This is a Work-In-Progress (WIP) pic of my latest portrait. I’m experimenting with using two of my favorite art forms to combine two beautiful subjects and see how they relate to each other.
The first phase of this project was research and design based. I started compiling source material, that included past images I’ve created and portraits I’ve found. Once I had a library of images I began to find objects that could be incorporated into the composition. The challenge was not making the layout too busy and confusing. The main goal I had was to create an image where the subject is complemented but not overpowered.
The second phase was Photography based. I set up a shoot with a model and created a still life of the flowers, which I knew I was going to integrate into the images later in Photoshop. I’ve done this a couple of times in a darkroom with chemical photography. It’s a really amazing process because you have no idea what you going to get. However, Photoshop gives me a lot more control which is nice because the last phase for me is drawing the piece.
Here we are in the middle of the third phase. I have a lot of the details on the face done and I’m starting to work on the flower. The flower texture is very smooth, so I’m using a light 4h pencil and making lots of little strokes. When the petals dip or ripple I’m using a HB pencil to add those subtle shadows. The lightest of petals is contrasted by the very dark, almost black Pistil (center of the flower). I’m using a 4B in the dark parts of the Pistil.
Good black and white portraits are all about balance. Make sure the image has parts that are true black and others that are true white.
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