This is a picture of my son that I decided to dive into the land of portraits with. Actually it was more like guilted into with. I have only done 2 portraits in my life (Neither of which, my son made clear, were of him). Both were on paper that would have been better suited for pastel, and my style mixed with graphite left a lot to be desired. Like I have said before, I see images in shadows and have a tendency to map my skin tones. Unfortunately, not translating very well for portraits. During my search for literature on the subject, I came across Lee Hammond's book "Lifelike Portraits from Photographs." Our styles were very similar, but she worked on Bristol and blended a whole lot more. So after much contemplation, I started to make my first layout graphed onto tracing paper. I think that will be how I start all of my drawings; it works well just in case I need to erase. I used the reference photo in a 8 x 10 size and enlarged the finished portrait on the graph to 16 x 20.
The graphed version was then transferred to Bristol and a light graph was made on the drawing surface to keep the shadows in place. I used a 2b mechanical pencil for this piece, several sizes of paper stumps, kneaded eraser, and pink pearl in a stick form. The blending on the Bristol went well. I could go back and darken areas and use the kneaded eraser to lighten mistakes. Once I had the facial features in graphite, the piece became very exciting to me. The jawline ended up being the place of most challenge. The shadows can mislead the eyes. So I had to keep true to the photo. A kind of leap of faith thing! Then all that was left was the hair, which to me is a form of fur, and something I am comfortable with.
Oddly enough, I loved working from a colored photo. I find the values in the shadows a little easier to distinguish than black and white. Black and white makes me think flatter tones. So I didn't even attempt making a black and white reference pic. I unfortunately did not do a progressive coverage on this. So all that I can show is the finished piece. My son gave his approval on it, although he said that I could have left out the small chip in one of his teeth. (That realism gets you every time!) The joke will be on me after I get the bill from his next appointment with the dentist!