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Anthony Rizzo Portrait Day 2

Anthony Rizzo: A Portrait from Start to Finish – Part 2!

Ready for part 2?  Good.  I was hoping you were.  And if you’re not…well, too bad, you’re getting it anyway!  Ha.  The other day I posted my “day 1” (which was actually like…a day and a half-ish) progress of my Anthony Rizzo colored pencil portrait.  If you haven’t been following along so far, check this out first, and then come back here.  Yeah? Yeah. Cool 🙂

At the end of my first day of work, we left off here:

We conquered the basics of the face, the hair, and started adding in some of the blue…to make sure Mr. Rizzo didn’t look like he was a funny color.  That’s the hardest part for me, but it’s also a lot of fun.  Frustrating sometimes, sure, but it’s fun.  So let’s move on to day 2.

Anthony Rizzo: Full Color Portrait –

Supplies Used:

Step 4 – Work from the inside out:

Once I had the colors around the face pretty nailed down, I started to work on the jersey, letters & numbers.  Even though the jersey is the “road gray” color, I could see that in this photo in particular, it had kind of a blue undertone.  So I started with a powder blue color, just to get a base down.  And you know what, it looked right.  So I built on top of that – you can see some of the markings I made for the wrinkles start to show up through the blue, and that’s exactly what I want.  I colored the “RIZZO” letters in a blue that’s a little bit darker and less vivid than the helmet blue – and I did the same with the belt.  The red numbers got their base color down, and from here, I just adjusted lines and edges until I felt like it looked right.  Fun fact, until you add the wrinkles and folds of the clothing, this photo kind of makes Anthony Rizzo look like a larger human than necessary.  Anyway, here’s what it looks like when all of the “base colors” are down on the paper:

Step 5 – Layers upon Layers:

I didn’t want Rizzo to look like a pudge for very long, so I started adding the details of the wrinkles and adding a little bit of depth to the belt and the rest of his clothing.  I chose a dark gray color for a lot of the deeper wrinkles, and I chose a French Gray, which has a brownish undertone, for some of the lighter wrinkles.  Little by little, I started to make some lines and shaded areas to start building the jersey to look like, well, a jersey.  Depth is important.  The wrinkles are important.  This is where my pieces start to go from “really simple” to “hey that kind of looks real.”  It’s time consuming and tedious, but it’s part of what I do that makes things actually look realistic.

Step 6 – Keep at it until it’s RIGHT:

After the guidelines for the wrinkles and folds are set, that’s when I get actually start adding them.  I stuck with that French Gray color (the one that’s a little bit brown) because I found that when it’s done on top of that light blue, it actually made it look the right shade of gray, instead of a weird “blue black” color if I tried to use a regular “cool gray” or even lightly use a black or charcoal color.  It’s weird how colors work.  Now of course I’m not a color expert by any means, but you try things and you learn as you go.  I happened to really like how this worked on the first shot, so I stuck with it.  I added the shading to his back to make things really start to look realistic – the sun isn’t hitting his back, so I had to make sure the shadows were there.  Of course, the lines right now are very crisp – but keep in mind that I haven’t done ANY blending yet.  We’re still building!

Step 7- Add the bat:

Up until now, it looked like Rizzo was just hanging out with his arms over his head.  Invisible celebration?  Speedbag practice?  Who knows.  So…it was time to add the bat.  “Ahhh, he’s a baseball player, I get it…there’s a bat in his hands!”   The bat is harder than you’d think.  You’d expect to get to it, do a little shading, add a highlight or two, and be done with it.  But no.  Of course his name is on the bat, along with a logo, and they’re both in small writing.  Damn.  So it was time to get the points for these babies ultra sharp.  I detailed my little butt off on those letters, and they’re still not totally done…but that comes later.  The bat had two prominent colors: the blue and the blue-black.  So putting those two next to each other, I left a little bit of white between them.  After the blending and once we get to the end, I’ll hit that with a white pencil, but for now, it’s just empty space.  Now I know the bottom of the bat looks a little crooked, but again, that’s detail that will be fixed at the end.

Step 8 – The first blend!:

Blending is the best part!  It’s where your colors really start to POP and flow together to show you what it looks like in the end.  I use the Prismacolor Colorless Blender pencil, but there are tons of other options.  With my graphite sketches, I can blend with a cotton swab, a Kleenex, or a paper blender, but colored pencil is different.  It’s waxy, so you have to use something to blend it that will blend the wax.  So these blender pencils are a godsend.  So much easier than doing excessive layering and wasting pencil!  I started blending the skin and the helmet.  Why?  Well first because I drew them first, but really because that’s the foundation to the whole thing.  I wanted to make sure that looked right.  You’ll see that the blue colors are even more vivid now, and I’m starting to notice that his face may need a little more pink tone to it around the cheekbones and ear/neck area.  That’s why we blend.  We see the “final” colors start to show.  By starting here, it also gives me an idea of how dark the wrinkles and folds should be – and if I should add more.  With how bright this blue became after blending, I realized I did need a few more wrinkles and a little more depth added to the ones I already have.

Step 9 – Adjust, adjust, adjust…and blend:

See how much better it looks when I added a little bit more depth to the jersey?  You can actually see that there are wrinkles and folds – and yay!  Anthony Rizzo doesn’t look chubby anymore!  He looks like the solid kid he is.  That’s what I wanted.  Yay!  After adding those extra shaded areas and after darkening the ones I already created – I went ahead and used that blender pencil to blend them out.   NOW we’re talking!  I went ahead and blended everything I have so far: the skin, the helmet, the jersey, the belt/pants, and the bat.  I figured after that, this was a good place to stop for a little bit.  Brain was tired. So after two-ish days of work, here’s where we are.  And I know it looks “so close to finished,” but trust me – there’s still a LOT of work to be done!

Rizzo portrait after 2 days work

The next step for me will be deciding on and drafting a background.  I can’t just leave it stark white!  That would be silly!  Plus, having a good background makes the colors look so nice – I just have to figure out what I want to do!  In the next few days, I’ll take care of that!

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