Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watercolor Portrait, Tangier

A couple weeks ago I posted this watercolor portrait of Zack, the antique dealer. He posed for me at a cafe in the old medina of Tangier, Morocco.

Here's a new video to show you the atmosphere of the scene. The light was coming from the blue sky above the square where we were sitting, and it made a cool highlight on the top of his head. Film by Alan Dean Foster.


David Still said...

I can see it is a very good likeness! Do you have a specific method for building the portrait and making sure all the proportions are right? Do you measure anything, or just go straight on?

James Gurney said...

David, I just drew the basic proportions and placement with a pencil first--no measuring really, just eyeballing. I was thinking of actually trying to caricature a little and "push" the uniqueness of his face. Then I just dove in with the highlights, light halftones, and shadows in successive stages of watercolor washes.

Unknown said...


Jana asked me what I wanted for Christmas...I would like to know what your traveling watercolor set is. I would like to try my hand at sketching in WC.That's what I want for Christmas!

blessings bro

James Gurney said...

Frank...that's a Schmincke Half Pan Watercolor Pocket Set. It's nice and small, with only 12 colors. I took some colors out and added others.

I clip the set to the facing page of the Moleskine watercolor book, and tape the water cup to the Schmincke pan, so the whole thing can be held in the left hand. I've had disasters where an untaped cup of water dumps all over the sketchbook.

Good luck, and I love your work.

Tim said...

I really like your portraits. I was also curious on how you build these quick studies. That is something I struggle with is proportions, likeness. Unless I spend a great deal of time. Maybe a quick video of start, middle & finish. I really enjoy your site. It was recomended by a professor of mine.Thanks.