This job was rather special, as I seldom get portrait order (usually are caricature orders) from oversea, and the client was from Slovenia. Pardon me for my ignorance. I am not sure where it is located geographically, till I check the Google Map on my iPhone. Somewhere near Rome.
The client's brief:-
I have stumbled across your website looking for pencil portraitists and you are far among the best I could find!
I am interested in pencil portraits of five individuals (theatre group - but we want individual portraits).
I really like these two portraits
http://www.flickr.com/photos/caricature/2994004161/) also the way the bottom part slowly dissolves and the whole composition as such.
But I was also interested if perhaps each of the five portraits could be done in a different drawing style (still in pencil though) but with a similar composition (frontal portrait, face, neck, part of bust, dissolving...)?
Also could you please advise on the most usable photos that we would take for the purpose of the portrait (where the light should come from, how strong should the shading be etc.)
I hope we will eventually end up with 5 great portraits and I am really looking forward to working with you!
....Took me some time to convince them and gather all the photos as they are scattered across the world... Attaching the photos - let me know if they are ok and then we can arrange the rest..."
I don't have 5 different sketching styles in pencil portraits, and I did mention to the client.
Anyway, to make these portraits look like a set of sketch, I think it is still better to be consistent in style, with some variation in strokes.
I started with this guy. He caught my attention first amont the 5 photos provided.
Fun expression to start with. He reminded me of the job I have done for Nokia Book in last June
Used mechanical pencil with 4B lead with the finer strokes on the face.
8B pencil for the bolder strokes on the hair, shirt and darkest area on the face.
No hand rubbing here. Pure pencil strokes.
I think I have reached another level of execution here, as conpared to my previous pencil portraits.
The first photo provided was not ideal. 90% of the face was in the dark, and no contrast lighting.
I requested for another photo.
This is the better one.
The most challenging part is the facial muscle at the chin area.
I spent some time to shade them out nicely.
Mainly 4B mechanical pencil cross -hatching strokes here, and 8B pencil strokes for darkest area. For a lady, I can't use lines to shade further for certain finer shades. I opted for some hand rubbing tone.
I think this is a nice combination here.
To a novice or layman , this gentleman is easy to sketch.
Their first reaction is - no hair/bald. That is the challenge here.
To get the shape right, and not to look to empty in the overall porrait, you need to shade them out properly.
Another challenge here is the proportion of his features, sorry... but rather not of the normal proportion, especially his nose. The lighting ws not contrasting. I have spent quite a long time to bring the shades out aesthetically, but not a fun job among these 5 portraits.
Style used - mainly mechinical pencil cross hatching stroke + some rubbing on the top of the head + some 8B pencil for darkest area and shirt.
More 8B pencil here than the other 3 portraits above, especially the hair.
Her hair was rather thick and heavy. Mechanical pencil can't bring out that effect.
The latter was only used for the face part.
The cross-hatching style was better illustrated and expressed here, especially on the palm area.
I think The New Paper reporter gets a better idea here, upon seeing this portrait, if she' reads this post.
She was not sure what cross-hatching was, in her interview with me.
(By the way, I found out from her that the writeup will be published on New Paper on 28th May 2009, and on Sunday times on 31st May 2009)
I like t he shades on her left forehead (looks like shewas raising her eyebrow) and her eyes. Looks like staring at me. Could be due to the angle she was looking from too.
Upon completion, I was still not sure what these portraits will be used for.
Thus, I emailed the client to find out more.
"They will be used instead of their actor photos / portraits... to give away to people...
They don't have to be super precise but also NOT charicatures as the
photos are quite comic already...
....Drama - Improvisational theatre... So they are not supposed to be related to a specific subject but more to the actors themselves... "
By the way, they opted for 3 days delivery for this job.
Upon completion, I scanned them in high resolution and uploaded to my server for them to download on their side. That's the fastest way to get it, and saves cost on the shipping.
His feedback on teh portraits:-
Got them! Thank you very much! They are great!"
I like them too.:D