Saturday, October 22, 2011

Progress: Matt Smith

If you're interested in Dr Who, you might remember my saying that I had plans to do a portrait of Matt Smith back when I did this silly little sketch. This was partly because I'd previously done three other Doctors, and partly because I was going to be demonstrating portraiture at the Kelmscott Annual Show and wanted someone more in the popular consciousness than a 30s film star. 

I'm quite picky when it comes to references for specific characters (as opposed to just people) and rarely go with promotional photographs. I prefer screenshots, so I went through a number of episodes from Series 5 until I found one I liked. I also gathered other references, which I printed out, as the laptop I usually use for my references was not going to be with me while demonstrating. Working from a screenshot (especially a printed screenshot) means the reference isn't very clear, so high-quality pics of the same person are a great help. 

The gridded black and white reference (which I was enlarging from A4 to A3) is a mixture of three shots. The Doctor from "Cold Blood", a promotional shot of David Tennant looking out of the Tardis door (sans Tennant) and a promotional shot of the inside of the series 5 Tardis. I slapped them together rather haphazardly in Photoshop, so I knew what I was doing.

I sketched everything out and started with one eye on Thursday, just so that I wouldn't be starting cold, and people wouldn't be faced with what, from a bit of a distance, looked just like a blank piece of paper. Then I left it alone until today, when I demonstrated all day, starting at 11am, and stopping only for lunch and tea, until 8.30pm. It wasn't quite solid work, as naturally I talked to a lot of people.

And here is the result so far:

It's a bit wonky still; I was without my clear laptop-references, without my nice desk lamp, or any sort of directed light, and stopping and starting all the time. But all things considered, I think it's coming along pretty well.

I'm demonstrating at a different Show tomorrow, but haven't decided whether it would be best to continue with Matt Smith or revert to an old half-completed Myrna Loy or Clara Bow, which have been languishing in my sketchbook for ages. I'll see how it goes. 

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