Goofy Portrait from Another Decade

As I was browsing through some old photos looking for something fun to draw, I came across one that gave me a good laugh. It’s a photo of me and my wife from back when we were dating; I’m making some ridiculous face, while she’s giving me that patient look I’ve seen so many times. I’m really not sure what exactly is going on here. My drawing makes it look like a sneeze, but I’m pretty sure I am just making a goofy face. You know, really hamming it up to make myself look worse for a photo with my significant other, like a normal person would do.

Another from over a decade ago, this time without me acting like a clown. I think this was taken with a 35mm film camera!

It’s really hard to believe, but this scene was from 12 years ago! My wife actually looks exactly the same, which is probably some kind of sorcery. I’ve never seen her cast any magic spells, but I don’t know what the explanation is for her Beyonce/Keanu Reeves-level lack of aging. I look pretty similar too I guess, but with a bit less hair and carrying more than a couple additional pizzas around. It is really so strange to look back at us so long ago. I’m now used to there being four of us, with the two kids. But we got married at 30, so of course we had all sorts of adventures before then. It’s just so funny to look back at these people who are us but lived such different lives. I imagine that sensation gets even stranger as the years go on!

Anyhow, I was an absolute goofball back then and I can see at least that much hasn’t changed. And I’m glad my wife is still patient enough to weather that goofiness. As I was browsing through these old pictures, I also found some other good artwork candidates. I might go back even farther to one of me with a couple of my oldest friends. This was pre-beard Jon, so we’re talking late teens. That sketch would also give me an opportunity to write about my favorite musician Mike Patton, since that scene is after all of us going to one of his band’s shows. That was Mr. Bungle’s California tour in 1999 or 2000, and we ended up getting Patton’s autograph and a photo with him. It was really awesome, but I’ll talk more about that in a new post.

I’ll follow my usual pattern the rest of the way – the final portrait is next, some discussion of the process, then a progression .gif. Here’s the final version:

I started out on this portrait simply because I thought it was a funny scene, without any real consideration to what challenges it might present. One that popped up right away, of course, was the face I was making. Is it a sneeze? A yawn? Is it agony from eating something hot (I think we’re at a Mexican food restaurant here)? Or is it just pure goofy mugging (likely)? And if I couldn’t really tell from the photo, how would I push forward an intended expression? Well, my answer became simply to try to draw the lines I saw. That turned out to be a fine approach, I think.

The final result does look more like a sneeze, but that works for me. Perspective is mostly fine, but my hair and top of the head isn’t quite right for the view. I think the best part of this one is my wife, I definitely got the right look for her here. There is some subtlety required for the look she’s giving, which I think is sort of a patience for someone you like. I do think that comes through, particularly with the expression from her mouth and eyes.

I may have gone a bit overboard with the graphite on my face. It’s not as smooth looking as my wife’s and seems a little inconsistent looking across the entire portrait. It’s not a major thing, but if I were a perfectionist it would probably be an issue. Overall though, the colors are pretty solid, blending is good, and it’s a mostly on track piece. And the most important metric that I use for all of my portraits? It does indeed look like us.

Here’s the progression .gif:

Next on deck (I think) is something that I’ve previously done with really terrible results. I went back to a couple of drawings from a couple years ago and tried to update them! This is something I’ve sort of put a moratorium on ever since I ruined a couple of them trying to do just that. Well, I tried it again…and I’ll discuss how that went.


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