People have said that I have a "knack" for drawing portraits. I don't necessarily agree with that. I think I have a knack for caricaturing features. You see, when I draw a portrait of someone I might know to see but not really know on a day-to-day basis, like a movie star or singer, I tend to generalize and just try and slightly caricature their features. This usually make people say "wow.. Looks just like them" when in reality... Probably not so much.. This is why it has always been challenging for me to do portraits of people that I do know in my day-to-day life. No amount of caricature can convince someone that the drawing looks like the person I'm drawing unless I've captured their personality in it in some way. That's always been hard for me.. Personality in a drawing?!! Sure.. Give me a big fat pencil or a colerase and I'll doodle you up a cartoon with some personality.. Personality and likeness.... EEEKKK!!
This is a drawing I did of my wife's grandmother who passed away recently. Anita Beaton.. Nanny Beat as we called her.. And with it I faced this exact challenge. I knew what she looked like from every angle. I knew her personality.. And... I knew when I wasn't getting that in my drawing. And I wanted it. I wanted this drawing to be her personality. I had started this and pretty much abandoned it for that exact reason. It sat at that pencil stage for quite a while. Then we found out that the community center that she volunteered at was going to have a little "something" in her honor and they wanted a picture to hang in the hall. My wife thought this would be the perfect time for me to finish this drawing. So I struggled through "finishing" it. I put that in quotes because I wasn't so sure whether or not it was finished. Then my wife did a little photoshop magic on it fine tuning the levels and making it sepia tone.
I'm not sure I captured what I wanted to with it. Or maybe I did and I just can't see it. I guess I won't really know if I captured it until I get the family's reaction. And really... When you get down to it.. That's all that really matters when you're doing a portrait of someone, for someone.. How they fell about it. How I feel about it is moot. If they're happy then that's all I could hope for.
This one was for you Nanny Beat.. I hope you like it..