With time I came to the conclusion that it is hardly possible to do good quality work if the reference picture you’re working off is very small and lacks detail. From now on I would rather not use low resolution photos. It’s good that the picture of this little girl was taken outside and that there is a lot of natural light in it, though it is more difficult to define shadows on eyes, lips and facial features. I had to come up with a solution for how to make the portrait look good and still resemble the original photo. I decided to draw the full body length and only change a little bit of the background.
This portrait was going to be a birthday present. I asked my client, the grandpa of little cutie pie in the picture, if she likes any characters. He sent me a few pictures of Hello Kitty and little Peppa Pig. They looked cartoonish and I decided that it would be more natural if I found toys of the characters and add them to the scene.
Again, I realized how important it is to have proper clothes for a portrait. I like the blue skirt, it looks cute with little white hearts, but it took me almost two hours to draw all ruffles, folds and creases. The skirt is a bit over sized and instead of sitting on the waist, it is holding onto the hips, making her little body appear longer and her legs shorter. All of these elements are important. Sometimes I offer to combine different photos, so the face would be from one photo and outfit from another.
Again, this is only if lighting allows it, because if I try to draw shadows in different direction, the portrait will look strange. Sometimes the human eye picks up only tiny things that don’t feel natural, but we can’t always explain the reason. Anyway, when my client received this portrait, he was glad. He said that he wasn’t an artist, but really liked my work and was very thankful. When he showed the portrait to his family, everyone was delighted. For me it was another step towards a new experience.