March 24, 2008

Sketchcrawl in Bangalore

The 18th International Sketchcrawl is happening this Saturday (29th March), and we have a group of us going to be sketching in Bangalore too! A sketchcrawl is a worldwide event where groups of people get together across the globe and sketch from life the whole day. What a way to spend the day. And then, we share all our sketches online. Thanks to an initiative by a Bangalore based artist at WetCanvas, I got to know about this event and I am thrilled to bits.

Like me, if you too are not aware of the sketchcrawl concept, here is a basic intro -
- Introduction to a sketchcrawl
- Suggested Materials

If you are in Bangalore and interested in sketching, leave a comment with you email, or shoot in a mail to me. You could also sign up in this thread in the sketchcrawl forum. Lets have fun!

March 9, 2008

Self portrait - almost completed

I posted the incomplete version of the self portrait in time for the challenge at WetCanvas, and the extremely encouraging folks there said it was looking good already! People said that there was a very good resemblance and some tweaks would finish it up well.

After a week, I got back to the portrait and it is almost completed now. My face is fully done and I just have some little tweaks in the background. So more or less done. The face hasn't undergone any big changes from version 3.0. I had to increase my right cheek, which was not showing my chubby face fully. A slight increase in the cheek made a HUGE difference to the picture overall. And then pushing of some darks around the eyes kinda did it. Here is a look at the whole picture.

A closer look at my image alone -
I am happy with the result. It now looks like me in the mirror too, though it looks like my mouth is skewed at an angle! In the normal view it looks just fine. Let me know your comments, especially if you have met me in person.:-)

Updated: Here is a link to the Self Portrait Challenge 2008 at WetCanvas. This thread contains everyone's portraits with other's comments. Absolutely stunning work by all of them! And this is the gallery with all images alone put together, aptly titled "The Rogues Gallery 2008" :D

March 2, 2008

Some ugly stages of a self portrait

Thanks to a recently announced Self Portrait Challenge at WetCanvas, I got to do my self portrait. After more than a month of shortlisting some photographs, I finally zeroed in on a reference. I was not even sure if I should use a reference or sit in front of the mirror. But since the mirror option is certainly more time consuming, I went with having a reference.

My reference would be familiar to those who are on my network in Orkut, for this pic has been my profile pic forever. The original reference is this -

I opted for a closer crop so that the focus is on my face and not the background. Here is the cropped reference -

To begin with, I did a rough sketch blocking the main regions, for my face, body and the background. And filled it with one layer of colour. I have simply filled flesh tint in the face, without marking the features.

Then, I directly marked the features with a pencil on my face. A very rough marking, which would be refined later as I lay down paint.

I do not have stage by stage WIP images to show the painting process, as I was too involved to pause and click. I completed the face (ver 1.0) only to later realize that the proportion between the size of the face and height of my body wasn't alright. The width was fine, but the picture showed me taller than I actually am. I did not like it, and painted over the face again with flesh tint. I have emptied a tube of flesh tint for this picture alone and need to replenish my stock, btw!

Version 2.0 seemed alright with regards to the proportions overall, but I did not like the eyes. The eyes were perfect in version 1.0, but 2.0 altered this, and therefore the overall resemblance to myself was lesser. When the eyes are perfect, they kinda make up for other goof ups. But if the eyes go wrong even a wee bit, no amount of perfection in the other features will set right the overall painting. Here is a look at ver 2.0.

If I find something wrong, I do not have the patience to "correct" it. I would rather paint over it and start from scratch. Which is why I painted over the eyes alone when I felt they were not okay, and version 3.0 was born! I think the proportions are okay now and the eye also looks fine. A lot of shading is yet to be done though. It was getting too late and I was feeling sleepy, so decided to continue at a later point. Here is the portrait as it is right now -

At every stage, my only verification was with my daughter. If she could recognize me, I thought everyone else can! So I showed it to her and she was happy, which made me sort of relieved. But one thing that is nagging me is that the picture is terrible if seen in the mirror. When I am unsure if I am on the right track, I always use the mirror to judge my painting. And this time, it looks like someone else in the mirror (not that it looks 100% like me in the normal view either!:-) ) I have left it aside for sometime. Will go back to it later and spend some time analysing what needs to be done where, and I hope to complete this soon. Ofcourse, with background and all.

In the meantime, I would like to hear from you folks about what you think of this attempt. And suggest any changes too. Thank you!

What have I been upto!

Two full months into 2008 and this is my first post of the year! Phew! I have been a little busy with work and I haven’t had the time to even paint, let alone blog. But well, it isn’t that I haven’t painted at all. I did some illustrations for a magazine last month. You can find my illustrations in the Jan 2008 issue of the “Parenting Magazine”. Seeing my stuff in print was super exciting, but I could not continue on that assignment due to tight deadlines. I had a ball doing it for one edition though. Wasn’t 100% satisfied with the output, I felt I could’ve done much better if there was more time, but I guess that’s how the world of print works. It was an entirely new experience for me, both working for a magazine, and doing illustrations in the first place. It was fun!

I have also signed up for a new postcard exchange project this year at WetCanvas. The ATC exchange last year was awesome and I sent out and received some really cool pieces of art. I have about a dozen cards that I will be mailing out soon, and I have already started getting some amazing pieces from others. Boy! People are real quick! I am mostly doing birds this year also, as I love painting birds. I signed up for the project mainly because it helps me keep in touch with colored pencils. I am not yet comfortable working in CP on a large scale, so small pieces like these are the way to familiarize more with the medium which I love so dearly.

If you thought I have forgotten about all those resolutions just after making them, no, that is not quite the case. I am taking them seriously and working on them. Since one of my New Year goals was to work in “series”, I am now working on a series of boats. I have 5 paintings that are underway, all of them 16 * 24. God knows when I will outgrow this habit of having million unfinished pieces and not working on a single piece at a time. As long as it works for me, it is fine I guess.

I have a lot of art that is getting done, but nothing is yet in a post-worthy stage and that’s why I haven’t updated my blog or website.

It was a great coincidence that a new “self portrait” project was announced at WetCanvas and I signed up at the first chance. It was a good motivation, otherwise I wonder when I would’ve got it done. It’s a double challenge actually – I have never done a self portrait, and never done a portrait in acrylics. I have not yet completed the portrait, but it is turning out decently I guess. See my next post for the detailed WIP of the self portrait.

Now that I have got back to the painting mode, I hope to post all my in-process works in quick succession. So stay tuned!

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