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View Full Version : Young Girl Character Portrait WIP


Mike_Beeman
09-25-2007, 11:18 PM
As some of you have seen from my previous WIP's and the approach I've used, (basically large shapes of various value to smaller ones) I thought it would be fun to share somewhat of a different approach.
I've spent about the last two months doing portrait studies as I just shared on a previous post with "The Colonal"....using the CarbOthello pastel pencils.
Now I thought it would be interesting to take some of those sketches and develop character portraits from them.

The sketch I picked is one my Daily's from July 17 on Beeman's Daily...please don't laugh but this was done with the Carb Othello pastel pencil on 20lb white xerox/copy paper....I find this paper excellent for doing quick sketches!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Sep-2007/49603-july1707.jpg

In doing a character portrait I'm going to use the basic lights and darks from the sketch as a reference point...I'm not so concerned if I get the likeness but that I have "fun" ...and not to stress myself out!

The first step on a gray piece of Canson Paper (my favorite) and a Bistre Carb Othello pastel pencil I start to block in where my features might be along with the general placement of the head. This will be a pastel portrait...not a monochrome drawing when finished!
Open to questions all through this process!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Sep-2007/49603-wip1lG.jpg

Thom Byrd
09-26-2007, 12:14 AM
:thumbsup: ...carry on~~~

dbjs
09-26-2007, 02:52 AM
I can only :clap: you do wonderful work Mike!

Mary Brigid
09-26-2007, 07:03 AM
I will be watching you do this Mike... Thank you.
Mary Brigid

Deborah Secor
09-26-2007, 09:18 AM
I'm pulling up my chair and settling in with my coffee to watch you, too...

THANKS! :thumbsup:

Deborah

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 10:07 AM
I've sharpened my Bistre pencil so that I have about 3/4 to 1 inch of pastel showing and using the side of it I start to block in where some of my shadow or darker values will be. Trying to keep the application light in touch and using my fingers to rub some of the pastel in the paper. Once again using my reference only as a guide and nothing else.
C&C welcomed

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip2lG.jpg

Rose Baggs
09-26-2007, 10:11 AM
I'll be following along...this is going to be good!!!!! Thanks Mike!!!

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 10:27 AM
Not much difference in the last step and this but I did want to key the eyes in a little darker. One thing I want you to observe is that I don't spend a lot of time in doing a detailed drawing before I start....reason I develop this fear that I'm going to ruin my drawing and I become much too cautious which makes everything tight. If I'm doing a commissioned portrait than I do spend more time with the preliminary drawing to make sure everything is lined up properly.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip3lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 10:33 AM
Hi Rose

Using some of Terry Ludwig's, and a few NuPastels I start to block in some of the color. Applying lightly and in just general areas


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip4lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 10:42 AM
That was too conservative, must have been the music I was listening to...changed the station and juiced it up! Some greens in the hair for a blondish base...violets and reds in the face and darks behind the head!
Much better!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip5lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 10:47 AM
Block in some of the lights....now I'm looking for shapes of lights and darks...warm and cools...working all over!


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip6lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 11:11 AM
Now I need to start to define some of the features...using the Bistre pastel pencil I start with the eyes and also indicate where the nose, mouth, chin and neck will be. I also use a light red NuPastel to soften the area around the cheeks, nose and mouth. I'm also paying close attention to my edges keeping them soft. I thinking at this stage of my light and dark values values ...are they linking together?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip8lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 11:51 AM
One of the things I've noticed in working with students is their fear of failure...working outside of their comfort level....but someone once said (I think it was Winston Churchill) something to the effect that without failure there is no success!
I have to share that I have piles of failures in the studio and often will look at them to see if I'm making any headway....one of them is my first pastel portrait....big time failure! Scared me so bad I went back to watercolor (my comfort level at that time).
The worst thing in trying something new is that you'll have to start over...is that so bad...it's been fun for me?

My palette for the WIP

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wippalette.jpg

Here I'm just refining the features and woking with the hair and jacket

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip9lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 11:57 AM
Working with hairand the darks behind the head..around the ears...notice the little earrings

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip11lG.jpg

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 12:06 PM
Soften some of the edges in the hair and a few highlights. Also used the Bistre to strengthen some of the dark shapes around the neck and parts of the hair.
As you compare this to the original sketch you can see some of the differences and how the portrait evolved into it's own! I will place on a viewing board for the next couple of weeks and see if need to make any changes before I frame it.
Thanks for looking!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip13lG.jpg

Deborah Secor
09-26-2007, 12:06 PM
Now I need to start to define some of the features...using the Bistre pastel pencil I start with the eyes and also indicate where the nose, mouth, chin and neck will be. I also use a light red NuPastel to soften the area around the cheeks, nose and mouth. I'm also paying close attention to my edges keeping them soft. I thinking at this stage of my light and dark values values ...are they linking together?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-wip8lG.jpg

:wave: May I raise my hand and ask a quick question here? Would you just elaborate a little more on what you mean by linking together your light and dark values???

Mike, you might not have any idea how valuable this whole demo is for me! I really want to thank you so much for taking the time to show and tell!

:D
Deborah

BabyBeeb
09-26-2007, 12:21 PM
This is fab! Love the looseness, the edges, the softness of her expression...everything! I'm waiting with baited breath to see more!:clap:

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 12:28 PM
Deb...I'll try....
The linking of light and dark shapes seems to simplify the process for me in how I obseve the portrait or figure. If I turn the sketch upside down so that all I see are light and dark shapes and squint down to break the shapes up into two values and record that I'll most likely get the shape of the eye, nose, etc. When I do this I like to see the shapes interact together almost as you would have a jig saw puzzle. Too many times we focus on the componets of the features as opposed to the shapes that exist around it....and that is what I think makes some portraits tough to do...it's another way of observing whats in front of you!


