Hometown Series, the Unfinished One

At the beginning of this month, I started something I referred to as a “hometown series” of sketches. Basically, I tried to capture some scenes of friends from my hometown, mostly from old (really? 10-15 years is old?) photographs I have. I sketched some of us in a football huddle, a couple guys chatting, and a group shot. One common complaint I shared in those posts is I just don’t have that many photos. This was mostly the pre-smartphone era (except for the third in the series), so I didn’t have a million sources of inspiration to choose from as I do now.

I did most of them a few weeks ago, but there was actually one I started but didn’t finish. At the time, I had already sketched a couple in a row that included one guy, and I wanted to mix it up a bit more. So I sidelined the rough sketch, and move on to other things. That’s often how drawings go for me; my art attention span is pretty short, so sometimes fresh ideas leapfrog current projects. I did finally move back to that unfinished piece, and here’s how it turned out:

This turned out well, I think! It really does look like both of these guys, and I don’t think I made any major mistakes. I suppose I got a bit lazy with the shirts, though. The scene is pretty representative of these gentlemen back in the day. Buddy on the left with his trademark semi-sarcastic smirk/eyebrow raise, and right generally hamming it up as he often does. I can tell that this one was a bit of a faster completion, but I think the quality of shading and blending stands up to some of my better ones!

Once again, I forgot to take many progression photos. But I got a couple, so I’ve included the usual animation below. As with my last post, I think it shows the groove I have gotten into on faces. The base color, the gray shadows, the blending, then the finer detail touch-up. Here’s the progression:

amdall portrait hometown dudes

Although I’ve now done four of these “hometown series” sketches, I don’t think I’m done yet! I feel like I want to do more, and have some vague ideas…but I admit I’m running low on sources I could reference. So, we’ll see what I can come up with, as these are pretty fun.


  • Yes, images online can look pretty different than the hard copy. It’s funny, I didn’t notice the highlights until I watched the progressive shots and then they stood out. Really great portraits!

    • Thank you!

      You know, I’d really like to figure out a way to get the best fidelity between real life and photos. How do you upload your artwork on your site? I just use my smartphone camera, but I’ve read some people actually use a scanner.

      • I use my phone or a little point and shoot camera too. If I were doing something for print, I’d definitely scan, but right now I don’t feel it’s worth buying a scanner for posting low-res images online. (Never say never though – I think scanners are getting better and more compact!)

  • Actually, now that I’ve spent some more time looking at this drawing, I do have one major criticism. I think I went a bit overkill on the erasing to simulate light reflection on their faces. There was some significant indoor lighting that caused almost a white color, and I might have been better served by keeping it almost white to begin with, rather than erasing. It just looks a bit strange.

    Interestingly, it seems less noticeable in real life. But once I snapped a photo and uploaded it, the erasing seemed much more noticeable.

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