I received a surprise email from my old roommate, Abdul. He was interested in having a portrait done. It was good to hear from him and he offered me two photos to choose from. Here’s the one I chose.
I really liked this image because the face was so serious. I kept thinking of the word “hardened.” So I started sketching and ended up here.
I really liked my sketch with one exception. The eyes. They were a bit on the large side, erring towards anime-istic, which was not something that fit with the rest of the sketch. The rest of the sketch though, I felt really good about. It kept the essence I liked about the photo and the roughness of the sketch and texture of the pencil also added more character. As always, I scanned it in, and started coloring it.
So, you’ve heard me talk often how hard these portraits are but this one… this one was pretty easy. I approached the coloring differently than the other portraits I've done, aiming for a darker composition, keeping earthy tones and navy blues. The coloring came pretty easily (thanks Multiply layer!) and the only times I went back and forth on my decisions were on the clothing. At first everything was a solid color, but I wanted to mix it up a bit so I went for a darkened top and bottom.
Also, in-between the coloring, I fixed the eyes, making them smaller and less wide. That was honestly the hardest part. Because I have to fix things on the original drawing layer, I can’t make very easy edits or else it looks very obvious that I “photoshopped” the original drawing. It takes some time to make my Photoshop brushstrokes look like they’re not only pencil marks, but marks that carry the texture of the paper as well, which is apparent in the original scan. Actually, if you zoom in really, really close, you can tell where it was I tampered with the original sketch. It’s something I am aware of and am trying to find a way to make these kind of edits seamlessly.
After all that, which wasn’t that much actually, I tinkered with the lighting minimally and finished! It took much less time than normal. Thanks to Abdul for being so easy to capture. Here's the final portrait.