Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Shout At The Devil!

Greetings my ghastly fiends! I am aware it has been some time since Miss Death has updated this thing... Yes, for shame on her. Anyway, enough of the third person narrative. Lets get down and dirty and to the point. 
I haven't written a blog for some time, I keep forgetting about this thing. But, I do have a few hours to kill so felt I should put in some effort. I won't bore you with what's been going on in my life over the past few months. But this blog is a post that reflects some of the works I have been creating over the past few months.  So I guess it will involve me explaining some events in my life since my last post... Schmucks! Here it goes:
OK, so we roll back to October. That beautiful month that myself, and i'm sure many of my fiendish followers adore (if you don't, then why the hell are you following me, huh?!). Yes, the month that brings us golden leaves, pumpkin pie and all things spooky and awesome. The best holiday of the year: Halloween! 
For Halloween last year (2012), myself and some of my buddies made a trip up to the old creepy city of Edinburgh... Yes, that freezing cold place in Bonnie Scotland. The purpose of the trip was for an epic Halloween night of awesomeness. This Halloween night of awesomeness was to see the one, the only Alice Cooper!!! Apart from possibly giving me one of the best Halloween nights that I've ever witnessed, he also inspired me on the art front. How? I hear you cry (maybe not). Some of my older, more long term followers may remember the days when I used to draw a hell of a lot of photo-realistic style portraits. Whether it be of musicians, movie monsters or well, that was it really. If you follow me on the likes of Facebook and Twitter then you may have noticed that until October it had been a long time since i'd done any form of portrait work. When I say 'long time', I mean over a year! (See HERE and you'll get what I mean) Mr. Cooper however inspired me to get back into portrait mode and draw faces again! Huzzah! So here I am again to show you some work. First off i'll start with the Alice Cooper piece. Makes sense considering it's what I've been yabbering on about for the past however many minutes. 
This piece was challenging for me. Apart from not drawing anything photo-realistic in over a year, I also had pretty much forgotten how to draw full stop. It was like when you're learning to ride a bike and your dad thinks it's fun to take off the stabilisers... At first you're off to a really shakey start, crashing into every obstacle  But by the end of the day you're pretty much there and running smoothly along. It also reminded me of how much I hate drawing hair. I need to draw more bald people! Why the hell do all the super awesome folk have so much hair? Curses! But below is the result of the Alice Cooper portrait. Completed in   November 2012, using graphite on A4 cartridge paper. 
Click on the image for a larger, more detailed view. 
From this moment on, I was back in the swing of art, more so, portraits. My next one was a long time coming. Why the hell I didn't draw this face sooner, who knows? As one of my 'idols' and inspirations in life, Joe Strummer was the next to be recreated under the sharp point of Death's pencil. Let me explain some more... You may notice that in this portrait I have zombified him. Not a bad thing really. But that wasn't originally the plan. I sketched him up with the 'living' Joe in mind, but alas, I came across a bump in the road, messed his eye up/got frustrated because I couldn't get his pupil quite right so ended up zombifying him to make it a little easier on my impatient self. I think it turned out for the best. Joe Strummer + Zombie = FUCK YEAH! But i'll let you be the judge. I should really get some scans instead of crappy camera pics, but meh, you know.
After this I decided on something a bit different, and a sort of experiment. I realised I'd never done any coloured photo-realistic portraits. Ok, that's a lie. I have. But usually it's a piece created on canvas using acrylic. Completely different materials to pencil and paper. So this was my challenge  Create a piece that was colour and was created in pencil. For this, the subject chosen was David Bowie, circa Aladdin Sane era (yes, those infamous 'lightning bolt' images). Perfect for a part black/shade, part colour portrait. The results are what you see below. Excuse the shady picture. As previously explained, i'm too lazy to scan so resort to the camera on my phone. But all in all, it came out better than expected. So all is well. Although I still want to change some shit on it!
Finally, i'm going to 'finish' this post with a brief tuition. As I get asked quite a lot 'How do you draw like that?/How do you create your portraits?', well here is your answer. Using my latest portrait piece of the dashingly beautiful Nikki Sixx (purely because it's the only one I seem to have progression photos of all stages from for unknown reasons) I shall show you/try to explain such. Hopefully it'll give you fiends an insight and stop asking me the same questions where I wish to record the answer on a dictaphone to prevent me having to repeat myself over and over (wishful thinking perhaps?). Ready? No? Well tough tits... I'm continuing non the less.

Step One: I start off by sketching out the basic lines. Including guide lines of various shadows/shading, small details and other basics, ie: hair, eyes, clothing etc. Note, these are not necessarily the final lines, just GUIDE ones to give myself a starting point and map out what goes where and basic shapes. Most of these lines and shapes tend to change or vanish come the final image.
Step Two: Once the basic lines are drawn, it's time to decide where you start on the actual shading and forming of the piece. My usual and most chosen part is the face, in particular, the eyes (after all, they are the window to the soul, or some shit like that anyway). Then I gradually expand and work outwards from the chosen part. Tip though: Choose a part of the drawing that's on the opposite side or away from the hand you hold your pencil in... This way you don't keep smudging stuff.
Step Three: Hair! One thing I dread. And again, I choose someone with a shit tonne of it! CURSES! As you can see in the image below, I tend to draw each hair individually. I feel it gives the more realistic look than just doing block shading. Something I have learnt over the years. Tedious? Yes! Worth it? Definitely!
 Step Four: After hours of drawing hair, and a bolt of hand cramp, we have a completed 80's mop that is a thing of beauty! Ok, I realise this isn't really a 'step' as such, but shut up!
Step Five: Making a start on the clothing/costume/body. This is the stage where I realised the reference image had far more detail than first imagined. But as I had spent an age battling with 80's hair metal do's, I felt i'd come too far to quit! I'm right handed, so as you can see, I worked from left to right (as previously discussed) to prevent smudging the image. I tend to do the darker parts first and then blend out with the shading. On the more finer detail parts, i'll do the fine lines before the shading (in most cases anyway). I use graphite sticks and woodless pencils for these images. They blend awesomely and you can gain brilliant textures and smooth blends with them. 8B and 9B tends to be my choice for the 'black' parts of the image, then a 4B is the most common I use for the lighter shadings. The mechanical pencil is used for finer detail, the lead in it is again 4B, I find them brilliant for those teeny tiny details that can suck with your standard pencil or graphite sticks. 
Step Six (or should that be Sixx?): Continuing on with the detail, I discover drawing shiny metal looking objects sucks, as does leather... But at the end of the day, it's practice. And with most things, practice is good. 
Step Seven: The final step!!!! Once I've finished on the shading, I go over some of the darker parts again, as with the blending. Using an eraser, I create the highlights and white parts. Finish any small details I may have first missed or think need to be added to slightly, create some sort of basic background (as it's a detailed piece, a simple background is best to make the image 'pop') then once one is happy, I fix the piece to prevent any further smudging. Walah! We have one Nikki Sixx! 
Possibly one of my favorite portrait pieces to date. He came out far better than first thought, plus I learnt how to create metal and leather shading a bit better. Although, I do have no plans to draw so much hair in the near future!
If any of you fiends have any questions you want to ask me, then feel free. I'll try and answer them as best as my rotting brain can manage. In the mean time, stay dead! Until I blog again, back to my crypt I must go!

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