Dirk Nowitzki Portrait with Trophy

This is going to be yet another piece of artwork dedicated to Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki. Considering this is now the fourth drawing I’ve done of Dirk, I guess it’s safe to say I’ve long been a huge fan of his. I grew up watching the Mavs, and especially remember watching those difficult 1990s seasons with guys like Jamal Mashburn, Jim Jackson, and Jason Kidd on his first run with the team. Towards the end of those rough days, before Dirk came along, my favorite player was Michael Finley (though ol’ Finley is still on my Mavericks Mount Rushmore). But then in the 1998 draft, the Mavericks changed their franchise forever with the drafting of Dirk.

I’ve written about the greatness of Dirk before, including how magical his championship season in 2011 was. If you aren’t familiar with this story, it basically starts with Dirk losing in the 2006 NBA Finals to Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat. In my opinion, it was one of the most rigged playoff series of all time, second probably only to the Lakers vs Kings in 2002. Somehow though, in 2011 the Mavs shocked the world in pretty much every series. The struggled a bit to close out a hot Blazers team, then incredibly swept the defending champion Lakers. They clobbered the “next big thing” Thunder (with Durant, Westbrook, and Harden), then shocked the world by knocking of the Heat’s newly anointed Big Three of Lebron, Wade, and Bosh. Truly a legendary playoff run – one of my all time favorites in any sport.

Even though it’s a great moment, I have to give the man credit – he had an amazing career even outside of that storybook championship season. After all, Dirk played for 21 seasons, with 14 All-Star selections, 12 All-NBA teams, an MVP, and ended up sixth on the all-time scoring list. Not to mention the fact that he’s got a signature shot (one-legged high arching fadeaway) that’s been emulated by so many players. Needless to say, he was a joy to watch from a fan’s perspective. I’m going to embed some great Dirk highlights below, just to show some of the greatness that was Dirk. This has a pretty nice mix of “Seasoned Vet Dirk” and “Young Agile Dirk”, and plenty of those one-legged fadeaways:

Anyhow, of all the Dirk sketches I’ve done (some of which aren’t very good), I hadn’t actually done one of Dirk the Champion. I’ve long thought it would be cool to sketch after the won the championship, celebration scenes, or something along those lines. At some point, I came across a photo of Dirk with the trophy, which I had saved in my “Drawing Ideas” folder. For some reason, that randomly popped into my brain a few weeks ago, so I went for it. Here’s the resulting sketch:

I’m not sure what came over me, but I actually completed two drawings that same day, with this being one of them. Shortly afterward, possibly even the next day, I finally attempted to paint for the first time. It was a tidal wave of artistic inspiration that hasn’t actually subsided much. This all happened a couple of weeks ago, and since then I have actually painted three more portraits! So, I’m definitely getting a bit backlogged at this point in terms of finished art that I haven’t written about yet.

But back to this drawing of Dirk. I’m really happy with it, which is perhaps a factor inspiring me to get into so many projects lately. I think it’s the first Dirk drawing that actually turned out to my satisfaction, with the possible exception of the Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic sketch I did. But that one doesn’t feature Dirk’s face, so it probably doesn’t count. This current portrait though actually looks like him, which is naturally important. It was a very loose project that I wasn’t overly pressured about; I find that approach to usually help facilitate a better finished product. I also like how the trophy looks here, which I wasn’t sure I could actually successfully color. A vivid yellow (which I can’t remember the exact name of) and some 90% Warm Gray turned out to be the stars of the show there.

As usual, I’ve embedded a slideshow-style progression video above. I usually try to match music to whatever topic I’m drawing, hopefully that aligned okay here. For some reason, this royalty-free song (from YouTube’s free library) reminded my a bit of NBA2K menu music. Not exactly, but it certainly triggered that association for me.

As I mentioned above, I’ve got a bunch of finished art to share, and I’m still feeling inspired to paint, so I’ll probably have an even larger backlog before the weekend is through. I’ve got one more drawing, then this blog will feature quite a lot of painting. I have a feeling that might be true for a while, at least as long as the spirit’s still moving me in that direction. I do still draw, but it’s mostly funny stuff or requests for coworkers. So, more to come!


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