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Veiga Portrait 2011

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  • Viega Portrait
    The process
  • This is my latest portrait project that I am pushing to complete for the holidays. I have managed to fit three faces into a "11x"14 portrait page, but the next challenge is to illustrate the black & white photograph in full color.
  • 11.18.11 - I had started the figure on the left about a week ago. Tonight I decided to make this project more interesting by showing the progression of it. As you can see, the second figure in the center needs more work. I did not capture the emotion and angle on the first try like I did with the first figure. I will sleep on it and continue tomorrow.
  • 11.19.11 - I seems that a 24 hour brake period cleared my mind enough to be able to capture a better angle and emotion in the facial features. Still, I will continue to work on the nose and see if adding color to the hair will mute the facial colors enough so that I do not have to manually add any white. I will also begin work on the third figure on the right.
  • 11.20.11 - Now the center figure is beginning to get mapped. Tonight, I focused on the right side of the face. Beginning from the eye, I discovered a few mistakes. The nostril had to be moved beyond the eye, the jaw bone needed to be increased in size, and the ear was stretched down vertically. I believe this will give me a good starting point to map the remainder of the face tomorrow night. My goal is to have the third figure mapped by the end of the week.
  • 11.21.11 - I have a good jump on the third figure tonight. The only problem I have as an illustrator is that the tip of his ear is touching the center figure. The face structure is almost dead on. One characteristic that I had expected would make this figure really easy to draw is now looking like it may be the trickiest. His face is featureless - too featureless. Diagraphical lines will cross oceans between end points. Also, I believe it will be a challenge to create depth in color where this black & white photo is actually gray & white. I'm just glad that all figures are on the page now.
  • 11.22.11 - So far I am happy with how the third figure is turning out. I think my feelings will change further down the road because the result will end up being a color replica of the original low-resolution photo. I can only do so much, but I will definitely not create realism based on my assumptions. Imagining someone's color is challenging enough.

    I am beginning to identify problem spots with the center figure, such as eye alignment and severe color contrasts. I am tempted to address these issues before completing the map of the third figure. This early in the project, I have to stay focused on capturing the general trueness of each figure.
  • 11.26.11 - The third figure map is coming along. I feel confident that I will be able to revisit the first figure on the left very soon.
  • 11.27.11 - Didn't do too much today. From being on meds for my ear infection, I have not felt like myself. Feeling much on the 'dumb' side today I did what I could before I started making irreparable mistakes. Revisiting the first figure, I discovered that the ear is not lined up correctly with the right eye. The top of the ear should fall below the bottom eyelid. With this correction, the rest of the face, from the right eye down, will be extended vertically. The height of the chin will be expanded along with everything else. I have my work cut out for me! Good night all.
  • 11.28.11 - More work on the first figure. Things are looking more accurate. The left eye will need more work, but at least the nose and the mouth are aligned. Good night all.
  • 12.02.11 - The right side of the first figure is almost there.
  • 12.4.11 - I did as much as I could tonight. The first figure is 70% finished. The ear needs color and the forehead needs some more mapping. The hair and the suit will be easier. I think I did myself a favor by staging the second figure in the foreground because she covers the ruffles on the man's suit. The progress is giving me a boost of confidence and I am looking forward to moving onto the center figure.
  • 12.10.11 - The ear is now taking shape on the first figure. I believe the placement is good enough although it could've have been moved south just a bit more. The width of the neck is perfect. His hair may not be as tricky as I first thought. I will blend in a layer of skin color and create a transparent overlay it with patches of gray. This approach is exactly why I prefer using soft pastel. Beautiful, and sometimes unexpectedly pleasant gradients are created when the pigment is applied with the natural contours and textures of the fingers. In contrast, painting would require years of practice with several tools and knowledge of pigment chemistries to reach the same results.
  • 12.12.11 - Today I managed to capture the lips on the first figure. I am still working on finding all of the dark shadowed areas. I started at the top of the forehead and ended down around the chin. I believe the challenge will be the jaw area where shadow and light blend more evenly - less wrinkles to help guide me. As I look at the hair, I really don't want to do much more with it especially if I decide to include a lighter background fade. I will continue onto the second figure tomorrow.
  • 12.15.11 - Started work on the second figure again this morning. Her right eye is looking better. I will leave this on the nose. I believe the placement and shaping of the nose will bring everything else together. Can't wait!
  • 12.17.11 - The real challenge has presented itself. Since I am working from a low-resolution photograph I have spent quite a bit of time trying to recreate the mouth area of the center figure at this scale. I believe the left eye of will fall into place soon. I have to align it with the surrounding shadows. The chin and jaw areas will look better with some more attention to color.

    I know. I know. The deadline is approaching. I'm shooting to deliver this on Friday (12.23.11). Wish me luck.
  • 12.19.11 - The second figure is becoming clearer now. It's funny how things look so right until I view them here. I guess it's a good thing. I can now see that the right eye will need more work and the mouth is still giving me trouble. After I repair these two features I will flatten the color to remove the contrast of facial shapes and colors.

    Four days to go. No sleep 'till Christmas!
  • 12.20.11 - Well, I definitely fixed the left eye of the center figure. I stayed rather busy layering the neck and chest area. I will try to complete the center figure by tomorrow morning and begin work on the third figure. There isn't too much I can do with guessing his tones and shadows, but the goal will be to make his face a natural addition to the overall group.

    The chest areas of all of the subjects will fade out. This treatment will illuminate the face even further. With that said, good night all.
  • 12.23.11 - I have finally finished the portrait. I can't say that the process or the results were perfect, but given the source material, I think it turned out better than expected.

    The client has actually requested two of these portraits. Although the subjects will not change, I know the process cannot be replicated and the challenges will be unique.

    The lessons learned here are largely based on fundamentals of craft. Pastel must be applied lightly and built in layers with the help of textured tools such as fingers. Also, never stick to one area for long because there is a general map that must be discovered first.

    I hope this project was enlightening.