View Full Version : portrait commission WIP

11-20-2007, 10:26 PM
An old college Fraternity brother of mine contacted me last week to draw a portrait of each of his daughters. After deciding on the medium and the pic I had a chance to get started on it today. Thought I would post some pics. Hopeing to be done with both by Christmas. Any C&C is greatly appreciated. Though pen and ink is kind of the medium of no return:lol: . Drawing is 11x14 pro art sketch book with micron pens, 005 and 01 so far.





Thanks for looking.

11-20-2007, 10:49 PM
Looks like a good start, you'll be busy on these for a while.:thumbsup:

My only comment would be, why sketch book paper?
Staying tuned for your progress.


11-20-2007, 10:59 PM
I'm a truck driver by trade so the portability is my biggest thing right now. When I am on the road I work on them at the hotel. Trying to figure out how to transport better paper or matt board. Store bought portfolios are too flimsy to get tossed around in the truck. May have to build one out of wood or stiff cardboard. This works for now though. Its a good heavy paper with just enough tooth to take pen, graphite, or colored pencil well. Had to take a break, all the lines are making my head hurt:eek: .

11-21-2007, 02:27 AM
Solid Start and keep us updated. Nothing wrong with a sketchbook though two pieces (or one large folded) stiff smooth white cardboard and ducktape(thats what I think you call it over there) to close together 3 sides makes the best portable folder. I use this method all the time to store my big pieces, even better than store bought folders. If you are looking for a portable work surface a piece of plywood (not too thick cause then its too heavy) and 2 squeeze clips to hold the paper works fantastically. If you really want to get professional then you can actually pre-stretch the paper onto the plywood with gumtape. this is done by wetting the paper with a damp sponge and fixing it to the plywood with gumtape around all four edges of the paper. Once its dry the paper is tight and wrinkle free. A tip here is to stick a gumtape cross on the back, corner to corner, to stop the plywood bending as the paper dries.

11-21-2007, 10:07 AM
Wonderful beginning! I hope you keep us updated.

I ran into this at the Dick Blick clearance sale:


The flat portfolio might work, although it may not be big enough.

11-21-2007, 02:37 PM
Great start on this one. I'm looking forward to watching this one develop.
I made a portfolio out of cardboard, contact paper and duck tape years ago and still use it. You can make your ties out of anything by wrapping it around the portfolio and covered in the contact paper. For side ties just cut the tie and make them long enough to go from one side of the cardboard to the other with the ends sticking out long enough to tie. It is really easy and the contact paper on the inside will keep your paper from yellowing and on the outside it keeps it weather proof. Hope that helps you out a bit. They are very sturdy. I used the back of a large sketch pad to make mine.

11-21-2007, 11:17 PM
Here's another hour or two worth of work. Seems to be coming along nicely, that makes me a bit nervous:rolleyes: . C&C is always welcome.



11-22-2007, 12:20 AM
Great job!! love the eyes! I am sure your friend will be pleased.

11-22-2007, 02:52 AM
This is coming along great. Looking very forward to your next update. :clap: :clap:

Val. :wave:

11-22-2007, 05:16 AM
Interesting seeing a pen/ink portrait being done that's not stippled.... looking real good......:thumbsup:

11-22-2007, 11:13 AM
Stipple :eek: . :lol: I can but I am really slow at it, but that is part of the deal I think. Thanks for the compliments. I have stopped working on the face for now. The "floating head" was getting hard to judge, so I am working on the torso and hair to ground it. I don't want to do too much to the face and have the rest of the drawing throw it off. I am a bit concerned with the right side of the face. It was really blown out with light on the reference pic. I'm going to set on it for the day and look at it later. Gonna take that area slow, I think I need to darken it just a bit, but not too much. Will try to post a pic later tonight. Thanks for looking.

11-22-2007, 10:19 PM
A little more work and grounded it a bit with the torso. Still mulling over whether the face is finished or not. Gonna keep working on the rest of it until I decide what I want. C&C greatly appreciated.


