So this is a piece I have spent countless hours on! I think I've been working on this one for close to two months. A while back I saw a really cool photo of Heath Ledger as the Joker where half of him was in make up, and the other half was his actual face. I really liked the idea of having a piece where one person is split down the center (in fact three years ago I did a stylized self portrait based off of that idea!) I decided that instead of doing the Joker, I would go with a Hero for this piece, and play off of the theme that everyone has a hero inside of them. Now I'm a diehard DC Comics fan, but I decided to go with Captain America for this piece, mainly because I felt that Steve Rogers was a good example of someone who really embodied this concept.
The first thing I did was go to Photoshop and make a SUPER rough mockup of the concept I had in mind. I decided to go with the current movie version of Captain America, as I felt that it would be a version of the Captain that most people would recognize. I actually had a hard time finding a good front facing shot of the Captain, so I had to combine a few images to make the mockup. Next I found a picture of Chris Evans, who portrays Captain America to use as reference for the Steve Rogers side of the piece.
Now that I had my mockup, the next step was to sketch out the piece. I have the problem that most things I draw are stylized and slightly cartoon-esque, which I didn't want to happen with this piece. With that in mind I decided to try a technique that I normally don't use, which is using a grid to sketch. I placed a grid over my reference image and then a grid on my blank canvass in order to the sketch to resemble the original photo. I was pleasantly surprised with the result, and I think that I will be using this technique for portraits more often.
Now that I had my sketch the way I wanted it, all that was left was to paint. As I said before I wanted to try and avoid a stylized work, so I had to make sure that no line art was involved. I found a fantastic tutorial on portrait painting by Roger Fletcher which really helped out with the painting process. Finally the final steps were to add the text I wanted to use and then figure out a background. I decided to go with a recruitment poster that transitioned into an American flag, as I felt that it both fit the theme of the piece and the subject matter.
For a first attempt at a photorealistic piece, I'm quite happy with it. I know that there is a lot I could improve on, but I really love how this turned out in the end! Well I hope you like the piece and enjoyed reading about my process for this one. I have another portrait in the works already, so I can't wait to get back to working on that!
Until next time!