Let it be known that I love portraits. I love looking at portraits. I love painting portraits. I love faces, all kinds of faces. Putting the essence of a character into one picture is so challenging and sooo much fun.
I don't succeed all the time. But it is really fun to try.
So when the internal critic piped up several years ago, saying, 'hey, you need more, um, gender variety, in your portfolio, hun.' I came up with the idea for this image.
Yes, I do listen to her sometimes, thought it obviously takes a while.
So, I have been meaning to get to this idea for years. Literally.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not running out of ideas. I could spend the next 5 years, probably, just working through all the ideas I have in my sketchbooks. And my schedule would be completely full.
But this idea was special. It kept coming up, I kept thinking about it. I don't know why. Either way it fit right in with this Inktober's theme.
I think the vampire/werewolf thing has started to die down (finally). But back when it was a thing, I started looking around and all the stories were so similar. And that bothered me, mainly because it was so boring and really, vampires and werewolves should never be boring. And while vampires were too, I don't know, kinky, whichever way you looked at them ( I mean really, blood, biting, nighttime rendezvous, I'm no psychologist or lit-major, but my archetypal recognition is pretty keen and come on), but werewolves - people who were animals and subject to their primal, basic impulses and may or may not be in control of themselves? I was all over that.
One day I started researching werewolf myths and trying to find something about where they all started and I hit the jackpot. In some obscure website (that I cannot find now) I read something about men being cursed by God to live as wolves for some number of years. At the end of that time, one of the archangels would go down to hell for this pre-arranged fight the devil ( I have no idea why). And when he called, these wolves were supposed to answer and if they fought well, they were forgiven for their sins and became men again.
I cannot tell you how many stories that idea spawned.
But this idea of this cursed man, repentant for some crime and preparing for some huge battle in hell was the idea behind this character. He's dangerous, he's literally become his own dark side and he has to somehow either fight to retain his humanity in some way all the while knowing that at some point in time he has to be part of this heavenly army going down into the pit for some kind of battle with demons.
I had the idea for this sketched out. Most of the reference has been languishing in my "paintings I want to get to someday" folder. I just had to resolve a few things with the tattoos and the background.
But by the time I finished all that, I had a pretty tight sketch. The original was to use Strathmore toned multi-media paper, but it was too thick for my light box to handle and I was feeling pressured and behind schedule. So I just printed the sketch out on Strathmore toned drawing paper and just accepted that whatever happened, happened.
After I printed the sketch out, I touched up the drawing where needed. Then I established some basic values with watered down Payne's grey ink.
This thinner toned paper is not meant for multiple layers.
Part of my problem with doing toned sketches on this paper is that the paper gets darker when it's wet, so you can't judge the true value of the tone you're putting down till it's dry.
I like punishing myself.
I always start these things with the intention of keeping the values simple. And then I start noodling.
Sigh. And then I lost it. So I turned to my trusty Prismacolors to save me. Typical. The nice thing is that this is very close to how I work with watercolors, which just means I got more practice in. I'm okay with that.
Overall, I really like the sketch, I might have to revisit this as more of a finished piece.
Some problems that I had:
1. I was in a rush and didn't check the anatomy/composition of the sketch before I printed it.
2. I think there's some distortion in the face that needs to be addressed. I'm also mot a huge fan now of the different tattoos on each arm. Something isn't balanced there