I give out tickets to students as a reward for good work and good citizenship in my classes. They write their names on the tickets and put them in a bag, from which I occasionally pull one name from each class. The winner gets his or her portrait drawn by me. Here are the portraits I finished last week. They are pencil on 11″ x 14″ paper.
I received some commissions to make a few superhero portraits on canvas. I was able to make the colors and characterization a little richer in these paintings than in the works on paper, and to experiment with depth of color and lighting effects by using acrylic glazes. Here is the first one I finished.
My daughter was born during the time of my graduate studies at UNLV, where I was learning about digital art from the illustrious Helga Watkins. In an effort to improve my skills and create a portfolio piece, I used Adobe Illustrator to make this vector portrait of my baby girl. I like the idea that, because it’s a vector image, she could be scaled up infinitely without losing her smooth, baby features.
While working on new paintings and illustrations in the studio, I have also been working on an upsurge of new portrait commissions lately. There are so many painters who do traditional portraiture better than I do–not to mention photographers–that I prefer the fun energy of transforming people into comic- and cartoon-style heroes.
This drawing is an example of the scores of pastel portrait sketches I made in Celina, TX, during their centennial celebration on October 15, 2011. My idea was to use the Radiohead payment schedule–pay what you want–which worked okay until the swarms of unsupervised kids caught on and started paying me in pennies. Nevertheless, those kids seemed to love the experience, I got a lot of practice at drawing quickly from life, and I made enough money to buy the tank of gas that got my family back home.