Every summer for the past few years, I’ve found that my business tends to slow down in the summer months. I’m not the sort of person who takes well to sitting idle, so I’ve taken to giving myself ‘summer challenges’ to keep myself busy, to keep the creative juices flowing, to keep my skills from atrophying, and to take the opportunity to try out different styles that I normally don’t get called upon to use in my day to day assignments. On March 28 of this year, I set myself a goal of drawing a portrait of each and every one of my ‘facebook friends’ in a variety of styles. I kept the size consistent (4×6), and kept myself to ‘one a day’ so I wouldn’t get bogged down in overworking them. I also told myself that I would not ‘self edit’ myself, look back, or otherwise ‘redo’ illustrations that I wasn’t happy with (but I broke this rule, near the end). It took me 218 days to complete 201 portraits (not bad, considering I had to take some time off to care for my ailing father), and for the most part I’m fairly happy with how many of them turned out. I’ve stumbled upon a couple new styles that I may incorporate into my catalog, and gotten lots of practice with faces. I probably used specific photo reference for about 95% of the illustrations, and from time to time worked in a caricature style where several photos were used as a rough guide. Sometimes a particular ‘friend’ did not include a picture of themselves on their ‘facebook page’, so I did the best I could using whatever they had on their site that approximated a ‘face’. (you can click on the image above to see a larger ‘composite’)
At one time I had a comprehensive collection of all the portraits posted to a single site, but the link has gone dead, but if you wish to peruse a collection of some of the ‘best’ of the series, you can find a link in the menu bar above.
The last few portraits I finished up on October 31st, and they are as follows (and are pictured below): #201 Tracey (a friend from back in the days of our monthly ‘living room jams’, who doesn’t have a photo of themselves on their page, just this picture of a dog); and then I redid a few of the portraits from earlier this summer that I was unhappy with; #62 My cousin Amy; and #71 Peggy, a high school classmate.
Down to the wire on this ‘facebook portraits’ self imposed challenge, and here are #196 Kelly (former client and coworker of my wife), #197 Kevin (high school classmate), #198 Lynn (friend of a friend), #199 Micki (friend of a friend) and #200 Tim (photographer friend of a friend). (Plus I also redid #131 Shelley, since I have discovered that since my last visit to her page, that some actual photos of her had surfaced). Almost finished, and I’ll post the entire set of 201 portraits later this week, but I have one more to do, plus a trio of portraits that I’ve been itching to redo (I know I know, I said ‘no looking back’ at the start of this thing, but these three have been really bugging me, and if I’m honest with myself, I really want to go back and redo about half of the entire set, but I’m trying my best to hold back).
Getting near the end of the ‘facebook challenge’, and got a few more done today, after I finished up an illustration for the Chronicle in the morning (pictured at the bottom of the post, and the rough sketches are posted in yesterday’s posting). Today’s portraits are of #194 Frances, who is the wife of #112, and my cousin Mary, #195, (whose other siblings were: #29 & #30, #58 and #142).
Today, I finished up the series of spot illustrations for the Furman University Alumni Magazine (above, click on the image to see a larger version), plus did a series of rough concept sketches for an upcoming illustration for the Chronicle (pictured below).
And, trying to finish up this ‘facebook portraits’ challenge I set for myself (at this point, about 9 or 10 more to go), which I started back in April, and originally planned on being a ‘summer project’, but which has continued well into the fall season. Today’s two portraits are of my cousin Jerry (his father was #1 in the series, and I also did a few of his siblings, #54 and #62), and a local musician Joe (#190 and #191 for those who are keeping a scorecard).
Oh, and later, managed to find time for another portrait, #192, Kate, a former band-mate of #80.
… and another, this one is of a high school classmate, Keith (#193).
Been so busy lately, that the ‘facebook portraits’ project has fallen by the wayside, despite being so close to the finish line. So, on Sunday afternoon, got four done before I have to dive back into work on Monday. Here’s #186, #187, #188 & #189: Monica, Gabe, Max & Ed Sr. (Monica is husband to #34, Gabe is another local musician who I am only marginally acquainted with, Max is my Father’s cousin, and Ed Sr. is my Great Uncle and Father to #185)