Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Full Color Self-Portrait with Process

Last Friday, I gave myself the afternoon to start making whatever art I wanted. Since I hadn't done a full color portrait in a long while, and seeing how I'm still the cheapest and most accommodating model I know, self-portrait it was.
Estimating by the audio book I was listening to, the painting took about 16 hours (not including setup), spaced out across 5 days.

The Setup:
1. Wacom Graphire tablet. I know some of you will balk at my archaic tech, but I'm no snob. It works.
2. Warm key light. Clip lamp on the frame of my second monitor.
3. Cool fill light. A floor lamp, shade removed, with bulb covered in two layers of blue plastic sheeting salvaged from a binder organizer. One of these days I'll get myself a proper array of colored gels. For now, we improvise.
4. Backdrop. The tablecloth I made and used for my booth during the UW theater portfolio showcase in 2006.
5. Chair, on top of the couch, for clipping the backdrop to.
6. Full length mirror, back of. On top of a stool, propped up against the back of my easel.
7. Cosmetic hand mirror, the better to study details with.
8. Feline companion, Gandalf the Grey.

Super-fast line drawing, just to give myself some bearings. In retrospect, it would have saved me a few headaches later on if I'd spent more time and careful attention on the drawing phase, but at the time, I just wanted to get on with it.

Ugh. Terrible terrible 'just get something down for everything' blocking. Gross. I can't believe I'm even
posting it. Okay, let's just move on to the next phase as fast as possible, shall we.

Beginning to look more human. Progress in the right direction.

Hair made a big difference. Fun with cool and warm.

A round of anatomy adjustments. I left the glasses on for comparison in the progress shots, but I did a lot of the work on the facial structure with their layers turned off. I needed to make sure the underlying anatomy worked without the distraction of a obscuring form floating in front. Flipping the canvas horizontally helped, too.

Oops. Ear in the wrong place, and time to stop ignoring the shirt.

Enlarging the nose and fleshing out the neck went a long way toward improving the likeness. 

Final stretch. Something was still bothering me, until I realized the left eye was too small for the perspective on the rest of the head. More anatomy refinements, especially on cheek and forehead. Fixed the hair around the ear and added the jewelry. Glasses, and the shadows they cast, were last. I had a lot of fun with the little glinting details of metal and glass.

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