The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life

Monday, 16 January 2012

Watching paint dry...


... at least that's what I was doing before I decided to finish this Portrait of 'Alfie' instead!


Graphite pencil


I had planned to spend a few hours on the latest bear, only to find that the last layer was still too wet to work on. So, every time I tried to work on one area, I smudged another! It just wasn't worth the risk.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a pencil portrait of this adorable little chap, 'Alfie'. 
I did the hat a few days ago when I had some time to spare, and I did the rest this afternoon.

My hat goes off to Crystal Cook, who seems to effortlessly produce endless, perfect baby portraits, but portraits are completely out of my comfort zone and this is my first attempt at drawing a baby.
They are so perfect, in fact their adorable, squidgy, pudgy faces are actually too perfect; Their skin is flawless and smooth, their skin tone is even, but this means that there is little skin texture and tone to work with. 

I started with a sketch on a separate piece of paper, just to get the shape of the face and the features correctly placed. I was expecting this stage to take a long time, but when I compared my initial sketch with the photograph, I realised that it was surprisingly close and only a few minor adjustments were necessary. Once I was happy with the sketch, I transferred the outlines to a sheet of Bristol Paper and then it was just a matter of adding the shading.

I found a way of helping with the problem of lack of tone by scanning the photo to my computer and adjusting the mid-tones. This made the shadows on the face a lot more apparent than they were on the actual photograph I was given and so much easier to work from.

The portrait of Alfie really didn't take me long and it was actually nice to have something else to do between 'bear time'.
I need to do more things like this I think!

Anyway - as promised, I will end this post with a useless fact about my day:

Q. What music did I listen to today?

A. None! The sun was shining and so the birds were singing me the most beautiful song. How could I possibly be so ungrateful as to not listen to them :0)







32 comments:

  1. Hi Sandra, wow lucky alfies mommy! This is some sketch.... beautiful.. i wonder what it would look like in watercolor????

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    1. Hi Cathy. I did think about that but decided that since I had never tried a watercolour portrait before, I thought it best not to attempt it when time is such an issue. I may do one day though :0)

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  2. Fabulous, Sandra! He is adorable!

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  3. an incredible drawing sandra!! it's coming along just beautifully! a perfect little guy face!!

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    1. Hi Suzanne. Thank you! I just have to hope his Mummy is happy with it :0)

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  4. Sandra I just love him! You have done some truly outstanding work. All of his features are rendered with just the right amount of subtlety. He is so darling. I love his little nose, the soft curve of his cheek and his eyes! The detail just makes him sparkle. Well done!! :))) You should feel very proud, his family will love it.

    And thank you SO much for those lovely words my friend. You're awesome. :D

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    1. Hi Crystal. Thank you SO much! I found the baby a challenge because there are hardly any hard outlines and it is mainly soft, diffused edges. Subtlety is definitely the word! I have an awful lot to learn but I am happy with it for a first attempt. I really should brave an attempt with watercolour some time :0)

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  5. Aww, he's adorable! And I would say you are very accomplished at portraits! Great job!

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    1. Hi Katherine. Well thank you very much! I still have an awful lot to learn, mainly because I rarely ever do them. Portraits to me are like landscapes - a subject I tend to avoid! :0)

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  6. What a cutie-patootie! Well done, Sandra!!!

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    1. Cutie-Pattooie? Love it, lol! Thank you :0D

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  7. Wow, Sandra! This portrait of Alfie is abolutely amazing! Bravissima! Hug!

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  8. Sandra!! This is a beautiful, beautiful portrait of Alphie. His eyes are outstanding...perfect shadowing and LOVE his hat!!!

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    1. Thank you very much Hilda! I think that the eyes are the most important part. If the eyes are drawn with care you can almost just sketch everything around them and yet it works (as you clearly know yourself) :0)

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  9. more sandra ! ...beautifully drawn :)

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    1. Thanks Jane :0)
      Portraits scare me really, so I probably should do more :0)

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  10. Hello Sandra,
    very, very beautiful portrait!
    Congratulations. A hug.

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  11. Hats off to you Sandra, this is a cracker!!! And to think, you just ran it in while waiting for paint to dry. Awesome. ;-)

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    1. Thanks John! Maybe I was just in the right frame of mind and that's why it worked. I don't normally like doing portraits! :0)

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  12. Beautiful and sweet baby! Arianna

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    1. He is cute isn't he? Thanks Arianna :0)

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  13. Beautiful pencil portrait , Sandra. You did a great job! xx

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    1. Thank you Pat! Now it's your turn to try a portrait!! (and no, not a doggy one, lol!) :0)

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  14. Sandra, what a amazing portrait! You are so talented in drawing, this baby is so tender! Bravissima!

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    1. Thank you very much Cristina. I still have a lot to learn with portraits really as I haven't done many at all! :0)

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  15. Thank you very much! I really appreciate your visit :0)

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