:wave: May I raise my hand and ask a quick question here? Would you just elaborate a little more on what you mean by linking together your light and dark values???

Thanks--
Deborah

winecountry
09-26-2007, 01:36 PM
What a great wip, and so clear, gives me courage to start a baby pic my neice has asked for...esp thanks for showing the colors
colleen

Seveer
09-26-2007, 03:06 PM
Very nice and informative...what a fun exercise. Thanks for sharing.

dbjs
09-26-2007, 03:09 PM
wow Mike...what more can I say than WOW!!

chewie
09-26-2007, 07:29 PM
THIS is a super demo!! and to me, this is sooo much more interesting than a more tightly done realistic piece. love it!!

question--do you do any finger blending after that first layer with the dark pencil? or is that only done with the sticks, 'smooshing' together?

i think this needs to be kept around, with a 5 star rating. invaluable stuff here

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 09:33 PM
Value mapping is a term I use to check my value patterns to see that they link together in somewhat of an interesting pattern. Attach are some examples of value maps or linkeage.

The first three are upside down And this is so you don't look for the specific features (eyes, nose, mouth) but do the values come together to form an interesting shape or shapes?

This one should be easy to figure with the dark spider in the middle it's one of the eyes:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-sept2507valuemapa.jpg

This is the bottom of the nose and top part of the mouth:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-sept2507valuemapb.jpg

This one is easy...the left side of the face:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-sept2507valuemapc.jpg

When turned right side up you see how the shapes come together to form the features...they interlock as in a puzzle:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2007/49603-sept2507valuemap.jpg

GaryNorthants
09-26-2007, 10:45 PM
Terrific post, thank you so much for sharing your working method. This should be locked somewhere for future reference in my view. :clap:
I have a question for you if thats ok, well 2 actually :o. . How do you know when to stop refining and how do you discipline yourself to refine in small enough sections not to loose that loose feel?
Gary

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 11:26 PM
Thom, dbjs, Mary, Rose thanks for looking and for the kind comments!

Westerngirl
09-26-2007, 11:49 PM
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing your process with us; it's definitely helpful.

Mike_Beeman
09-26-2007, 11:50 PM
Gary...."How do you know when to stop refining" This is a tough question...but generally stepping back on a regular basis and using a mirror to view the painting will usually let me know where I'm at and how much more needs to be done..."I guess when it feels right...stop!"
and how do you discipline yourself to refine in small enough sections not to loose that loose feel? I feel the best way to discipline yourself is to do it everyday....I'm not sure I have a good answer for that. I'll ponder that for a while and get back to you!

Deborah The value mapping for me comes from doing the quick poses every Sat. trying to establish in a few minutes the overall value pattern of a portrait or figure from a live model. I've attached a little more on that subject that hopefully it will make more sense.
I'm presently working on an interesting approach to developing creative portraits from Quick Pose studies and would like to share that in a thread to get some feedback.

BabyBeeb, winecountry, Seveer, Appreciate the kind words

chewie "question--do you do any finger blending after that first layer with the dark pencil? or is that only done with the sticks, 'smooshing' together?" I do both...lately I've been cross toning or glazing with the NuPastels....where you very lightly drag the harder stick over the softer areas
and fingers are used all the time!

Deborah Secor
09-27-2007, 12:21 AM
Excellent! Thanks Mike. Your grayscale value maps are extremely informative. Experience is the best teacher, but it's nice having someone whose been there point out the way. It seems I will need another few years of experience but I'm on the trip already.

Deborah

nvcricket
09-27-2007, 12:48 AM
WOW

I'm speechless. Terrific tutorial! I love your style.

Carol

VeronicaF
09-27-2007, 02:35 AM
WOW this is fantastic mike,admiringly outstanding, thank you for sharing,

Mary Brigid
09-27-2007, 04:16 AM
Mike that was magic.... Thank you so much...
Mary Brigid

Bryarpatch
09-27-2007, 08:21 AM
That was amazing! :clap: I think it's more of the way you think and see than the way you work. It's hard to let go of the tight and detailed way I work, but after watching you capture the same details in a much freer way, I'm going to try to crawl inside your mind. :lol: Thank you soooo much for taking the time to share your process. I definitely think this needs to be locked and used for a long time to come.

HarvestMoon
09-27-2007, 09:01 AM
OH MY GOSH MIKE.... you could have stopped at any stage and it would have been beautiful- but oh the final.... SPECTACULAR..... and I see it and still don't see how you can know where to put the dab of green, etc.... just amazing....totally awesome

Deborah Secor
09-27-2007, 10:42 AM
I'm rating this thread with five stars!

I know that makes it easier for the moderators when they organize things. In case you're new to rating, just go to the blue bar along the top of the first post where it says Rate Thread

Thanks again, Mike!

Deborah

pastelist
09-28-2007, 09:39 AM
What a wonderful painting. Thanks for sharing

Mike_Beeman
09-28-2007, 01:49 PM
pastelist, HarvestMoon, Mary Brigid, VeronicaF, nvcricket, Thanks for all the comments ...hope that there was something there for everyone.
Deborah Secor Appreciate the rating!
Bryarpatch, It is tough to break away from old habits or a process you're comfortable with....been there! "I'm going to try to crawl inside your mind." when you get there how about getting rid of the cobwebs:)

Appreciate everyone looking and taking the time to comment!

Orchidacea
09-28-2007, 06:01 PM
I love viewing your WIPs, Mike. It's magical watching them take shape. Thanks for sharing this, and your thoughts on the process.

Alison2
09-30-2007, 02:22 PM
This is wonderful Mike!

Thank you for being so generous with your technique and sharing it so we can all learn!

Alison2:wave: