In May I've started drawing portraits of Millennials, and enlisted my friends to pose for me. I am surprised how everyone jumps on board, curious to see how I see them. As I only sketch in person and then make the final with the help of a photo reference, they get surprised again and again as I report in with different takes on the portrait.
Janica is one of my expat London friends whom I've warmed up to quickly as we shared our love of food, travel and this city. We go on food adventures together and I never tire of seeing how wonderfully energetic she is. With almost a decade between us, we occupy different periods of the Millennial generation, but share the same relentless enthusiasm and thirst for the world.
She sat for me one day while we had coffee and I finished the sketch "in reverse" in charcoal. I knew immediately that the portrait will eventually be done in colour, as the dark monochrome medium wasn't corresponding to the bright person in front of me.
The next sketch I did was in Stabilo felt tips, since I liked how another sketch of a friend turned out. I was careful to keep it light but I've lost some of the form with using the darker pen sporadically. I've also corrected some likeness issues I didn't note in the live sketch. Seems like working from the photo helps me with resemblance, but the live sketching absolutely makes the feeling.
When it came to the final portrait, I've started off inspired by Nicholas Uribe's portrait drawings in two colour halves. As it always happen, inspiration only got me so far and soon the work took a life of its own. I've prepared three Stabilo felt tip colors, but ended up using them intermittently and blending them off eventually.
Continuing on my "portraits and clouds mostly" interest, I wanted to show her with the happiest, puffy clouds there are, ones that move fast and stretch far, like the Simpsons' clouds. Luckily I take enough sky photos daily to have a recent London reference at hand. I was very careful with the background not to get darker than the foreground figure, as I really want them all to have focus on the sitter's expression and everything else to be supportive of that.
I was happy with the end result and how different it is from what I usually do. It resembles portraits of people featured on a currency, and the overlap of colors gives it and interesting play. This gives me courage to jump into new techniques or use the one I'm I familiar with in a new way.