Using a photo of actress Suranne Jones I wanted to explore a slightly different approach to composing an image. I constructed the darker areas first and then painted over with the light.
Blending was once again achieved with a damp brush and the gel pen for fine hair styling.
This is my favourite so far since it is much more of an artist’s solution than anything technical or methodical. I also refrained from shading with charcoal since the image was fairly contrasting in tone already.
Finally I worked on two layers. The lower layer is the crude composition of colour and tone whilst the layer above is a duplicate that I use to apply blending.
I lose detail around the eyes when blending so I set the eraser to large scale and around 30% opacity and carefully erased areas of the top layer. This partial revelation of the crude layer beneath provides a wonderful texture to the image.
Step 1. Crude (very crude) painting
All but the eyes get a very quick treatment of wet paint here. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big believer in breathing life in to the portrait through the eyes. I focus on the detail of each eye and zoom in and out frequently to achieve the desired effect.
Suranne has a wonderful shape to her face and a real youthfulness. It would be stupid to leave such a large amount of crude and dark lines around her cheeks and mouth.
The eyes have lost something. They no longer have that wonderful, crude texture that appeared to give them life. It all looks a bit too plasticine now and I don’t want that. I want the textures back.
That layer still contains those textured (crude) marks that I first laid down to construct the shape of the face.
I don’t want to bring it all back just a little around the eyes and hair line.
Carefully brushing around the eyes on the upper most layer I start to see some texture reappear from the layer beneath. The mixture of the two layers works much better for me. It looks far more like an artist’s representation rather than a computer.
I continue the process sparingly and include the areas under the hair and around the ear.
It’s pleasing to me to accept that you can go too far with this and that there needn’t be any right or wrong in terms of the final piece.
It’s pretty much about achieving the effect that I wanted to achieve. That is, matching the vision that I’d had for the image all along.
Procreate on iPad lets me accomplish all of this.