Portrait practice this week

September 8, 2012

Modern technology allows freeze-framing of live television, so spurred on by Tommy Kane, who apparently sketches the events of the day from television, I came upon an interview with a Fire Commissioner who stayed remarkably and unusually still, with only his lips moving. The mouth needed more work, so went back for more details.  Being a more “ordinary” bloke than the “touched-up” models one usually sees in photographs, for example, I liked the lines and geometry of “real life” very nice to work with.

I no longer buy newspapers for the news. Logging on daily to the websites Le Monde (Paris) and Corriere della sera (Milan) tells me all I need to know about what’s going on in the world. However, one use of the weekend Sydney Morning Herald is the pictures. I saved one clipping because of the theatrical drapery. My Prismacolour coloured pencils don’t do justice to the yellow-green of the original, but I’ll come back to it again in a less ‘scratchy’ style. One thing I’ve learned is to never use a black pencil in a white woman’s portrait. Must keep working on the eyes-nose-mouth ratios, not to mention hands!

This a double-portrait of gladiator Russell Crowe, the actor who’s done more for Ancient Rome than umpteen Ancient History teachers in recent times. Some lark has fashioned a plaster bust in the antique style, right down to his sideburns. Again, the eyes-nose-mouth ratios need working on.

The process has been more enjoyable than the outcomes this week, but will persist with a portrait a day. Having them all in the one sketchbook helps me track my progress than if they were in separate books. 90gsm, “Black Book” graffiti sketchbook, A4, mainly with hard-ish pencils – H, HB – slip-sliding on this very shiny, very smooth paper. On Flickr I’ve come across the term “blackbook” in terms of a practice sketchbook for graffiti artists, but the artists provide precious little by way of detail of what materials they are using.

Latest finds on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlankane/ and Brian Bantog at http://www.flickr.com/photos/two-na/ (see his Sketchbook and Drawings on his website!)

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