July 22, 2017

Willie Nelson - digital portrait

I used slightly different techniques for this portrait than for the previous one. I will explain them once I have become more experienced in creating digital portraits. Until now I am mostly experimenting. I selected Nelson because he has an interesting head and a matching personality. I don't like smooth faces; they're no challenge to paint. I always try to put an emphasis on the main features of the subject's face, which leads to differences from the reference material, without losing the person's likeness. Typical facial features are subtly exaggerated. As usual, the oldest stage on the bottom and newest one on top.

Tip for desktop computer users: click on one of the images, which will lead you to the Blogger Lightbox. Use the mouse scroll wheel to switch between the various stages, so that you can see the differences between them.







Intermediate color test 01
































July 3, 2017

Al Pacino


This is the sequence of the portrait containing date and time of each shot. Oldest at the bottom, newest on top. Tools: Corel PhotoPaint & Huion H610PRO graphic tablet. Most detailing done with mouse. I will discusss into detail the techniques used to create this portrait in an other blog entry. Perhaps I must try Corel Painter one day as well.

There is something interesting about Pacino's face. As you may know the right side of the body - including the face - is controlled by the left brain and vice versa. If you vertically cover one half of his face you see two totally different expressions and even tissue texture. The left side of the face, controlled by the left brain hemisphere, is calm and shows relatively smooth skin tissue (relatively low muscle tension = relaxed), while the left side of his face reflects a very investigative gaze and displays more muscular tension, suggesting higher tenseness.

To see the difference between stages, click on the top image and you'll jump to the Blogger Lightbox. Then use the scroll wheel of the mouse to quickly browse through the sequential stage images.



AP July 18 2017 13:07 - head is completed






AP July 17 2017 22:05 - Texture detailing & ears






AP July 17 2017 12:33 - detailing texture left cheek






AP July 16 2017 20:30 - colored version






AP July 16 2017 20:30. Did some more detailing on the base layer.






AP 4x July 15 2017 15:11 - color tests





AP July 15 2017 12:02 - Further detailing textures





AP July 15 2017 00:49 - texturing upper cheeks





AP July 14 2017 03:13 - Updated face textures





AP July 12 2017 17:11 - Forehead texture & color test





AP July 12 2017 01:33 - color test





AP July 11 2017 14:20






AP July 10 2017 23:17






AP July 10 2017 (after computer crashed) 14:07






AP July 07 2017 23:00 






AP July 07 2017 19:43 







AP July 07 2017 17:10 







AP July 06 2017 13:47 






AP July 05 2017 19:54   






AP July 04 2017 15:30






AP July 04 2017 11:27





AP July 04 2017 00:21






AP July 03 2017 17:00




AP July 03 2017 13:30




AP July 02 2017 11:40




AP July 03 2017 09:00




May 9, 2017

Freehand airbrush portrait of Johan Cruijff

After a long time of not having touched an airbrush, I took up the tool again to make yet an other portrait of Johan Cruijff. He was one of soccer's all time great players along with Pele, Maradona and Messi. Off the pitch he was a warm blooded man, who was moved when seeing a disabled child playing near a swimming pool. In that moment he decided to help common young people and the disabled in particular. In my mind that sets him apart from many of his glamour seeking peers. Cruijff looked past the boundaries of the world of top level soccer and saw human beings who were in need of a little help that they were unable to obtain anywhere else.

Remarkable things happened during the airbrushing of this portrait. When I planned to set up the portrait, which is drawing the image of his face onto a blank canvas frame, I picked up my cellphone to see what time it was. It read: 00:14 hours. 14 is the number that Cruijff wore on his shirt... Two day later my daughter sms-ed me, I picked up my phone and it was 14:14 hours... This blew me away. I often have such synchronicities when creating portraits, but I felt in this case they were extraordinarily strong and clear. I suspect some artists to have had similar experiences.

Below you see a sequence of various stages of the portrait; the oldest at the bottom, the newest on top. I used the Iwata HP-BH and Custom Micron SB airbrushes and Inspire H2O paint. The original photo was a black and white picture and I decided to spray the portrait in monochrome, since the visual impact of the image was powerful, beautifully expressing Cruijff's mindset. At this point - May 9 2017 - it is a work in progress, advancing quite slow since I am having lower back discomfort. I will post significant updates when ready. Stay tuned and please be patient.
























May 5, 2017

Digital cartoons

Apart from analog airbrushing, I create digital artwork on my Huion graphic tablet from time to time. The advantage over crafting analog art is that digital tools have an undo function and allows to work in layers. It is also possible to apply filters with which the appearance of objects can be changed at will. These properties are hue, color, contrast, brightness and texture while a range of other manipulation tools can be used as well.

