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Old 06-03-2004, 09:30 PM   #1
Matthew Severson Matthew Severson is offline
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Enhancing Resource Photos




How often do you meet a problem where you are attempting to do a portrait of someone who is deceased, but lack a good resource?
I would like to do a portrait of my uncle as a gift to my cousin (his daughter). Shortly after her parents' divorce she was separated from her father only to re-unite with him years later when he was dying of cancer. This being a year since his death, I think it would be a fitting gift.

Is it possible to enhance mediocre photos to resource quality?

All the good photos of my uncle were taken in black and white, so this portrait would have to be a drawing, unless I can find a stand in.

Matthew
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:43 PM   #2
Matthew Severson Matthew Severson is offline
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This is the best resource photo of my uncle.
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Old 06-04-2004, 05:50 AM   #3
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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Phoro References

Hi Matthew -

I think this is a great photo reference! The light source looks like it is from one place, unlike many professionally done photos, and most of the details look clear and understandable.

Do you have access to Adobe Photoshop? Using that, you can enlarge, you can lighten to get a better look at details in the shadows. I have found it really helpful. If you don't have access, maybe someone online here who is better at using it than I am currently can help you. But if noone else volunteers, I'll be glad to give it a shot. I had one horrible reference photo for a drawing I mistakenly agreed to do for a friend. If it hadn't been for Photoshop, I would have been lost.

You're right about needing a stand-in for color work. Or using your stand-in to pose for color reference shots.
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Old 06-04-2004, 11:38 AM   #4
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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Matthew,

I think you've got all you need right here.

Last year I did a painting of myself (I was ten) from an old black and white photo. I did it on canvas using only black and white oil paint. I really liked the experience and the result. First of all, the lack of color did not cause any lack of visual impact. And boy, was it easier than color.

If anyone is trying to get their feet wet with oil paint I think this is a great way to begin.
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Old 06-04-2004, 11:38 AM   #5
Matthew Severson Matthew Severson is offline
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Quote:
I think this is a great photo reference! The light source looks like it is from one place, unlike many professionally done photos, and most of the details look clear and understandable.
You really think so? For some reason this reference never looked very inviting.

I dont have Adobe Photoshop, only Corel Drawing/Paint 10. Im sure if Adobe is needed I could get ahold of it.

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Old 06-04-2004, 01:28 PM   #6
Patricia Joyce Patricia Joyce is offline
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I can only speak as a novice, but given this photo I would grab it and run with graphite. There's some nice subtle gradation from lit to shadow. You should be able to represent form very well with graphite.

Go for it Matthew and definately post your drawing in critiques if you get stuck, the professionals here will guide you expertly and graciously. I hope to see your finished portrait as I think you have allot of talent. . .

Patty
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Old 06-04-2004, 02:43 PM   #7
Matthew Severson Matthew Severson is offline
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Im still trying to decide what style to do this portrait in, and my main question is: what size are pencil portraits usually done in?

Here is a 40 minute test drawing I did with only an HB.

I have to wait for a day where I have Pres. George Bush off my mind before I do the actual portrait *LAUGHS*
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Old 06-04-2004, 05:20 PM   #8
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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Drawing Size

Hi Matthew -

Everything I've read on this forum recommends going no bigger than a life-size head. You could certainly go smaller. I find it hard to get a good likeness when the head goes below 4 inches tall. But this is a personal decision.
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