other adjustments as well.


  5. #5
    Member jeffchris50's Avatar
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    I would also pay A LOT of attention to the wisps of hair coming down from her hairline across her face. In the reference photo, they are very wispy and almost ethereal. In your rendering, I think you've put too weight and thickness in the lines representing them. I'd try to loose those lines up a lot and try to find some way to match the virtual weightlessness of the hair in the photo. It's a tiny detail, sure, but that, my friend, is where The Devil lives. I'm sure there are probably folks on these here boards who could give you a pointer or two on making those hairs look more "real."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffchris50 View Post
    I would also pay A LOT of attention to the wisps of hair coming down from her hairline across her face. In the reference photo, they are very wispy and almost ethereal. In your rendering, I think you've put too weight and thickness in the lines representing them. I'd try to loose those lines up a lot and try to find some way to match the virtual weightlessness of the hair in the photo. It's a tiny detail, sure, but that, my friend, is where The Devil lives. I'm sure there are probably folks on these here boards who could give you a pointer or two on making those hairs look more "real."

    Yeah, I would have liked to get those closer to how they looked in the reference, but I'm not that skilled with charcoal. If I were using regular pencils, it might be a different story. In any case, trying to erase them at this point would leave a mess, I think. There was also some sort of strange spot on the paper that ended up creating a really dark spot on her nose that I couldn't erase, so I ended up using the hair wisps to try to cover it. It's the one aspect of the piece that I'm really not happy with.

    At this point I think I'm calling this finished.


  7. #7
    Ok, so after I just said that I didn't think I could fix the hair, I went ahead and tried to fix it anyway. Not sure if this is an improvement, or if I just ruined it, but here's what I ended up with.



  8. #8
    Member jeffchris50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander_77 View Post
    Ok, so after I just said that I didn't think I could fix the hair, I went ahead and tried to fix it anyway. Not sure if this is an improvement, or if I just ruined it, but here's what I ended up with.


    IMHO, I think you were able to improve it with the changes in the hair wisps. You've incorporated more of where the strands start at the top, which is a good thing, plus you were able to reduce the "weight" of the hairs blowing across her face, another plus! Nice portrait!

  9. #9
    Monkey with Crayons [Moderator] Veritas71's Avatar
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    I'm nit picking, but her eyes are still not looking in the same direction. If she's googley eyed, then cool, but other wise her right iris and pupil need to go up and to the right, matching the other one.

    Overall though, great job. Red heads with pale skin are hard to pull off. There is hardly any highlights in her hair to show good contrast, and the shadows are not deep due to her pale skin. Next time, to test yourself, pick a photo that really has good contrast and lighting.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas71 View Post
    I'm nit picking, but her eyes are still not looking in the same direction. If she's googley eyed, then cool, but other wise her right iris and pupil need to go up and to the right, matching the other one.

    Overall though, great job. Red heads with pale skin are hard to pull off. There is hardly any highlights in her hair to show good contrast, and the shadows are not deep due to her pale skin. Next time, to test yourself, pick a photo that really has good contrast and lighting.
    Yeah, I guess the pupils are slightly off. Didn't notice it until you pointed it out. I already submitted the piece for entry to the show (kinda waited until the last minute on this one, the deadline is rapidly approaching), so it's too late to fix it now (at least as far as getting it entered into the show goes).

    And yeah, in terms of lighting and image quality, it wasn't the best photo to use. It was just a random selfie that she took with her phones crappy camera, while standing in front of a window.

    Honestly I chose it because there was just something about the image that really inspired me (and obviously she's absolutely gorgeous, so I wanted to draw her anyway). So I did the best I could to deal with the technical shortcomings. I have done other portraits, using better source material. Just for reference...

    This was done from a live modeling session:




    These from photos that I took:



    Last edited by Highlander_77; 09-06-2017 at 04:11 PM.

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