Adventures in portraiture.

Hi everyone!

So, as I said in my last post, the Breaking Bad egg afforded me the opportunity to learn about how to paint portraits at that scale.  Portrait work has never been something I’ve been particularly good at, not even counting for the curvature and surface of an egg- I’ve never even been very good at it on paper, particularly when it comes to working from a photograph.

However, I learned that by simplifying the data in an image, I can very easily re-create it in the tiny scale I’m working at when painting on eggs.  Such a revelation!  It takes me a bit of filtering in photoshop to get the data simplified, but that’s still much faster than trying to take on all the data in a photo without any alteration.

The reason for the problem with an unaltered image is scale.  There’s just too many fine and subtle colors in a photo to have any hope of recreating them that small.  How do you get all of that data in on something that’s less than two inches square?  You can’t, and if you try, it gets to be a muddy mess anyway.

So by simplifying the information, you can just breeze through it, comparatively.  As a little tutorial in “how the hell do you do that?”  I’ll show you the process.

This is the original image:


Trying to paint all of this in the space I have would be nearly impossible for me to do (Im sure SOMEONE can do it but that someone is NOT me, so.)  What I did was crop the image to get out as much unnecessary information as possible.  I then made the photo black and white, and then, using several layers of varying transparencies, I filtered the resulting image using a cutout filter in photoshop.  This left me with this image:



To which I obviously have overlaid a grid pattern. Though using a grid is helpful at any time, in the case of eggs, which curve in two directions at once, it’s critical to help keep the various areas *mostly* in balance.  But as you can see, this image is significantly simplified.  The basic substance is still there, but it’s much easier to paint at a tiny scale (and bear in mind, the size at which you’re viewing it on your screen is much larger than that at which Im painting it.)

Using this method I can comparatively breeze through the active painting process.  So with that, here’s where  the egg is now:


I’ll be doing more work on it tonight, but I’ve made a fair pass at blocking in 1/3 of it.

More on this egg and the next one very soon!



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