This project is a take on portraits that I usually draw black and white with graphite and ebony pencils. As I have gotten deeper into my college career I have learn to love technology and finding new ways to create art digitally. I have a facination with people and how accurate I can draw them. As a child my father would sit me down with several comic books and cartoon characters and have me redraw them while he did the same. Once we both were finished we would compare and he would always be blown away by how exact my drawings would be to the original. I used to think this was a game or a competition between us but once I got older I realized my dad was working on my Photo Realism skills and he found a way to set me apart from other artists my age. This project is an ongoing experimentation, a fusion between my original black and white graphite portraits and a new skill, digital painting.
Being a college student I’ve had to get creative on ways to make money. Around the holidays I always make a series of Celebrity Portraits for people to purchase and also just to brush up on my skills and see if I still have the eye for Photo Realism. I was starting to fell like I was just copying images and never really putting my own twist on my drawings. I also wanted to find a way I could create one drawing and have the ability to produce multiple copies to sell to those who wanted them. So I thought, “Hey I work on my computer all the time why not draw on there too?” and that’s exactly what I did. I never really have a method to my madness when it comes to color choice, I like to say, “I just do what feels good.”
I used Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet. When I am deciding on which Celebrity to paint or draw I think of Iconic people, Actors, Musicians, or Rappers. Once I decide who I am going to paint I put their picture in Photoshop. If I want to do a black and white painting I usually turn the photo into a gray scale image and I make a palette of all my values. I do the same thing for a color image however I make several palettes for skin tone, hair, and eye color. I treat my digital portraits the same way I would treat an oil painting without the mess. Once I have my palettes created I like to start paint the eyes. Now, many of my professors say, “Don’t start with the eyes!” but for me I don’t see them as facial features I break them down in my brain as shapes that I eventually blend. When I start with the eyes it helps me progress through the image and eventually see the life come through and before I know it I have an entire person painted. I continuously layer and blend while I am creating. Once I am satisfied with the painting of the person, I create another layer that I put behind the person and that is when I go crazy and “Do what feels good” for the background.
When people see these paintings they are always a big hit! Everyone always wants to buy one or they want a personal drawing of their loved ones. Each time I create a new portrait in Photoshop I learn a new way to apply the brush strokes and colors in a more even and crisp way. Photoshop is a program that you can always find something new to learn, so it’s definitely an experience every time.