digital portrait

Since I bought a lot of Adobe products about two years ago and then never touched them, I thought I should probably get some use out of the 2,000 dollars worth of software chilling on my computer.  So, I did my first digital painting.

I spent 8 straight hours on it the first day and then several hours over the course of the next several days.  I didn’t really keep track of total hours put into it but I’m guessing it took close to 20-30 hours.  Eventually, I stopped.  Not because I was done but because I wasn’t sure what else I could do to improve it.  I feel like I never finish a work because there’s always improvements to make but I’m not at the skill level I need to be to actually make those improvements so I usually just stop before I make it worse by trying to “fix” it.

Here’s the reference picture:

And here’s my “interpretation” of the picture.

I use the word “interpretation” as a way to say I can’t get the picture to look photo-realistic and this is the best I can do.  But this is my first digital painting/drawing in Photoshop and one of the first pieces of art I’ve done in around 3 years so I’m rusty.

If you stand back and squint, it doesn’t look too bad!  But the best part is I tweeted Sia the picture I created for her and she actually responded.  I fanboy-ed for a second but then regained my composure.  But how cool is that?  I know she’s not a huge mega celebrity but it’s not even about that.  I’ve been a fan of hers for years and some of my favorite songs in the world belong to her so just the fact that she, as a person and not a celebrity, acknowledged me is pretty awesome.

Working on the picture was fun.  In some ways it was relaxing the way drawing used to be for me.  In other ways, it was frustrating because I couldn’t get the tone of her skin or hair texture correct.  But maybe it doesn’t even have to be about all of that.  It’s just about creation, expression, admiration.

I want to do more.  I’m just not sure I have it in me.  I half-started another portrait and realized it didn’t look nearly as good as this one.  But I’m also a very impatient person and I expected the second portrait to look like this one in about ten minutes.  I just need to take it low and slow and stop expecting perfection.  I should expect relaxation.  I’ve got to remember that’s why I liked drawing in the first place.  Before my head and insecurities took over.

I also started a zombie picture before Sia but I never finished it.  It’s a bit more intensive.  Who knew glistening guts were so hard to paint?  Well, now I do.  Maybe I will finish it one day and share that one, too.

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