Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby Portrait Grandaughter Completed

Graphite Charcoal Portrait of Baby
Well I think this little cutie is completed but as always I will leave it to sit a bit and take another look with fresh eyes. I understated her hands and clothing slightly so that they do not take too much attention from the face. Again, her face is much more developed than a sketch should be but I just can't seem to help myself!

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Birthday Portrait Commission


A few more tweaks have been made and I think I have got it :) This is the completed portrait in full size which is 18 x 24.
The transitions of the light and dark graphite are not as smooth as in the actual portrait but it is pretty close. I will leave it for a bit to see if anything needs minor tweaking but I think it is done!

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Birthday Portrait Commission - Son Update 2


This is another update on the son's portrait. I will take a break from him and let things 'settle' and will work on the daughter again for a bit. His left eyebrow still needs a bit of tweaking and his pout is not quite there yet. Aha his left eye is also a little too open, just noticed that. The computer is a great 'fact' checker as soon as you upload the image on the screen things start jumping out that no amount of staring and comparing on paper seems to catch :)

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Birthday Portrait Commission - Son Update 1


This is an update on the son's portrait which is to the right of his sister. His eyebrows and hair need to be darkened as well but need to let the graphite settle in more.
Again several tweaks are needed but much of the tonal values have been built up gradually. I should not of complained about the lack of sun here as I have been melting in my studio all day...but at least I have great lighting :)

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Father's Day Commission - Father & Daughter

The profile portrait of the father is nearly completed. The hair needs more texture added both darks & lights which I have just started adding. The shadows needs to be darkened just a little and the rest of the skin blended out in some areas, especially the ear once the graphite has settled a bit.
I just love the expression on the dad's face in this once, it is worth a thousand words. I think anyone that has just become a parent can relate, it is such an amazing thing to hold your new baby and wonder who is this person!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Family Portrait Commission - the boys

Wew, the boys portraits were tough for some reason but I am pretty happy with them now. There will likely be a few tweaks such as darkening the hair, adjusting the hair line and minor adjustments to their faces but I think the likeness is shining through now.
It really helps having a bit of time between working on the portrait and coming back with fresh eyes. I find that often something is bothering me that I can not figure out. I go and grab a cup of water and it jumps out at me. It is even more so with watercolors. I often leave thinking I should give up watercolors and take up oils or acrylic and I come back in the morning and am amazed at how all the pigments have come together and meshed. I think the graphite pencil also behaves the same way and settles into the paper more.
Another trick I find invaluable is viewing the reference photo on the computer along side the portrait. As soon as you see the portrait online the trouble areas jump out at you. I am not sure if it is due to the fact that the computer limits what you see and flattens it but whatever it is, it works!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Portrait Commission - Grandfather


The portrait of the grandfather is now nearly complete but I will again leave it until the other portraits are near completion to do any further adjustments. The final lifting of the highlights is also left until the end to keep the highlights fresh and free of graphite dust. I have left the edges rough as well on their chests as I will wait until the other portraits are completed to make sure they relate well to each other.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Newborn Baby Watercolor Portrait




This is the start of my latest painting. It is of my own baby boy fighting sleep but losing the battle. It is going to be done as a monochromatic painting in watercolor. I really like the effects of monochromatic artwork whether it be black and white as with pencil or graphite drawings or a single color.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak


Well I think Zak's portrait is complete! I will leave him overnight and may make minor tweaks. The scan does not show the graduations in tone as well as I would like. Some areas look a little choppy in the scan, but if gives the general idea. I think the dark background is throwing the balance off a bit for the scan.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak- Update #4

Zak is very near completion, just a few more tweaks in his fur better match his color pattern and texture. The blanket also needs to be lightened in a few areas so it does not look so flat.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak Commission - Demo 2


The tonal values have been further developed and Zak the cat is starting to take shape :) He is so beautiful, I love all the fur! I still need to add many layers of graphite pencil to add depth and shape to him but he is already starting to look pretty furry. I will need to establish the background early on as well to ensure his fur does not look cut out around the edges.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak- Update #1


Several layers of 2B graphite pencil have been added loosely, many more to go!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak

Graphite Charcoal Portrait of CatThis is a cat portrait of Zak that I have just started. He is going to be a Christmas Gift for his unsuspecting person. The photo is really small but the pose is priceless and the lighting is aweseome. I have darkened the sketch in photoshop to show the detail better. The sketch was drawn lightly with a H graphite pencil. Next I will start adding in the layers of graphite pencil in 2B, HB and F for his fur.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait


