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Barack Obama - Editorial Portrait

Barack Obama
Editorial Portrait


One of the great things about being self-employed, is that when you get a break between jobs you can do whatever projects you like. This time I chose to pick up a pen and do some good old fashioned drawing.


Now, I'm not even American, but I still find Barack Obama's "polarizing effect" on the World interesting subject matter for a portrait. 

I always approach editorial illustrations with thoughtfulness and craftsmanship.
I'm not going to lie, it has been a while since I picked up a pen for anything more than signing a Visa bill at Chucky Cheese. So this opportunity gave me a chance to feel like an artist again. I enjoyed creating it.


This image is not politically motivated. Only artistically.

* Measure it as such.
The Approach

I started with a sharpie and an 8.5 x 11 sheet of white printer paper. Just doodling, trying to understand the subject matter.

Unlike the brilliant vector illustrations by Sheppard Fairey that launched Obama's meteoric rise to the Presidency, I wanted this portrait to be reality. Not a campaign poster.

It was important to capture the man that he is today, rather than the President he was expected to be.

This is  a complicated man, who is sitting in the eye of a hurricane of pressure. Enough to crush a man or turn him into a diamond. Certainly he is not the same man who enchanted us all with a message of "Hope".
Like him or not, he has earned his own place in history.

He has aged. Put on "a few miles" and a couple of gray hairs. But still standing amidst a defining point in history.

How will he be remembered? Who is to say for certain? I decided to focus my attention on crystalizing the man right now. This is my snapshop:


I used a ruler and a light table to hatch out some interesting geometry and block out the shapes. 
It felt great to put the mouse down and just put pen to paper again. (As I mentioned) It's been a while.


I then scanned the image and superimposed it over some parchment texture. I looked for something that (like the man himself) had some character and age to it.
I used a stylus and a tablet to brush in some soft colours in Photoshop. I took my time with it. 
I then overlayed this vector flag image from my vector art collection. I think that it was a measured addition.

I enjoyed working on this. I'm glad that I took the time to revisit some of my artistic foundations. I hope that you like it.

Available for purchase

If you are interested in publishing this image along with some editorial content
or you have a budget for a customized commissioned editorial image:

Please contact me.

I have a diverse range of illustration styles.

Adam Jarvis ©Copyright 2013
Barack Obama - Editorial Portrait