Mother’s Day Portrait

A bit of a delay writing this one, but this post is going to be dedicated to Mother’s Day and sharing some related artwork. It’s naturally been a bit different than previous holidays; I certainly can’t remember navigating a pandemic quarantine. Despite that fact, I think we were able to make do the best we could. We all went for a drive and the kiddos had some outside time. My wife and I each called the other mothers in our lives and generally did some solid hanging out. Later, I cooked a huge breakfast-for-dinner feast, with “maximum cheese” scrambled eggs, extra crispy bacon, fried potatoes, and some biscuits. Many antacids were consumed that night!

In addition to the food and our social distancing friendly activities, the gift side of things was also a bit different. The usual Mother’s Day situation is some roses and a funny card, but we switched it up a bit this year. I drew a portrait of her and the girls, while the kids made their own artwork/card hybrids. She really seemed to like the artwork and I think we’re going to end up framing one of the three pieces. Here are the girls’ excellent family scenes:

Left: Our oldest’s depiction of our family as cats in a heart. Right: Our youngest’s portrait of us. Both kids have pretty much taken our robot colors from Robot Family Adventures as absolute fact in all current artwork.

I have to say, they both have really improved their drawing skills over the last two months. Since we haven’t been able to go out, I’ve been at the desk drawing quite a bit more, and often they are right there with me. Our oldest in particular has been churning out quite a few pages. She even helped me with the kid’s book “Robot Family Adventures,” drawing her own version of each and every page. They have both improved a lot though and I’ve really enjoyed watching how each of their figure styles have grown and changed. We also do chalk drawing outside most days, so I’m sure that has contributed as well.

As for my contribution to Mother’s Day art, it was a bit of a roller coaster as it progressed. I’ll share the final version below and talk a bit more about that.

I know this is an extremely dramatic way to describe drawing a simple picture, but it really was a wild ride. The initial outline, base layers, first shadows, and skin blending went really well I thought. I was happy with the direction and felt optimistic about how it was turning out. That all occurred in one session; I must have been really feeling it. Here’s where that point stopped, which honestly might still be the best version that only exists digitally now:

The next time I came to the table though, the magic must have worn off. I made some questionable decisions that I knew were wrong as soon as I made the moves. One was trying to add definition to my wife and kids’ teeth/mouths. After blending and trying to touch up, the mouth areas became a distorted mess! To make matters worse, I decided to get crazy with the shirt colors. My wife’s favorite color is purple, so I did some freewheeling and changed the shirt drastically.

To compound these issues, my attempts to fix them left me with more layers of pencil wax covering the paper. I was rapidly losing the paper’s tooth…the clock was ticking on how much more I would be able to modify what was on the paper. I decided it was best to walk away for a few hours, see if I could come at it fresh. Fortunately, that plan worked out in the end! I came back later and was able to salvage some detail on their mouths, fix the clothing color, and get the thing back on track. I was up to start, crashed, then ended on the upswing.

Ultimately, I do like how it turned out. It was salvaged enough for me to be happy with the end result and be alright with giving it to my wife. I didn’t take many photos of this one though, because I was frustrated for most of the middle phases. I only have four frames this time, and it doesn’t really give you any insight into the rough patches. Regardless, here it is:

The wild card question, as always, is…what’s next? I asked this at the end of the last post about Mike Patton/Mr. Bungle and said it would be a series of drawings inspired by The Witcher games and show. Those pieces are actually complete and ready to share, but I figured a Mother’s Day drawing was a bit more topical and time sensitive.

Another complication to sharing The Witcher stuff is that I’ve got two healthcare/emergency worker requests on the table. For background, I’m trying to give a small sign of my appreciation for their work during the pandemic by giving away portraits; I was honestly surprised to receive one request, let alone three. But I’m glad to do them if I can, so I’ll probably prioritize working on those when we work out the exact subjects. Anyhow, lots of stuff coming down the pipeline!

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