J in Templehof

J in Templehof

When I was sketching my friend, her boyfriend sat next to her, two of them chatting with my boyfriend as I am generally non-verbal while working. My plan was to sketch everyone live before I draw them properly, but there was no time left.

I took plenty of photos of M but also of the two of them together. Without him knowing, I caught a loving smile out of J. I find it a smile of acceptance of what is right now, and of hopefulness as he gazes outward, into the future. I wanted to show them currently facing different outlooks, decidedly side by side, like those split-screens movies often do when two characters experience two opposite thing at the same time.

Since I haven't sketched him in person, I took two different approaches as I mapped out the profile. In the first graphite sketch I looked for surface and details, trying to remember the characteristics that make the person.

In the second, quick pen hatched sketch I went for simplest shapes to keep the proportions fresh in my head. Somehow I doubted my measurements of the chin and nose, wondering if my phone camera was distorting and playing tricks on me. That's why I want to always sketch in person where possible.

When I took to my pastels, I carefully made the portrait in "regular" marks, softening the surface as I go. I wanted to use the same clouds that were there that day, but not as hectic as in M's portrait. I've played with the pastels and settled on heavy, side-swept wide strokes. There is also a little more clear sky showing beneath the clouds in this piece. Perhaps a little literal, but serves the purpose in my opinion.

One thing I wanted this portrait to have in common with the first one were the poppies in the grass. With equally hectic marks, I'm connecting the ground behind them. Put side to side, I see I made his figure a little bigger.

My biggest takeout are that I should always sketch in person where possible and sketch out adjoining pieces simultaneously in the future.

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