Sunday, August 31, 2014

Portrait of Joel in stages

This is a portrait of one of my sons. It was a bit of an experiment as I have been transitioning from using Prismacolor pencils to Faber-Castell Polychromos. The Prismacolors weren't suited to my style and it took me three years of discouragement to finally realise that my technique wasn't the problem. I just needed more suitable materials. It's a relief as the problems I was having were destroying my love of art and my confidence.

I'm really loving the Polychromos. I will write about what I learnt later in the post.

Here are some of the stages of Joel's portrait.

I started with some light shading, rather than laying down the palest colours. This is my original technique which I abandoned to copy more accomplished artists when I first used the Prismacolors. It is a better method for me.

Gradually building up some light detail.

Still not a lot of likeness. The shadows will give more character.

Starting to look like him. Now adding features and building up skin tones.

Starting with the basic form of the hair in a light to mid-tone.

Getting to the really fun stage where the foundation is set and the rest is improvement.

More layers to hopefully add realism and life.

Colour adjustments and finishing off.

Some of the pictures look a bit blue but the paper is actually cream. Joel was squinting at the midday sun so there was a lot of yellow about.

These photos were taken with my iPad. On my to-do list is to find the right light to take accurate and clear photos with my DSLR. Coloured pencil pictures change a lot in intensity with different types of light but, on my screen, the final photo looks quite like the real life version.

I learnt such a lot from doing this picture. There's things I would have done differently - like use a smoother paper (a dumb mistake - I used the wrong side by accident!) and I wouldn't have used the few layers of Prismacolors in the middle stages. Both problems had me experimenting to smooth out the layers in the final stages.

I have full sets of Prismacolors and Derwent Coloursofts (which I quite like) but I am still building up my collection of Polychromos so I was short on colours and supplemented with Prismacolors. The Derwent Coloursofts were useful in adding some pastel-like softness in the later stages. They are quite powdery, whereas Prismacolors are creamy, very blendable and, unfortunately for me, prone to a crayon-like clogging.

I'm now looking forward to putting what I've learnt into practice with the next picture.


  1. Vicky,

    I am in awe of your talent. So are a lot of other people. Nancy and I shared your link on FB today, and the feedback has been wonderful. We are not going to let you disappear from the blogosphere again. More drawings please!

    I think Joey must have changed a lot since I last saw him. He looks much more grown up! It is so interesting seeing all the different stages of the drawing. It appears as if by magic! No magic though. Just lots of talent.

    1. Thank you for linking to my post, Sue.

      This picture didn't turn out quite as I hoped for but I learnt a lot about technique and colour. I decided to experiment with colour wheels a bit before I start the next one.

      Joey has grown up a lot, in the past year, but I think the serious expression also makes him look older than usual.

  2. Wow Vicky your art work is brilliant. I will look out for more of your work hope you are keeping well. Love Pauline and Ray (in England)

    1. It was so nice to see your comment, this morning, Pauline! Thank you for your encouragement.

      We are all well. I hope you both and the rest of the family are well, too.


  3. You have a remarkable gift, Vicky! I'm so glad to see you blogging again!

  4. I was glad to see you blogging, again, too, Mary. The thought of catching up with you was a big incentive to post again :-)

    BTW, summer is over. Where's your next post???

    1. clue! That's the way it seems to work lately - I'm lost in cluelessness. Still, it's nice to be back even with my blank brain! (Go ahead, poke

    2. Mary, you know I wouldn't poke fun at your blank brain. I might write slowly so that you can understand but I would never be cruel to a friend who is challenged. ;-)

      BTW, aren't picture posts meant for puddle brains? I love writing a five minute post without having to think of anything other than the punctuation :-D

  5. Remarkable. I have linked this post to my Google + so that others may see it.

    God bless.

    1. Thank you, Victor. I appreciate your kindness :-)


Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your comments and feedback. Vicky