This is the graphite sketch of a cat name Vartz that I have just started. It is a 50th Birthday gift for his person and it is a rush job so not sure how many posts I will do of him before he is finished due to the time. I darkened the graphite sketch so that it is easier to see online it is much lighter on the paper. I added more detail in the sketch than I usually do as he has so many stripes in his fur and the photo is a little dark so I don't want to get lost as I go.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cards of Graphite Portraits




These are examples of my cards that I have started printing. I started out printing just as copies for customers to go along with their portraits as usually they are for gifts so this way they would have a print of the portrait for themselves after they give away the original graphite portrait. The cards can be either vertical or horizontal. If they are for customers like the one for the anniversary gift I usually enter a little note inside the card but for the greeting cards that I am selling like the puppy I have chosen to leave it blank.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Life Drawing Portrait in Graphite - Francis



This is a quick 30 min graphite portrait of Francis from my life drawing class that I recently started attending. Many of the pencil lines are not as soft and/or defined as I would like but hey, 30 minutes goes fast!

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life Drawing Portrait in Graphite


Well, it is week two of my life drawing class and I decided to focus on just the face for this one. I started quite small on this one not realizing that sustained pose meant for the whole night :) Of course, by the time I got to my second attempt I think I was too tired as he was starting to look very tired in the portrait ;) I used HB and 6B graphite pencils for this one. The likness is not too bad and I think the proportions are pretty close so I am happy with my attempt. Although, he has a bump in the bridge of his nose that I could just not capture .... I am sure I will get a chance to draw him again though :)


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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Exploring Conte

I have been taking a bit of a break from commissions and have been exploring new mediums for the past month. Oddly enough, I have never tried conte or chalk in the past. I stumbled across an artist who does amazing portraits in both oils and conte and charcoal. Her name is Marina Dieul and you can see her work on her blog at http://marinadieul.blogspot.com/

She manages to capture such emotion and strength in her portraits and her conte and charcoal portraits only use a few colors to achieve a full range of tonal values. So as soon as I saw her work I ran out to the art store and purchased some conte and started playing. Well, for such a simple medium conte has such a huge range of tonal values and possibilities. Now, how to achieve these ranges, that is not so simple. I have been using similar methods that I use for my graphite and charcoal portraits and so far, am quite please with the results.

Combining the conte with vine charcoal produces a nice range of tonal values and, depending on how and when you combine them, different results can be achieved. Vine charcoal seems to produce the softest results which I prefer and depending on how it is blended (ie blending stumps, cloths, fingers etc.) a full range of blending can be achieved. I use the same methods for blending the conte and have been playing with several shades to achieve smooth transitions of color. The conte that Marina recommends is Carres which can be purchased at most art stores and has several colors to work with although I prefer to stick to a very limited palette of earth tones, especially while I am still trying to learn the medium. I will post some of my sample exercises and eventually a sketch or two once I am happy with the results. So far, I have just been doing basic blending/drawing exercises, spheres, lines and blending to get a feel for the medium.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait - wip4


I have done a few minor tweaks to her face but still much more is needed to achieve the resemblence. I will leave the faces for a bit though and work on the rest of the portrait to allow the graphite to settle in and so that the final details are crisp. I have drawn in the shape of her arm using B graphite pencil and will move onto her dress shortly.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait - wip3


S

till lots of tweaks to made to the bride as well but the main features have been blocked in. Several layers of H, B and HB graphite have been used to draw her skin and hair. The graphite pencil is then blended, features redrawn and blended again removing highlights where needed. Each pass further refines the features as the graphite absorbs into the paper. I will likely draw both of their faces to near completion and then move onto the rest of the portrait and then finish up with their faces again to keep the features crisp. As their faces are smaller than I generally work with I find that I am almost working in reverse for this portrait. Laying the features down and then removing excess graphite to refine their features more.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait - wip1


I have drawn in the rough details of Bret's face and am building and defining his features as I go. Many details are off at this point as I refine them as I go. His eyebrow and goatee have been set in but need adjusting as well. The actual faces are much smaller than I am used to drawing which is a bit of a challenge so I am using B graphite rather than 2B to keep the details more crisp. HB graphite pencil is used for the tighter details and both have been blended and reapplied many times to build up depth.
This is kind of the ugly stage of the portrait for me as many things are so off that they scream at me but by the next update things will be taking shape nicely :)

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait




This is the graphite sketch for a commission that will be a gift for a first wedding anniversary. I was not able to capture all of the portrait with my scanner as it is 11x14 and my scanner...even though it says it scans A4...seems to not want to go larger than 8.5 x 11 argh, may be time for a new scanner ;)


I have transferred the drawing onto the watercolor paper and have darkened the outline of the bride and groom with HB graphite pencil. The background is hard to see right now but is sand and rocks with will be loosely drawn in.


