After I completed the new portrait of my kids back in February, I figured some people would enjoy it, particularly those who didn't know I'd been a graphic artist in a past life. It was fun, and felt good to get back to a craft that had been dormant for many years.
Well, to my surprise, I've since sold two pieces of artwork, and have more interest and potential work coming. In all my years of schooling and creating portraits, I'd never sold a single piece of art, until now. It's kind of blown my mind. One piece is a secret, and will remain so until sometime this summer (I know, I'm a tease). But the other one is an illustration for a book that has just been published:
The book is "The Long Dogs", written by Louisa Crook. One of my favorite authors to work with, Michele Pollock Dalton, got me involved with her, and it was so much fun to work on something that was different from what I usually do.
So, what I thought was an effort to simply dust off my Prismacolors and finish a one-off portrait has turned into much more. I've been buying art supplies like crazy, new paper, pens, markers, and other tools. I kind of want to try a little bit of everything, yet keep it somewhat within the realm of colored pencil and graphite.
One thing that caught my eye was this thing called hyperrealism. I hadn't heard of it, but it's essentially artwork that, frankly, doesn't look like artwork. You'd swear it was a photo. There are many examples of this online, and I've become quite intrigued by it. I've researched it quite a bit, and a lot of the new supplies I've procured will help me get to that level.
Ahh, but what a level it is. My drawing has always been good. Maybe really good in some cases, but not much above that level. I'm not trying to sell myself short. It's just a simple fact that in the last 20 years, I've only completed a dozen or so drawings. One can't improve much at that rate. I felt satisfied enough to be able to draw the kids in the same style that I had before.
But now, after seeing how far this can go.....I want more. More out of myself, I suppose. It's amazing how much enthusiasm I have for this all of a sudden. So, I'm on a mission to get better, push myself. To that end, I purchased a brand new set of graphite pencils and drew my eyeball:
It was my first attempt at "hyperrealism", and while I'm happy enough with the results, it definitely falls short of the goal. The main reason is that, while I was trying to take a picture that had some good lighting/shadow dynamics, I may have gone too far here. This is, essentially, the photo that I had to work with:
I think I got all the parts and pieces in there okay, but by itself, the eye is kind of floating a bit.....it probably would have been better if I'd lightened up the contrast in order to have more of the skin tone around the rest of my face. At least, I think so now that I'm done with this.
The new tools I'm using are going to open a whole new world in terms if detail. Smudge sticks, which allow me to blend in shading very efficiently. Eraser pencils, with which I create white hairs or otherwise lighter lines. And the new variety of graphite and mechanical pencils themselves, combined with paper that is heavier than anything I've worked with before, are combining to make these new artistic efforts more challenging and rewarding.
I already have plenty of new ideas in mind, and will always be working on something new!