The programs I use are the Adobe and Corel suits of which both the vector and bitmap applications I use. They are increasingly integrated, which allows to combine organic shapes with geometric forms. Making cartoons is a somewhat tricky business, not unlike making portraits, but there's a twist to it. While exaggerating certain facial features and reducing other ones, the likeness to the subject's appearance has to be preserved. Depending on the character this is at times a thin rope walk.


Dutch TV presenter Sierd de Vos


The cartoon above is one of a Dutch TV presenter who specializes in Spanish soccer, the Primera Division. He has a unique way of reporting that often is hilarious, giving all sorts of background information about the players, their girlfriends and / or wives and local restaurants in Barcelona or Madrid during the match. Although some think he should restrict himself to talking about what is taking place on the pitch, the humorous anecdotes he weaves in his accounts, caused him to gain a rather large number of fans, which resulted in him being awarded a TV program of his own by the broadcasting company.


Regular guest in a Dutch TV show Johan Derksen


One of the persons who thinks he wanders off too much while reporting a soccer match is an other Dutch TV presenter, who is a regular guest in an other program that focuses on football. This program is well known in Holland for casual football related talk as is often encountered in the pub before and after the matches among supporters. An attempt to a cartoon of this man you see above this paragraph. He has taken grumpiness to a different level, never worrying about political correctness or consensus. It got him onto trouble a few times, but that didn't bother him too much either.

Second regular guest in the soccer show is Rene van der Gijp


The second regular guest in the soccer show is an ex top player, who could have gotten more out of his career is he had put his talent to proper use. His urge to clown and do whatever he felt like won the battle. He can nevertheless look back on a reasonable record. He tends to solve tense situations with a humorous response that disarms whoever tries to escalate matters. This talent lets him get away with saying things that other people would probably be wise to keep inside. The soccer show is one of Hollands most watched TV program.


Dutch TV football talkshow host Wilfred Genee


The TV show referred to above, is hosted by the bloke you see above. In view of the guests he has on the show this isn't always an easy task, since the regulars are at times unguided missiles that blurt anything that pops up in their minds, unrestricted by what is commonly regarded as civilized conversation. He also appears in radio shows in which he is allowed to take part in discussions not related to football, which he does quite well too, casually switching from surprisingly in-depth remarks to witty nonsensical rants.

Ajax Amsterdam coach Peter Bosz


Finally, yet an other football related cartoon is one of Ajax Amsterdam coach Peter Bosz who managed to transform their game from numbing to exciting within less than one season. Quite an achievement, since his predecessor Frank de Boer won four Dutch league championships and as a result was granted sainthood by the fans, even though Ajax' play was rough on the eyeballs. Moreover, Bosz has a past in Ajax' mortal enemy camp Feyenoord. Many fans initially weren't pleased with that at all, but Bosz simply ignored that and went on to teach Ajax his game of continuous pressure and attacking style.

He made Ajax return to playing the type of football that gained the team worldwide acclaim. They made it to the semi final of the Europe League this year, which hasn't happened in 16 years. If they survive the away match against Lyon they may even make it to the final... So kudos to him for that.

In the cartoons I tried several different techniques, in attempt to find the best way to make them. As those who use digital programs know there are many ways to achieve certain effects. Other cartoons I made (digital and analog), can be found in the cartoon section of this blog-site to which you find a link in the navigation bar at the top of each page.



August 23, 2016

An other Andre Hazes portrait

Andre Hazes probably was one of the greatest Dutch ballad singers ever. Unfortunately he moved to more endearing venues, leaving his fans with an unforgettable legacy. I usually listen to Buckethead, Metallica or Earthtone 9, that sort of stuff, but I am moved by Hazes' voice. He was one of those rare talents that enter this dimension once every century or so; spirits that become artists who transcend partitions humankind stubbornly clings to. This is a freehand airbrush portrait that started out as a drawing and gradually evolved into a realistic portrait that preserved its pencil like fibre.

Controlled spattering
Toward the end controlled spattering (with the Iwata Custom SB) was done; turn pressure very low, just enough to push the paint out. Use undiluted paint (Inspire H2O acrylics), pull the trigger back all the way and release it. Repeat this rapidly, like tick, tick, tick - as fast as you read this. Start with Black Smoke, then very carefully and sparsely Base Black and finally Base White. If spattering turns out not like you want it, immediately hit the spot on the paper with the side of your hand or a tissue to remove the paint from the paper. That also works to soften the spattering, decrease its intensity. The low pressure and viscous undiluted paint will clog the airbrush (Iwata Custom SB) quite fast! So it's probably wise to clean your brush often and thoroughly in between colour changes or refills.  I may make a Youtube clip of this technique some time.

Oldest stage at the bottom, newest on top as always.


Virtually framed in Rhonoceros 3D v5