Portrait in process: Han Solo

This article illustrates my creative process of making a Han Solo portrait. The work is done on a Canson toned paper sized A3 (42 x 29,7 cm) with Caran d’Ache’s Luminance color pencils.

First I tape the paper to a illlustration board with Scotch Magic tape and lay top of it  masking tape or painter’s tape. This method is important because otherwise masking tape will teal off the paper when removed. Also Scotch magic tape alone is not capable of holding the paper still while working  the portrait.

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Drawing accessories from top left: Masking tape, carpet knife, pencil extender. Left below: Scotch Removable Masking tape and a brush for cleaning rubber eraser dirt.
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Corner of the paper showing the wide masking tape. Beneath the masking tape is the Scotch removable magic tape.

I begin the work with sketching thin lines and trying to get the size of the character right. With Han Solo I used black pencil to draw the lines. In most cases I use grey color (Silver Grey 002) or light yellow (Primerose 242) to draw the lines. Line drawing took me about     2 and a half hours.Han_Solo_15_6After drawing the lines I started to underlay the skin tone with light yellow (Naples Ochre 821). Other light yellows I use at this stage are Brown Ochre 832 and Primerose 242. These colors have enough variation to accentuate highlights, half-tones and shadows. This phase took Me about three hours.Han_Solo_19_6In the  next phase I started ”tighten” the drawing and adjust Harrison Ford’s trademark facial features. For example the mouth was way too ”femine” and needed more width. I wanted to highlight/accentuate cheek bones, jaw and area surrounding the mouth to give the drawing more robust, almost three dimensional  feel to it. Also forehead needed some highlights and shadow to feel fully rounded instead of being flat.  This phase took me about three and a half hours.Han_Solo_22_6 After Han Solo’s face was completed I started working the bust area and the vest Solo is wearing. The vest is somewhat dull if only black pencil is used. I wanted to use complimentary colors to bring some vibrance to the vest. Skin is already yellow(ish) so a little bit of violet (Light Aubergine 095) fits nicely to the overall color scheme complimenting skin tone and adding highlight to the black vest. This phase took me about two and a half hours to complete.

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This is the final, fully completed portrait of Han Solo with carefully tuned, accurate colors as possible. The portrait took about  eleven hours to complete.
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