This week I though it’s been a while since I have done portraits, so I decided to chose a good subject, the TV series Game of Thrones. The characters are very interesting and have fascinating depth. I thought it would be fun to try to convey my understanding of the characters through expression.
For this series, I used Higgins permanent ink and Brause nibs. About 4 different nib sizes and my usual Stillman and Birn notebook, Zeta Series, excellent for ink!
I chose the first characters randomly and I enjoyed myself so much that I kept going for about three days, completing several portraits. This is the first set of the week. Each took me about 30 min.
My general process is the following:
First it’s the proportions and marks to set the placement of the features. Once that was resolved, I did a brief inking process with the finest point, and decide on the focal point, usually it’s the eyes. The eyes and mouth are the main keys to resolve any portrait, yet every face has a distinct feature that no one else has, like a fingerprint, my goal is always to discover what makes this face unique, and then exaggerate that slightly to get the likeness. I also chose an emotion that I see is recurrent to that character.
I have done portraits for over 20 years; it is in fact my favorite subject. Facial features fascinate me, and I have discovered so much in the process of drawing them. The face is asymmetric, as we tend to do gestures with one half of the face more often than the other, this creates lines of expression that, with the years, become permanent. Half of the face has a sweeter expression than the other half. If two pictures were composed of two reflected halves from each side of the face we would see almost an entirely different person in some cases.
I keep this in mind when I draw portraits. My trick is to exaggerate that difference to get the resemblance, observing what is unique.
Actor Jason Momoa is an exception. He has an outstandingly symmetrical face. That was very interesting to me. Since I couldn’t do my usual approach I had to stop and analyzed what made his face unique. Undoubtedly he had striking features. I focused on the eyes. A very distinct shape and expression.
I started by drawing him from a high resolution photograph where I could see good detail. The facial hair that his character wears on the TV series Game of Thrones made it difficult to see the jaw line and the shape of the face clearly; I decided to transform this drawing into Khal Drogo on my own, based on several images.
In the first sketch you can see the completed sketch off the photo and the following sketch shows the final drawing where I gave myself artistic freedom to add what was needed so he could look like the character he portrays.
Surface: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish
The drawing was done on a Beta Series Notebook, wire-bound, 9″ x 12″. I always use heavy stock as I can have the option to add watercolor if I wanted to.
The paper is white yet the images were taken under a yellowish light and it looks like colored paper, but it’s not, yet, I liked how it looked.
I used permanent ink, again, just in case if I wanted to add watercolor. I always use permanent ink so it won’t run.
In the series of portraits of this particular TV show I was consistent using the same media, same paper, ink, and fine flexible nib with a short holder.
My favorite series are the Beta and Zeta, the Zeta I use when I work solely in ink; the Beta series have the extra tooth that work really well with water media without warping. This portrait was heavy on the ink, the Zeta could have take it, but I still may turn this into watercolor renderings at some point.
I made portraits of other characters as well that can be seen in my blog noted below.
Khal Drogo before and after