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Graphite Portrait of Papillon Dog


I thought I had scanned my sketch for this portrait of a papillon puppy but I can't seem to find it! I am working on two portraits at the same time right now as they are both needed near the same date.
This one is for the 8th annual Papillon Canada National Specialty dog show in Halifax in September. I had never heard of this breed of dog before but once I saw pictures of them I was eager to draw one as they are so pretty and endearing.
I have drawn the fur with many layers of my usual graphite pencils in 2B, B, HB, F and H. The eyes and nose appear quite dark right now. I may lighten them a little but will decide after the ears are darkened more with 2b graphite pencils.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Custom Graphite Portrait - wip 3


Several layers of 2b, B, HB and H graphite pencils have been used to draw her hair. Many more layers are needed but the general flow has been established. The wisps around her face will be added when the portrait is nearer completion so that they stay crisp as will the hair under her chin.
More darks will be added to create more depth and flow in her hair. I may make the right side of her hair a tad bit thicker near her shoulder but will decide after the graphite has settled a bit.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Custom Graphite Portrait - wip 2

Several more layers of graphite have been drawn for the skin as well as for the blanket and pillow case. I add the pencil layers lightly and build up as the portrait progresses so no area is completely finished until the end. This way the overall tone of the portrait can be judged better.

I will likely start adding layers for the hair next. Her hair is different colors in the reference photos due to highlights but I think I will go with her hair natural which is a dark black. I think it suites this portrait better and will create more depth and interest as the bedding will be on the light side.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Custom Graphite Portrait - sketch


This is the sketch for a custom graphite portrait I have just started. It is a very rough outline at this point as I am working from several reference photos. The quality of the photos are poor so it is a bit of a challenge but the concept is quite cool and the main reference photo has great lights and darks and she has such a sweet smile that even at this very rough stage she brightens up my canvas.
I am still working out how the hair will fall, how the eyes will look as in the reference photo the eyes are open and some other details need to be addressed but they will sort themselves out as I go. The words Happiness, Peace, Comfort, Understanding and Beauty will be slightly hidden throughout the portrait as well which will be very cool. I will wait until the portrait takes a bit more shape before I decide where each word will be drawn.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait Completed


Well this cute little baby girl's portrait is completed just in time for her first birthday. Some of the transitions still look a little harsh in the scan from dark to light but it is much more gradual in the completed portrait.
I hope her mommy and daddy enjoy it! I will be sad to see her go as I have gotten a little attached ;) I think that is why I sometimes tend to fiddle around a bit at the end, separation anxiety ;)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - WIP6


I just did a few minor tweaks and drew this cutie's eyelashes and brows. I still need to even out a few of the highlights but want to let the graphite settle into the paper a bit first.
I will leave the portrait for a day to get a bit of distance and then make the final tweaks as needed but she is pretty much completed. Again, online the transition between the lights and darks can be a little harsh looking but in the real portrait they are quite subtle but still provide contrast to capture her character.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - WIP4


Well, she looks much better with 2 eyes! More layers have been drawn using a 2B graphite pencil for her skin. Her hair has been drawn with 2B, B, HB, F and 3H graphite pencils, blending as I go and adding some of the highlights.
For her eyes, I used 2B, HB and 3H graphite pencils to draw the iris. The pupil was drawn with 2B and HB only being careful not to add too much of a shine to the paper. I like to bring all of the different areas of the face to near completion and then hone in on the details so no area is complete until the end of the portrait. It is really starting to look like this cute little baby girl though I think :)

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - WIP3

Just a quick update! I have drawn many many more layers of 2B, HB and F graphite pencils. Just slowly building up the layers of the graphite portrait of this cutie!

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - WIP2


I have drawn a bit more skin tone values throughout using 2B and H graphite pencils. The lips have been drawn using 2B, B, HB and H graphite pencils. The teeth will be finished last and the lips still need some adjustments which will be done nearer the end of the portrait. I tend to jump around the portrait a bit when I draw as I like to let the graphite settle into the paper.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - Sketch


I have drawn the rough outline with an HB graphite pencil and darkened it in photoshop so that the lines could be seen on the computer. The reference photo is below.

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Baby Girl's First Birthday Portrait Commission

This adorable little girl is the subject of my next graphite portrait commission. She is such a cutie and looks like she is full of spunk! This portrait will be in celebration of her first birthday which is coming up shortly.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #7

Several more layers of 2B and H graphite pencil have been added and blended for the hair. I will leave the hair for now so the graphite has time to settle into the paper and come back to it to add more depth.

