My son Levi

Yay, I’ve finished my portrait of my son Levi! I’ve taken some photos along the way and here is my progress from start to finish. I wanted to do a portrait in a similar style to the one I did some months ago of my eldest son Raine. Different colours this time. Levi is 14 years old, he is my quiet boy, he is taller than me already and I am tall so with some years left of growing I am sure he is going to be a very, very tall boy.

So lets begin … The bonus with this particular piece of art is I can share the reference photo because it is mine. This particular photo was from New Years Eve, such a nice pose which is why I chose this one, the downside to this photo is its quite light for shadows which always makes portraits harder, to work with this I utilise photoshop and work from a darker print. Below you can see I’ve drawn over the light photo print reference (left) with graphite pencil for knowing where I need to work my shadows and lines for when I trace it. The right reference shows my rough idea of colour placement. I am using Faber Castell Polychromos for this project, they are nice pencils…
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I prefer to trace my subjects to get a more accurate piece of artwork, this saves a lot of heartache at the end, its no fun having a piece that doesn’t look in proportion when you’ve spent so much time making it so to avoid that I just go with a more accurate outline. If I am doing a larger piece I would use the gridding method, but when I can now I utilise a projector. The three picture sequence above shows how I trace my reference to paper.  I use a stylus along with some graphite tracing paper. I trace as much of the reference as I need onto my paper, I’m using Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper. Then I rub it out to make the lines less visible but still enough so I can see where to go.

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Then comes the fun stuff!! I begin, always slow at the start trying to get a feel for the artwork and the colours, the watercolour splash effect is easier than the whole face and I want to incorporate some of that splash into the skin tones but not too much, I work all over the place building it bit by bit.

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I lay my pencils down light and build them gradually by pressing harder as I go. Levi is such a pale boy and his photo for this piece is hard one!!

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Sometimes I blend with odourless turpenoid as I go, this time I’ve decided to wait until I’ve almost finished to smooth it out. I find this process just makes the pencils look a lot better. Below is a short sped-up video of brushing the turpenoid over some of the artwork.

EPSON MFP imageLastly I’ve added some white dots with some acrylic paint, this final photo of the finished artwork above is one I’ve scanned in on the computer which shows the colours and work better than a photograph does. I have 3 children so have one more of this style to create of my daughter, I can then hang all 3 of them on my wall together! Stay tuned for progress on hers…. 😀

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