Friday, May 25, 2012

Painting from a Black and White Photo

Recently, I finished a private commission for the Sweetland Family which was a portrait of Mr. Sweetland's father who served as an aircraft Mechanic during the 2nd world war. This is actually part 2 of a series of paintings that I have done for the family, the first being a portrait of the other family member who served in the Canadian Army during the first word war. So, when the client approached me for this second piece, I was already familiar with them and they with me which made the process much easier and more fluid. This Blog post is my attempt at explaining my process on how I was able to translate a black and white photo into a finished illustration based upon my clients request. Initially, the client came to me with a couple of old photos and asked that I paint a portrait of the individual which would tell the story of his wartime service. 3 Photos
Cropped and enlarged photo that I ended up using.
That was it. Through a couple of meetings with the client I was able to establish more about his character, that he was an engine mechanic in the RAF during the war before he emigrated to Canada. Armed with that information, I created a couple of thumbnail comps which I then showed to the client to represent my ideas for this piece. After a bit if deliberation, the client settled on comp #2 and I then moved forward with the painting.
The first piece in this series was executed almost 8 years ago in gouache on 18"x20" Arches Water color paper. This time around, I wanted the piece to be of the same dimensions to match yet I now work almost exclusively digitally which meant that the final image was going to be printed, most likely on canvas. Pencils:A drawing of the main figure
Flats: Knocking in some basic color to help me get my bearings
Adding in Other Compositional Elements. Just for you WW2 buffs out there, you might recognize the Lancaster Bomber and the Merlin Engine.
Modelling The Bomber
Detailing the Bomber and modelling the forms on the Engine and Main Character
Modelling the Main Character's portrait and more detailing
Final Version:
Close up of head and Bomber Nose.
Once the piece was completed, I accompanied the client to a local digital printer and we got the image printed on Canvas. All together I'd say I spent about 30 hours or so on this piece. If you have any questions or comments on how I completed this image, please feel free to make a comment below. Thanks for stopping by. Here's an image of the image in it's new home and another satisfied client.

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