The shirt and the tie have been nearly completed so I will now start on tweaking the facial features first to the groom and then to the bride until I am happy with the resemblence for their portrait.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #5


The drawing process is the same for the groom, just adding the skin tone in layers using mostly 2B and HB graphite pencils and blending to build up the layers and hone the features of his portrait.
It looks pretty rough right now as there are many areas in different stages of completness, next update should look more cohesive.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #3

Many more layers of 2B graphite pencil have been added to the portrait. Several areas need to be tweaked but she is starting to take shape. I have drawn in the hairline a bit more but will leave the rest of her hair until later.

At this stage of the drawing I am more concerned with building up the layers of tone with the graphite. I then continue to move the graphite around to add depth and capture the personality and character of the bride.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #2



Many more layers of 2B graphite have been lightly added to build up the tones in the bride's face. The eyelashes and brows have been roughly marked in with a HB graphite pencil and will be finalized at the end to keep them looking crisp as will the wispy hairline.

The stage of the portrait always looks odd as the building process needs to be done slowly and in many layers so some areas are more developed than others. The skin tone looks a little grainy in the scan due to the dark hair but is actually very smooth looking on the real portrait.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #2

Several layers of graphite have been added and blended using 2B and H graphite pencils to create the bride's.

I have gone back into areas, removed highlights and then added more layers to create depth in her hair. I still need to add more of the detail to her hair and the wisps framing her face but I will leave those to nearer completion as I want them to be crisp.

I added a very light layer of skin tone using 2B graphite pencil and blended lightly. Many more layers to come! The scan does not pick the skin up well at this point because the contrast between the hair and the skin is so great. Next update her portrait should look better!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - Initial Sketch

This is the initial sketch for the portrait. I darkened the scanned image in photoshop as the actual lines are quite light. I tried to add a fair bit of detail this time at this stage as a bit of a 'road map'. I used an HB graphite pencil for this stage as it blends in easily so that the lines will not be visible later.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Learn to Draw - Blind contour drawing exercise

Anybody can learn to draw, the key is to lean to observe what you see. If you want to increase your observations skills, try doing some blind contour drawings. Blind contour drawings are done by drawing an object without ever looking at the paper. The final drawing is not important, although you may be surprise at how recognizable the object is when you are done. The most important thing is to carefully observe the object and don't rush, just take your time and don't peek!

I like to draw my hand as it is always available and the possibilities are endless depending on how your hand is positioned. Place your hand in a comfortable position and put your graphite pencil on your paper. If you are not using a drawing book, you may need to tape your paper to your drawing surface so that it does not slide around. I usually start at the bottom of my hand near the wrist and work my way up from there. Just follow the line of your wrist very slowly allowing your pencil to follow every nook and cranny of your hand.

The more detail you can capture the better. The line must be continuous (i.e. don't lift the pencil) but can go back and forth the capture details such as folds of the skin etc. Once you are done, take a look. It is surprising that areas often look complete as though you had been looking at the paper the whole time! Try different objects, plants, flowers, dishes etc. This is also a good way to get loosened up before starting a drawing session. Practice, practice, practice :)

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Graphite Dog Portrait of a Weimaraner

Graphite Dog Portrait of a WeimaranerThe dog portrait is complete! The detail on his face and ears has been added to add texture and depth. The body has been left smooth with less detail to allow it to appear further away from the viewer. Posted by Picasa

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Graphite & Charcoal Materials Tutorial

Drawing Surface
My favorite drawing surfaces are smooth or medium bristol board and arches hot pressed watercolor paper. The watercolor paper provides more tooth for the graphite and charcoal to settle into.

Pencils
Any artist grade pencils will do. Experiment to find a brand that you feel comfortable with. I generally use F for the initial drawing as it erases easily without too much damage to the paper. I also like to use mechanical pencils as well as regular pencils as they maintain their shape well.

Charcoal

Again any artist grade charcoal that you can find will work well. The degrees of hardness ranges from HB (hardest) to 3B (softest).

Erasers

I use mak tak as a kneaded eraser. You can buy it at any stationary store. It is used for tacking pictures to walls but it works perfectly for lifting graphite and/or charcoal from drawings and for erasing.

Blending Stumps

Soft paper felt with double pointed ends used for blending. If the point wears down you can use sand paper to repoint.

Tortillions

Soft rolled paper with pointed end used for blending

Chamois

For the smoothest blending and to lift off extra graphite or charcoal.
Tissue PaperFor a rougher blending effect and to lift off extra graphite or charcoal.


Miscellanesous

Tracing paper to draw original artwork on, transfer paper, masking tape for holding template in place, drafting brush to remove eraser and graphite residue, chamois for blending

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