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Mick Hart, "Me and Mom," crayon

Mick Hart
Me and Mom

Caran D’Ache Crayons
12″ x 16″

AP Solutions
USA

“Although I deviated a bit from the assignment by drawing two portraits from images rather than a ‘live’ self image, I learned a great deal from this exercise: Portraits are difficult!  This was my first real attempt, and I have a new-found respect for portrait artists.

It seems even the slightest anomaly in the face will significantly affect whether or not the rendering looks like the model. Moreover, slight errors make the face just look wrong (if that makes sense): an ear too low, sticking out too far, a nostril too small (or large), teeth too white, ears out of place, etc. etc.

I worked on this off-and-on for about a month just trying to correct as best I could these issues. Frustrating, but going through the exercise of trying to identify whats wrong, fixing it, and moving on to the next thing that’s wrong really starts to drive home the anatomy of the face and how sensitive humans are to any imperfections in the rendering. As Prof Lieu mentioned in the lessons, eyes are not white, and the little dot in the pupil is crucial (I left one out, and the image looked like something from a horror movie)

Draw the portrait as large as possible on the canvas. I drew mine far too small and had a devil of a time getting the level of detail I wanted. As Prof Lieu mentioned, bear down with the crayons. A light touch won’t get you any saturation. A lot of layering can be done with these crayons; however (again as Prof Lieu mentioned), there is a saturation point beyond which you can’t lay down any more material. Mine was so saturated at one point that trying to add additional material resulted in me pulling up small pieces of previous layers. (I probably layer too much, though).

There is a sheen in the crayon when the light strikes it a certain way. This might be because I layered too much – not really sure, and I’m not sure how to get rid of it or if it’s just the nature of the material.  Anyway, this exercise was frustrating, enlightening, and fun. I recommend it.

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3 responses on "Mick Hart"

  1. Really wonderful portraits Mick! For your first time, I think you did an exceptional job. I think you did a great job capturing the personalities in your portraits, and from what you said in your artist statement, it seems like the lesson really helped you out!

    I always find myself interested in the setting of portraits, and I find myself wondering where your models are located. Just simple additions like shadows or a picture frame could really add depth to a piece, and is always a great trick to keep up your sleeve! As both Stephanie and Catherine have also said, color is important too and building up shades and different tones can really help steer you away from a face looking “wrong”.

    Overall, I love the personality in your figures and I think this is a fantastic first portrait. Great work!

  2. Hello Mick! I am really impressed with your portraits, especially since you said that it was your “first real attempt” at portraiture! I think you did a really excellent job addressing the unique shapes and features on both faces, which makes each face look believable and the portraits successful.
    I agree with what Catherine has discussed above about the light and shadows of the piece. Another thing I think you could benefit from in the future is using even more color variation in your portraits. Parts of the piece, like the clothes, seem to be composed of one color, but adding colors of similar nature could really add more visual interest to the piece. Additionally, adding complimentary colors in the shadows of a color (for example, using some bits of darker orange hues in the shadow on your blue coat) can really make the main color pop in a great way. The same goes for the skin tone; there are actually lots of different colors in skin like red, blue, pink, and more! Exploring the color variations more in future works I think could be really fun for you, and could only improve your portraiture pieces.
    This is a lovely and sweet piece that shows great technical skill! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  3. Hi Mick! This portrait definitely looks like you spent a lot of time, effort, and love into it. Portraits are SO fickle, and as you have said, slight errors do indeed make a face look funky. However, I think you did a great job observing Prof Lieu’s lessons and applying them to your work!

    Something I think you can tackle in your next portrait is light and shadow. If I squint my eyes, the darkest forms I see here are the background and the clothing. Some of those darks can also be applied to the faces, hair, and even clothing to give it more dimension and life. I would recommend looking back and observing Rembrandt’s portraits.

    Overall, a very endearing and ambitious double portrait! Bravo!

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