A Family Portrait from New Orleans

It seems like I haven’t posted much lately, which is confirmed when I look at the monthly archive counts on my sidebar. Over the last year, I think I’ve averaged 9-10 posts per month, with some peaks and valleys. But June and July have been huge valleys, with only six and then three posts! This does make sense though; summer is a really busy time, and it seems like we’re always up to something. With the lack of website activity the last two months, it’s been a little while since I’ve done a family portrait. So, I decided to dive into one featuring the entire crew!

The scene I decided to work on was my me, my wife, and kiddos from a recent trip to New Orleans’ French Quarter. It was a great trip, and we had excellent luck with food this time, even considering that the food is always good down there. We went to four new places that were fantastic; Drago’s in Metarie, Deanie’s on Iberville, Felix’s on Iberville, and Cafe Mespero on Decatur. A couple like Deanie’s and Drago’s we had always wanted to try, but Felix’s and Mespero were random visits that surprised us. All these places were great though. The food is so unique in New Orleans, and I always enjoy getting my hands on some authentic shrimp and grits, etouffee, or a roast beef po boy. The entire family also loves the beignets at Cafe Du Monde, which is a must-visit every time we’re there.

This food talk is making me hungry. Anyway, back to the drawing. Athough I didn’t include any scenery (as usual), this is supposed to be when we were at Cafe Du Monde. In hindsight, I think it would have been cool to add some of that recognizable green and white awning in the background. Maybe I’ll go back some time and try to add it. My concern is always messing up the drawing though, as I sort of did when trying to add scenery to my Princess Bride/Inigo and Fezzik sketch.

Here is the final (for now) version:

I think this turned out really well. A bit better than I expected, even. It’s not perfect, because nothing I draw ever is, but I like the end result a lot. For the most part, I think I actually captured everyone’s look somewhat accurately. There are a few small things that probably could have gone better, like the eye colors aren’t really accurate (mine should be darker blue, my oldest’s should be a bit darker too). And I actually applied layers of color a bit too thickly on my oldest daughter’s face, which prevented me from adding more detail. Also, it doesn’t look like I got the shape of my wife’s face quite right; it’s very close, but something does seem slightly off.

It’s sort of rare for me to include so many subjects and actually get all of them mostly right. So, from that perspective, this is a solid effort! As usual, I’ve included a progression .gif of the process. This was a unique one because I remembered to take quite a few, and had eight progression shots! That might be a personal best. Here’s the .gif:

Family portrait amdall gallery prog

As we approach the end of the summer, I’m thinking about doing another portrait giveaway/contest thing. I mentioned my hope to do another one in the winner announcement post, it’s just the question of “when” I need to figure out. I may wait until school has started again though, because that seems like a good marker for things slowing down a bit. So, that will be a fun future drawing. I’m not sure what else in on tap though, I’ll need to do some brainstorming.


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  • What a lovely portrait of your family. The laughing eyes just jump out of the painting.

  • I love it. It’s like a controlled something. It brings a lot of interest to their faces.

    • I appreciate that, Kenzie!

      Looking back at this one, I really like how it turned out. That’s not always the case, sometimes a fresh look isn’t so good. I actually managed to end up with no one making a weird face, which I count as a win!

  • Uh uh, another portrait give away /makes 100 fake emails to participate with πŸ˜‰

    Kidding πŸ˜€ Slowly back. What a great result. Those facial expressions, especially yours. Your family must be so happy you are drawing. Well done on that red hair. Not easy to capture it’s multiple ways of shining.

    Again, those gifs are so neat.

    • Ha! You know all jokes aside, I actually think it would be good to give you a portrait. You’ve been enthusiastic about each contest – would that be cheating to give you an automatic win? Are you still interested in one of your in-game character?

      Do you have any specific screen capture you’re interested in, or would you prefer some improvisation? Last time I drew a Warcraft character, I just used the model viewer on a site to help me.

      Also – thanks for the kind words about the post sketch!

      • Schhh, nobody will find out, Jon. Just host another contest, and limit who can participate. Like, they HAVE to be Night Elf, for example. And have a blog. And in real life they have to be good at jumping on a trampoline. You know, the usual stuff… πŸ˜€

        Oh, my, good question. I have not thought about that, since I’ve not won. I’d love my Night Elf, with her exact facial expression. I’ll find some screenshots of her to send over to you, perhaps by email, if I win πŸ™‚

        Np at all!

      • This is a flawless plan! Yes please do let me know if you find a screenshot you like, I’d be glad to sketch something out.

  • This is excellent! You really captured a nice energy. (I have a hard time drawing smiling faces so I’m always fascinated when I see it done well).

    • Thank you! I’m definitely with you on smiles, I’ve definitely been struggling with the teeth aspect of them lately. I find it very hard to have a distinct outline for a tooth without it looking kind of bad. I really need to study how other people do it

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