January 16, 2024

David Lynch vector portrait

This vector portrait of film maker, painter, actor, visual artist and musician David Lynch, who has become renown by his movies - The Elephant man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart, Dune, Lost Highway and Inland Empire. He probably has become most famous by cowriting and directing the intriguing TV-series Twin Peaks. All his cinematic work has a surrealistic touch, which is a clue to his knowledge and mindset that goes far beyond and above those of common people. This vector portrait was created in Affinity Designer and at this point - January 2024 - still is a work in progress. At the bottom is the oldest phase and the most recent stage is at the top. On PC and Mac desktops click the images to view them in Google's Lightbox, that also allows to scroll through the various stages. On mobile devices this scrolling option sadly is unavailable.

In Affinity Designer there are what Serif calls 'Vector Brushes' that actually are based on bitmap images. So, this in fact is not a 100% vector portrait. Users can draw these brushes themselves in vector format, that are exported as png-files. For almost every 'vector' portrait, drawing specific brushes have to be created, since no hair strand or pore texture in a person's face are the same. To such brushes Gradient Fills and Gradient Transparency effects are applied and sometimes they are Duplicated using Filters (below the Layers panel) that in some cases are offset, re-sized, skewed or mesh warped a little. In a number of cases it helps to apply the 3D lighting effect - highlights and outer shadows - to these brushes too. In the Gradient Tool there is an option to use bitmaps as the fill, which also is useful to achieve the desired effect. To these type of fills the same effects can be applied as used to manipulate the Vector Brush strokes.

I dusted off my old trusty Huion 610 Pro graphic tablet to draw some of the hair strands, which is suited to do part of the job using self designed brush textures (that technically are not real vectors). In vector drawing programs, like Affinity Designer, it is a challenge to navigate and keep oversight on the ton of Layers that are created when drawing portraits. Assigning names to the key layers and grouping the in categories is necessary to prevent getting lost in a plethora of objects.