Thursday, December 26, 2013

Surprise Portrait: Katie the Christmas Elf

I hope you all had an excellent Christmas! My family is actually celebrating today, so this post is going to be a little light on the details, because it'll post before my mom opens her gifts. However, let's get thsi party started.

This year, my mother had an item on her Christmas list that had very specific details and came from a very specific place. It was not available online. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I went to pick up this item from the store, but I found that the only two they had left were damaged. I panicked.

I looked around for someone to help me, but I was standing in one of the tightest spots in the store. I kept having to step back and forth to let people by, but finally I found a store employee to help me. We checked all the shelves, and we looked online, but there were no more of the gift to be found. Thanking him, I put my thinking cap on. How could I get this done?

Well, now enters a veritable wonder woman: Katie Chandler. I called Katie, but she was on a date. I texted her an image of the item, and she called me from the store a day or so later, having purchased the perfect, undamaged item. I breathed a sigh of relief.

So, for my friend and fellow cat-enthusiast/spinster, I decided there should be a very special Christmas/thank-you gift. Since it was coming from me, of course it would be a portrait.

Katie and I have been talking about trading artwork for our apartments for years, as Katie is an art teacher and is technically more qualified to be making art than I am. She does, after all, have both a BFA and a Master's degree in this stuff. but this time, I made good on my threat.

To the left you'll see the process photos and then the final product. I have to say this was a bit of a challenge for me and didn't quite turn out exactly as I had hoped or envisioned, but I think it's ok nonetheless. The
challenge came when I decided that this should be drawn on 24"x36" BFK Rives instead of my regular 9"x12" Graphics 360 marker paper. Graphics 360 is both much smoother and, in the format I usually use, much smaller.  However, I think we can all agree that a larger drawing has more of an impact.

I used Black Prismacolor pencil to do all the drawing and shading which I think I may do differently next time. I think graphite makes a lot more sense when you're doing something of this scale. I needed to be able to erase more often. Also, I couldn't find my kneaded eraser, so I had to use a magic rub.

In any case, for a first effort on this scale since college, I think it turned out ok. As you can see if you're following the progress of the process photos, I had a little trouble with the chin, nose, and the side of the face. Somehow I had drawn Katie with a slight underbite that she certainly does not have. In the end, I had to cover this up by adding a little dark shading around the edges, which I hope solved the problem.

Below you'll see the final product. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to a happy new year! More Drawings coming tomorrow, though, there is less process talk.