Ranger Dan
11-23-2007, 02:49 AM
I was looking at this latest post and thinking the child looks so much older than the ref shot, but why? I'm not certain...There is a portrait forum where they can catch that sort of thing much faster, and help you figure it out. I'm thinking it may be page-left cheek looks a little flat. A bit more dark should help. and then maybe you would need to darken the lower left side of the right cheek also. The ref shot is really washed out on the one side and my monitor isn't showing detail well, so if anyone disagrees, I would trust their judgment over mine.

11-26-2007, 06:05 PM
Getting awfully close.:clap: Reworked the chin and right side cheek a bit. Electric erasers and xacto knives can do wonders! Reworking the nose a bit still. Some of the values got a bit darker than the Ref photo, but make it stand out at a distance.

Dan, I see what you mean about looking a bit older. Tried to make the cheeks rounder by adding more shadow, and the chin and top of head rounder too. You know, the rolly polly baby thing. Or should I wait 6 months to get it to him:lol: . C&C greatly appreciated. Gonna work the BG a bit and let the face go till the end.


11-26-2007, 06:17 PM
Or should I wait 6 months to get it to him . :lol::lol::lol:

Ranger Dan
11-27-2007, 12:49 AM
Now there's some good depth! I think your friend will be pleased!

11-27-2007, 03:18 AM
My two cents worth about portraiture is that the devil is in the small detail, I think you have the general shape about right. However getting a likeness is about refering one small bit to another. For instance:
1. Look at how the eyebrows relate to each other (as well as the shadow they cast) yours are too short and rounded, they should be flat and extend right across to almost overlap each other. That space between where they almost overlap is a critical point of likeness.
2. Darken the line between the inside of the ear and the hair as in the reference, that will push that whole side of the face backwards.
3. The shadow between the subject right eye and the nose needs to be softer and extend right up to the eyebrow.

I could go on, but its about making tiny adjustments of one thing in relation to another, subtle tiny adjustments and it will come together. Don't overreact and think I am saying your work stinks, it rocks, coming along nicely, just keep making gentle relational changes until YOU are satisfied.

Nice drawing.

11-27-2007, 08:53 AM
Thanks Paul and Dan. I am at the point of doing the small detail stuff. Backing up about 10-15 ft then walking up and fixing a line or shadow. But you all know when you spend so much time looking at something it just doesn't click right away. I xposted it in protrait and am going to work on some of that stuff today. Just hope there is nothing I can't fix or cover up.

11-27-2007, 08:57 AM
You've made a great job of this. I do agree with the comments Paul has made, and maybe his suggestions will make the little boy look more baby-like. He's looking a little older in the drawing than in the photo. I love your techniques with this Portrait and the way you've done his shirt. Just keep tweaking until you are happy. :clap: :thumbsup:

Val. :wave:

11-27-2007, 10:52 AM
An excellent book to aid in this - perhaps the best book - is Douglas Graves' Drawing a Likeness... check it out...


One could almost say he's made a science of it......:thumbsup:

11-27-2007, 02:29 PM
I think I'm finished, at least my wife is telling me to stop before I mess it up:lol: . Think I'll take my own advice. Since the last post I have Darkened the ear, worked on the nose, and eyes. Finished the BG. Gonna show it to the Dad this weekend and let him make the call. Keep in mind that the pic is taken without a flash, so it looks a bit darker than it really is. Found that the initial work went fast with pen vs pencil, but the later details were definately harder to fis if they were off. He wanted pen though, so pen it is. I did learn a few new tricks with this one. Used an xacto and electric eraser to fiax a few problems, first use by me. The electric eraser is pretty cool. Also started doing vary light hatching, barely touching the paper. It left a very faint mark, but looked good when I layered it to get it dark. Learning new stuff is what it's all about. Thanks for all the info.


11-27-2007, 02:34 PM
Wow, I think the finishing touches really added a lot. He's sure to treasure it.