Continuing Through The Backlog

It took longer than I thought to finish this write-up, but welcome to part two of a series I started with last week’s post about drawing my way through a setback. Without retreading the all the details, basically there is an art show that I found to be inspiring early in my return to art as a hobby a couple years ago. I didn’t get selected for the show this time, so I decided to get into some new projects. I’m not really sure if I was being somewhat overly dramatic about the whole thing, so we’ll leave all that behind as context.

In the last post, I talked about how I started working on two pieces concurrently, and shared one of them (a woman with headphones on). I have a second finished portrait, which I’ll definitely get to shortly. But, that wasn’t the entire story – I actually ended up working on four portraits total! I wasn’t focused on more than two at any one time, but that is quite a lot for me in a short span of days. The first one I started wasn’t either of these that I finished; it was a sketch of a woman taking a photo. I realized after I started though that it would be pretty boring. My favorite part about these portraits is working on the actual face. You can probably tell just by looking, as sometimes hands, arms, and clothing become afterthoughts and don’t receive much attention. Anyhow, this portrait basically has the woman’s camera blocking most of her face! Once I realized I wouldn’t get to work on facial features, pretty much all interested drained away.

The other portrait I neglected to mention is one I am still on the fence about. It’s an interesting one I think, but I’m not sure if I messed it up. I’ve talked about this before, but one of my weakness right now is contrast and dark colors/shadows. I tend to skew towards lighter shadows, probably because I’m worried about messing up. But this fourth piece has some extremely dark (for me anyway) areas. The shadows on the side/back of this guy’s head are basically black. I gave up on it because I thought I had screwed up completely. But looking again now, I actually feel a little better about it. Maybe it could work out okay after all?

I’m on the fence, so I’m going to share the current status of each of the unfinished in this series, followed by a poll. I figured it couldn’t hurt to kick the question to the audience about these.

With those discussions done, let’s get back to the artwork from this four-parter that I actually finished. Not to make this too confusing on the topic of “unfinished art,” but this is one I had actually previously discussed. I started the basic outline quite a while ago, and decided to finish it with this batch. It’s essentially a dude in a baseball cap texting on his phone. I’m not sure what my phone smartphones-in-artwork preoccupation is lately, but phones and tech accessories are apparently becoming a theme.

Here’s the finished piece:

As I mentioned, this was a continuation from a slightly older basic outline. The outline was good, but once I started, I didn’t feel good about how I was doing with it. I felt like in early shading stages, I was already losing detail in the subject’s face. Not a good sign for a satisfying finished product. In truth, I almost gave up on this one. I’m glad I didn’t, because as it continued, I started to change my view. I noticed some of those later progressions started to look like something I could be proud of.

I’m not sure that it went exactly in the direction I planned, but that’s actually okay. I can’t remember which post it was (because I think it was years ago at this point), but I once wrote about how sometimes the pencil goes where it wants to. You can fight that and be unhappy with a drawing, or you can just accept the change in course and see what happens. This was sort of one of those instances. I just said, “alright then, let’s see what this turns into.” That might be kind of a silly way to operate, but I like the result so I guess it works for me.

In terms of specifics, I like most of the details here. Nose, mouth, and chin turned out well I think. His eyes are probably a bit of a weak point, but not as bad as they could have been. His hands and the phone they’re holding are decent enough as well. I’ve included the usual progression .gif below:

That’s all for now on this group – well, pending the results of the poll. If it seems pretty clear that people would be interested to see the other two finished, that might be the next course of action. I’ve got some other things on my mind idea-wise as well, but as usual it’s a matter of how much free time I can actually wrangle to work on them.


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