Looking at a Piecemeal Portrait

June 21, 2017
The finished piecemeal portrait is on an 11.7 x 16.5 inch sheet of Hahnemühle Nostalgie.

I’ve been writing about my “piecemeal portraits” for a couple years now. Recently I took a couple process shots while I was making one from a photo inspiration on Sktchy. My photographs aren’t taken with lights and so the color is off, but you can still get the idea.

I’m working on setting up a photo station where I can take photos and video while I sketch so I can post tutorials.

Until that happens I thought you still might enjoy the process photos I do have.

At the left you can see the finished piecemeal portrait I’m going to write about today. I used an inspiration image from the Sktchy App. While artists own the image they create the photos are still owned by the “Muse” and I can’t publish it without permission. I never heard back when I requested permission. You’ll just have to understand this was a very lovely young woman who was pulling a really odd face that I couldn’t resist drawing. While in the app she posted that she liked the image, I can understand why someone that pretty might not want to have their name and photo  posted on a blog.

I used a brush pen because I wanted to work quickly. I worked on a piece of French Paper Speckletone, because it was out, leftover from my April 2017 IFJM Journal Project.

But as always happens with piecemeal portraits I started going off the page and so I add more paper. That’s why the central sketch ended up on a piece of Hahnemühle Nostalgie.

Why Do I Take These Process Images?

Well sometimes while I’m working I think that I’m on to something and I want to share it with my students. Any photos, regardless of lighting are better than nothing. But other times I like to take process shots because I want to save a record of a step for myself, but don’t want to take time to scan the image at that stage, or can’t do so without waking Dick up. (My studio is close to the bedroom and the scanner is a little loud. When I’m painting I often stay up late.)

If you would like to read more about my piecemeal process please use the search engine or the category list on this blog.

About Today’s Images and the Media

Bienfang brush pen and Montana Acrylic markers on Folio Printmaking paper in a handmade journal. Approximately 7.5 x 16 inches.

I love using a brush pen, but I don’t just like using black-ink brush pens. Bienfang makes a Watercolor brush pen that has pigmented “ink” in the barrel. The Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pen actually is lightfast.  Use the search engine to find other sketches I’ve made with this pen. It will give fun results even on non-watercolor paper. And the pen is a quick way to play with values.

At the left you can see a magenta brush pen used on printmaking paper that is not heavily sized. The ink sinks in more than it does in the linked example at the end of the previous paragraph. On the print making paper I wouldn’t try to push the ink around and dilute it with water. It’s still fun, it’s just a different approach.

In today’s piecemeal portrait I used a Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pen, magenta, just like the image at the left. I was also working on non-wet media paper. I knew I wasn’t going to use water on the ink. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t paint over it and if some dissolved a little into the paint…?

I created this portrait after a month of sketching very tightly. Once April ended I grabbed my brush pen and started sketching everything in sight. And I also got out my gouache paints. I loved working in the “tinting” fashion I did while doing my fake journal in April, but I was longing for the opportunity to push paint around and get out the acrylic markers.

In the images that follow you can see the progression of this piece. Once I started the painting of the hair I got lost in the painting and stopped taking process photos. If I can get around to making a painting stand with a camera attached eventually there will be more steps.

The final image in the gallery is the same image which starts this post.

Gallery of Steps in Today’s Piecemeal Portrait





    • Tyanne Agle
    • June 28, 2017

    Roz, I am curious about the use of washi tape and then just completly covering it up. On my screen it has disappeared in the final portrait. Does it still show through in real life, or did you not like it so cover it up or…?

    1. Reply

      I think it’s just your screen Tyanne, because I’m looking at mine right now and I can clearly see the petal pattern in the tape emerging around her head and down in her dress, not so visible on the sides once her hair starts.

      The point is that some of it gets completely covered and other bits don’t and it sort of emerges which I think is fun. Also it changes the surface as you work across it so that means you have to adjust how you paint and I think that’s a lot of fun too.

      Sometimes there are parts that are totally visible, other times not.
      is an example of not being very visible. That image in that post is a detail from a large beagle portrait I painting. (The image doesn’t enlarge because it’s a pre-2017 post. But even so if you look in the bottom right you’ll see under the white paint an upside down Y and lower near the corner an H. But you can also see the edge of the tape running down the image on the right, through the side of the nose. I like that.

      It’s just something I like to play with and there really isn’t much to understand about it.

      Oh, here’s one that you can click on for enlargement and it will be very visible in the entire rectangle around his face. I just love the way the tape emerges.

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