Portrait: Charlotte and Tom

Charlotte and Tom: Portrait in pencil

This summer marks the end of four years at university. I’ve had the chance to meet many people since I started, and many have gone heir own ways now. Hopefully I’ll stay in contact with many of them, however part of me knows that I may not see some of them for years.  However, to break through this melancholic view of graduation, I thought I’d start putting together a ‘collage’ of sorts, with portraits of everyone who has shaped my experience of university.

What better place to start, than with two friends (who became more than just friends with each other) who I know I’ll be staying in touch with. I thought it might be interesting (feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m wrong!) to do a stage by stage set of images for the creation of the portrait. So here it is:

The basic face shape is set out first. I tend not to go down the route of starting each face from and ellipse, I prefer to define the characteristic points such as jaw line, brow line and use points to mark the farthest points of the face. Then they get joined up, and the central line, eye line, nose and mouth lines are added. At this point I check whether the proportions are correct, and adjust anything that doesn’t sit right.

One all the features are sketched in, work on the details can begin. Getting the proportion and positions of the facial features right is a strange mix of luck and intuition. I was happy with Tom first time, and didn’t do much reworking, however Charlotte took a lot more work, and feature were changed constantly. I always start filling in with the strong dark features first, and then work in the lighter features afterwards.

Generally I’ll finish parts of the work completely before I start a different section. Then I’ll go back and rework it again afterwards.

Again, strong dark features first, some more work needed on Tom’s chin, definitely a bit large!

Almost completed. Just the Tux, hair and neck to finish, and then to alter a few features on both. I won’t ‘fix’ the pice with hairspray until I’m completely happy. So no doubt next time I look at it I’ll alter a few more things. It takes a while for things to click, something as subtle as a corner of a mouth not being in the right place can vastly alter the look of a portrait.

With the first one done, I can set about a second (among revision, exams are great aren’t they…). I’d like for everyone to be paired up in these portraits, as a way of expressing the dynamic of friendships. There are some pairs I’m really looking forward to drawing, some real characters!


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