Monday, July 14, 2008

Tone Paper Portrait

Here’s a portrait of my friend James Warhola, a children’s book illustrator best known for his autobiographical book Uncle Andy’s, as well as a frequent collaborator on the original Art By Committee sketchbook.

The sketch is from life, and it’s a quick technique that’s halfway between drawing and painting. I used a heavyweight gray-brown tone paper with a rough texture, and did the drawing first in soft pencil.

Then I washed in white gouache over the background using a bristle brush, leaving soft edges on the left side of the hair. For the light side of the face, I used a softer brush to lay down a milky-thin layer gouache, building it up a bit more for the highlights.

Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845) used a similar technique for this self-portrait, where he indulges a shameless talent for gurning.

3 comments:

Dianne Mize said...

Delightful little drawing. I love the quickness of your marks. I don't know what there is about quick gesture in drawing, but I love it when I see it.

Andrew Wales said...

Great sketch of James Warhola.

James Warhola's book "Uncle Andy's" is the best artist biography for children I have ever seen. It is probably so good because he knew the subject so well -- it is about his uncle, Andy Warhol.

My fourth graders LOVED that book. It is full of delightful details, like the fact that Andy had 25 cats all named Sam. We wrote him a letter and hope to hear back.

Lindsay said...

THis summer I saw the Homer/Hopper exhibit at the Art Insititute in Chicago and noticed this technique was used by Homer.He used a mid tone gray/blue paper to great effect. Thanks for describing it in greater detail. The show was AMAZING BTW. I hope it comes to your area.