Illustration 3: A Famous Face


Funny thing about me, I don’t do faces. That said, it was with trepidation that I took on our third assignment to illustrate a famous face. However, it was actually quite enjoyable once I looked at the face as a matter of shapes in relationship to one another.

I wanted to do Nelson Mandela, but opted for a more familiar image who played him once in a film. I like Morgan Freeman as an actor and his face is fascinating. Maybe it is the mystery in his eyes and the humor I sense behind them. I have always been a sucker for that combination.

First I researched photos, then thumbnailed the position. Simply put, I liked it best directly in the general center of the paper… nothing too design driven, just simple.

Practice runs:

#1 Conte pencil/tan pastel paper – I was not happy.

#2 conte pencil/grey pastel paper – didn’t finish, didn’t like it. (Our teacher, Jacob Dobson, likes to tell us “don’t polish poop” – crude, but very effective. I let go of a project when I think of it that way!)

#3 Felt like it needed to be bigger!

Had loads of fun doing this one, but would have liked to try it again (and maybe again) but ran out of time. This one was turned in, but I know the face is not yet the length that I want.

What it lacked in style, it made up for in size! No doubt about it, I would love to just be an artist – as long as I had an income and time to perfect my craft.

Chalk pastels on large, light tan pastel paper.

Given more time, I think I could have gotten the likeness down. By the time Morgan and I were at this point,  it occurred to me that “taking a likeness” can be a very intimate experience. The artist has to get to know the subject in deep detail…to feel the other person and get to know them more than casually. It can happen even with a photo.

I then remembered that it was one of the reasons I had steered away from portraiture in the past. I am not always comfortable with that intimacy… it feels like an invasion of privacy.

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