Brady portrait: Age 4

Hey there folks! I’ve been facing sort of a debilitating hesitation with art ever since I got back from Spectrum a couple of weeks ago. Normally I draw something every single day, even if it’s only a batch of thumbnails or whatever, but since Spectrum I’ve been having some serious feelings of inadequacy and general uselessness, and it’s making it very hard to perform to my usual standard. It’s bleeding into my regular design work, as well.

So, in order to try and combat this malaise, I forced myself to crank this portrait out over the last two days. I usually paint a picture of my son every year to mark his progress and growth, but somehow I got hung up on work and studies last year and missed out on his 4-year-old portrait. This is me getting caught up. I’ll have to put together his 5yo portrait in another month or two.

I guess I’m happy with it overall. I tried to incorporate some of the feedback I got at Spectrum, namely keeping my backgrounds loose, but I don’t think I did it the way they intended. Rather than paint loose and tighten details later, I painted really tight and then blended the shit out of the background. I actually like the result I got toward the top of the image, but I think it falls apart a bit as it moves toward the mid ground.

I think I nailed my son’s likeness, which makes me happy. I cobbled together ref for the pic from several photos I took last year at the zoo, and some pics I took of our back yard and deck. For some reason, my wife doesn’t like it, but she can’t really explain why so I’m just going to leave it alone.

If you guys are so inclined, I could use some feedback from you. I enjoy the results I get from the painterly technique I’ve been learning and using the last 8-9 months, but my first art love has always been the more graphic look of comics (namely artists like Frank Cho and Adam Hughes) and the works of Alphonse Mucha, who pioneered the art nouveau movement. Conventional wisdom is that a painter should NEVER EVER EVER keep drawing lines within their work, but I really like the look I get by mixing comic-style linework with full-blown painting. I actually start most paintings with a fairly detailed K-line drawing anyway, then paint them out as I go. You can see them still showing on some of my pieces.

One piece of feedback that everyone gave me at Spectrum was the fact that my portfolio looks like 3 different artists drew it. With that in mind, I need to settle on a style. My question to you is this: What are your feelings on painterly vs. harder lines? I’d really like to know what you guys think.

Hope you enjoy!




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