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.

Conceptual Illustration: Some have the courage…

Conceptual Illustration

My goal with the second illustration was to go for a simpler form. I chose to do a line drawing with minimal color, which is not my usual style.


  • research art precedents
  • brainstorm words that describe the concepts in the chapter we were illustrating
  • choose a concept and brainstorm images that would best illustrate the idea
  • draw concept sketches
  • choose one and thumbnail
  • get a roommate to pose for me for reference photos
  • (get feedback from class and teacher and start all over again)
  • complete the final piece on bristol board with ink and watercolor

M. Scott Peck – The Road Less Traveled

Illustration of chapter 1: Discipline

“Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”

Some have the courage…

Catchin’ the Breeze

Our first illustration challenge was to create a cd cover. I chose a song that has been the embodiment of my return to college and move towards the lifestyle I want¬† – no, not sailing and ocean cruising… following my heart and living in joy!

I chose an almost monochromatic theme and focused on the sun as a symbol of the hope and promise ahead… “as you walk into the light….” The main stanzas are below the photo.

Technique is watercolor and ink on illustration board.

The process was to collect photo references and work from those. I chose a photo from the trip to the Keys that had a boat on the water; however, I wanted a photo of a sailboat with the sail unfurled, so that Saturday a friend and I headed to Geist Lake and lucked out! The sailing club had a class in session and using a zoom lens I shot photos to my heart’s content!

Catchin' the Breeze

I created a youtube video of the actual song set to the photos of our dolphin swim for the nieces and nephews, so excuse that personalization. However, this is the specific song for anyone wishing to hear it – Eden’s Bridge: Catching the Breeze .

Catching the breeze
Sailing away and traveling
The seven seas
Open your door and
Step out and catch the breeze

The journey is long
But one step is all that it takes
To start
So lift up your eyes and
Pack up your courage and fill
Your heart

The horizon is distant
The sun is so bright
And the city is fading
As you walk out into the light