After seeing Greta Gerwig’s 2017 film “Lady Bird”, I decided to create a poster using a portrait of the titular character, played by Saoirse Ronan. I was interested in capturing both the mood of the film and of the character herself. I also wanted to explore the use of digital color, hopefully balancing this with the hand-drawn nature of the piece.
I used to work solely with pen to do black and white drawings, but more recently wanted to branch out and work with more diverse materials and subject matter. I had done a couple of pencil portraits before this, and decided to explore the medium further by using it as the basis for the Lady Bird portrait. Working the film’s title into the piece made it feel more graphic, while adding color in Photoshop further helped me to push myself into a different style than what I was used to.
I started by creating a grid on a piece of 11 x 14″ Strathmore Bristol paper. I then used this grid to sketch out Ronan’s face from a movie still, working with a No. 2 HB pencil. Once I was satisfied with the basic structure of her face, I erased the grid lines and went in again with the pencil, strengthening lines and adding detail and highlights/shadows. I also drew out the title typeface. With that stage completed, I scanned the piece into Photoshop and added all colors and textures using a Wacom Bamboo tablet.
I felt that this project was a great way to practice portraiture, and to improve my digital coloring skills (which I have since incorporated into all my recent pieces). Friends and family had wonderful things to say about the piece (I think because it was so different from what I used to create), and overall I’m very happy with the experience and end product.