There were a few challenges with this portrait, not least of which was that it was for Paula’s mother. Creating a mirror image of the picture on the right was easy. What took most of the prep time was sizing the figures so that the bodies looked correctly in proportion to one another.
To scale the final product, I looked at recent photographs with the brother and sister next to each other so I could get a sense of where they stood–literally–side by side. Once I got the height correct, I used an image editor to scale the body, using the arm lengths as a point of comparison.
Now that I had the figures in position, the next challenge was creating a sense that the photograph was taken in a single shot. The key to doing this was to create a point of light that would create realistic shadows across both faces. I chose a centered light. This opened up opportunities to shade the Lehman’s cheek bones and strands of hair.
I liked the way this one turned out and the experience helped me learn some crucial techniques for creating a single portrait from separate photographs.
If you live in Long Beach, you have to hit up the Long Beach Grand Prix at least once. Every Spring, the Toyota Grand Prix makes a course out of Shoreline Drive and packs the convention center with hot cars, old and new. When I walked passed this old Mercury I had to snap a shot.
I knew I wanted the gold on the car to be green in my rendition. This would be the most pastel I’d used to date, and I had to figure out how to balance depth, color and light. I decided to go from dark to light, similar to the lilies in A Lily in Bloom but on a much larger scale.
This car had so much chrome on the grill I had to make it pop. After getting a basic stencil-type outline of the flames, I started in on the straight black paint and the shadows on the grill. I used green in ascending shade, darker green on the far hubcap to light on the car hood. From there I brought out the light in the same way, using heavy strokes with the eraser in some areas and lighter strokes in the other. The end result was so much “pop” I didn’t need a backdrop.
Gogo is notorious in the world of SuicideGirls, a great side for tattooed nudes. This particular shot stood out for me for a couple reasons. I like the way the tattoos drape her arms and the subtle jewelry.
But what really attracted me to this particular photo is that it would allow me to exploring drawing dynamic water. The thicker hair against such pale skin made for a good border at the top of the portrait, but I focused most of my effort on the beads of water on the stomach.
Water will always reflect light, even on a dark surface. Once I had shaded the skin tone, I could use an eraser to create the “bead,” then separate it from the body by defining the surface with a light pencil shading. If you look closely, I manipulated that outline on each bead so that it imitates the “falling” motion of water droplets moving down the body.
This is one of my favorites. It combines two elements I’m infatuated with capturing with charcoal: water and tattoos.
There are a lot of occasions worth remembering. Everybody has a story to tell, with a wealth of experiences marking each chapter. One thing I’ve fallen in love with in the artistic realm is the opportunities I’ve been given to help people relive those memories and occasions that stand apart, ones worth keeping long enough to help tell the story to those who follow. I began a new chapter of my own, and I’m grateful that with it came the ability to share in those particular memories people want capture in my drawings.
There’s a certain level of excitement in the process itself. It begins with focusing on that one moment in time that speaks to us, then creating an artistic representation that brings even more meaning to the piece. I really like working with charcoal because of its ability to bring depth to a picture based on contrast alone. It’s fun to examine the subject matter in black and white. Though the pallet is plain, there is a weight to it that gives the viewer freedom to imagine his own colored imagery, all the while wondering what’s really going on in the subject’s mind. This makes the experience just as unique to the viewer as it is to the people preserving the memory.
With Mother’s Day coming up next month, I wanted to reach out and request more opportunities to share in a particular memory you might want to capture in black and white. Consider commissioning a ShadedHues portrait as a unique Mother’s Day gift. It doesn’t matter the subject because I love drawing anything! If there is something you would like to preserve in a charcoal portrait, please call or email me and let’s talk about how we can make it happen.
This is the most recent wood block I designed for the showroom at Digital Installers in Long Beach. The company had been featured in the local news and the camera featured in the drawing is my rendition of a sculpture that sits on top of the front desk.
I love the idea of this old-school look, similar to the microphone I drew in the earlier set. I chose to angle down on the objects to create a shadow that would define the invisible platform the subjects are sitting on. The shadows are dark enough to define the edges of the objects but subtle enough so that the orange background still makes the whole drawing pop.