My friends recently celebrated the first birthday of their delightful grandson Fred and very kindly invited me to the party. I decided to make a portrait to commemorate the event.
Freddie is already a star on Instagram so I chose my favourite photo of him from his mum’s gallery – it has something of the sage about it – and made a series of simple pencil drawings until I was happy that the outline did the handsome little chap justice.
I then uploaded a photograph of the drawing into Photoshop, cleaned up the linework and started playing about with classic pop art parodies.
The first version was an Andy Warhol style set of four coloured squares, but I found it too busy….
so I simplified it and made the colours more muted
I gradually darkened this drawing with layers of charcoal, accentuating the planes and regions of the face. I developed it to make a stencil type portrait which I manipulated digitally and used as a template for a screen print (see below).
This portrait was drawn in charcoal from a photograph and then manipulated digitally, using scanned fabric from the 1970’s as a collage for her hair, which is so ‘busy’ that I decided to keep the rest of the colours quite simple. Fingers crossed there’ll be more of these…
I was out at a concert in a bar in the village one night when I noticed a local photographer checking his camera at the bar; he’d taken some really striking portraits of the band and audience in black and white and I was particularly struck by the dark intensity of one of the shots and knew that I must make a drawn version. The photographer very kindly gave his permission, so I set to work with a charcoal version.
Having fixed the first charcoal layer I added to it to make the background and facial shadows more intense.
I then decided to ‘age’ it and to give it more warmth by adding an acrylic wash in a sepia tone and a layer of crackle glaze before applying stains to highlight the cracks.
It took several weeks before I ran into the subject of the portrait and was able to gain his permission to publish the piece, which I cropped close to emphasize the intimate pose.