Emily | Portrait


Here's another assignment from last semester: a digitally painted portrait. Once again, the wonderfully willing Emily (actress) helped me out by becoming my model. There's a chance you'll remember her from past projects, including Race Against Time and The White Lady of Kinsale. I actually asked Emily to help me with this one in particular for a number of reasons, which influenced the overall look of this project.

Firstly, we met in secondary school, where we took art classes together. At that stage, Emily occasionally tried her hand at painting, and frequently leaned towards more abstract looks. For this reason, I built the portrait on a background of acrylic-style brushstrokes. I picked the sepia colour because Emily, like me, has a fondness for all things vintage (especially old film-memorabilia, I think), so I wanted to capture an old-film kind of look. I also added gold because Emily is always classy and elegant, so it seemed fitting. I also appreciated the connection to film awards such as the Golden Globes, which is another link to Emily's personality.

Emily's personality and our shared interests also influenced smaller details within the image. In school, we were always hopelessly ambitious (we still are, to be honest) and it was her ambition to become a part of the acting world, for instance, which inspired the film reel border. Because she is a self-professed coffee-connoisseur and tea-lover - and the fact that when we meet, either coffee or tea are generally involved at some stage - I added the coffee stains to the background. Finally, I added some French phrases in a scripted font for a few reasons. Emily and I shared language classes for many years, and we both share a love of travel. Emily, I believe, is particularly partial to capital cities, like London and Paris. We also both share a tendency to use elaborate handwriting wherever possible. And finally, Emily has a very distinctive way of speaking, which is usually pretty entertaining, so I wanted to include language in some way.

And so, the portrait above is a result inspired by the ever-lovely Emily (actress), to whom I am so, so grateful for! Below, you can see the original photograph I took of Emily for reference in all her Irish-sun-drenched glory.


Jazz Musician's Apartment


This is something of a long running project, I suppose. I finished it a few weeks ago, just in time for Pen & Pixel 2014 but I started it way back in the first semester. It's ended up being a kinda hybrid drawing, in terms of media. Traditional lineart, digital colouring, and traditional shading.


The assignment was part of my Drawing Principles module, while we were studying one-point perspective. After studying basic perspective in class, we were given a few titles to pick from and were asked to create a lineart-only layout. If any of you have ever seen my Interior Design and Architecture board on Pinterest, you're not going to be surprised that the title I chose was "messy jazz musician's apartment" which I explored with a 1920s, vintage film kinda twist. I used pencil to sketch our the layout originally, then cleaned it up with a brown ballpoint pen.


Fast forward a few months, and press play when the countdown to the end of the year begins. Our last assignment for the module was to choose a project we'd done during the year, and develop it further. It was entirely up to us which assignment we chose to delve into, and it was our choice how far we took it. Since I'd drawn the lineart for this, I really wanted to toss a splash of colour on it. And because I've been wanting to learn how to colour digitally for a long time now, I decided this assignment was as wise a choice as any.


I started with the base colours. In keeping with a vintage film aesthetic, I kept the palette muted and limited to just three or four colours, with a heavy leaning towards browns. Then I tried to shade it digitally and failed miserably. It was a complete and utter disaster and I'm just going to pretend that it never happened. Instead, I went back to traditional media. Bring out the trusty 2B.



Once I was happy with the shading, I scanned it and used adjustment and multiply layers to deepen the darks and bring out the highlights. The pencil gave everything a slightly grainy, gritty feeling, which I liked. When I was happy with all that, I tied everything back together in a neat little package; lineart, colour, and shading. And then finally called it done.