A little more work on his lower face. Mostly worked on his lips and defined his jawline a little. I put in more peach and pink in a flat wash on his cheeks to be the base color. They will begin to look more contoured when I start putting in the highlights and shadows. It looks kind of white around his lips because I haven’t worked the highlights any further than this. I may have to tone everything down later.



Dean Portrait Update

I’ve done a little more work on this portrait and since I am trying to document the progress a little better, here is an update picture.



I laid a wash of light peach and deco pink on the rest of his face and neck to balance the yellow in the paper. I’ve done most of the new work on his forehead. I had laid down too much pink and white in this area before I realized that I probably shouldn’t try to match the reference image colors too closely. The effect on this paper was that he was starting to look too pale. I erased off a whole layer of color and warmed up the area again with the light peach color.

I also started in a little with his hair. This is going to be a big job, since his hair is so short and spiky, lots of dark and light colors together in short lengths. No long smooth, easy to color swatches of hair, like Sam. 🙂

I am discovering again that I will probably have to lay in the hair and jacket color before I can tell how pale or dark I can go with his skin color. So I will probably fill in some color on his lips and jawline, but then leave it until I can get most of the colors surrounding his face blocked in. I may even have to work on the background before coming back to his face to get the right color.

Starting a Dean Portrait

I’ve been doing sketches of Dean, but somehow he seems harder to draw. I’m not sure why because if anything, his looks are more classically proportioned than Sam’s. Maybe it’s the combination of those big round eyes and square jaw, but somehow my sketches of him always end up looking kind of goofy. What I finally did was find a really good reference picture, one of those where you can see the pores on their skin and follow it exactly.

This is what has come of that so far.


I’m sure people will recognize which publicity still I’m using for my reference. It’s from the scarecrow episode so Dean’s face actually shows bruises on his left eye. I will leave out the bruises as well as the scarecrow lurking around in the background.

I have just started applying the colored pencils. The paper is a 13 x 20 inch piece of sand toned Colourfix paper. I took a shortcut and scanned my original sketch, sized it and then printed it to the paper with my large format Epson printer. I dialed down the opacity of the image to 40% in Photoshop and set the print job to draft mode. It sure made transferring the drawing to my paper a breeze.

Here is a close up of the small bit I’ve done so far.


There’s a lot of work to be done here still. I need to put eyelashes on his other eye and add many more layers of color. I think with this paper tone it will be much easier to get a natural skin tone compared to the grey Ampersand board I used with the Sam drawing.

One thing to mention is that because I did print the sketch onto the paper the reference lines are harder to cover up than if I had used a more traditional method of transferring the sketch. Next time I will try bringing the opacity down even more when printing.

I have to confess that I was going to experiment with the Faber_Castell Polychromo colored pencils on this piece. They are oil based colored pencil as opposed to the wax-based Prismacolors. Unfortunately I quickly discovered that the color was much less opaque and it was almost impossible to cover my reference lines. Too bad, because they blended even more beautifully than the Prismacolors and had a wonderful soft sheen to them. I am definitely going to try them again for another project.

This is what the Polychromo start on this piece looked like.


Fortunately this paper is so resilient I was able to use a stiff brush to remove most of the color and then finished cleaning it up with my electric eraser. I was then able to make a new start with the Prismacolors.

Sam in the Moonlight

In the progress picture below I had just about done all the background work and started in on his shirt.


One of the things I noticed right away when the background was in, is that by contrast, Sam’s face looked too pale. I decided to leave it that way until I got the clothes colored in. They are also dark colored, so when they are done, I would be able to judge more accurately how much I needed to warm up his face.

After another very industrious day I finally finished this piece off.


For the clothing I made liberal use of a stiff, short bristled stenciling brush to blend the colors, making sure to follow my guidelines and to work the color in more deeply into the shadowed areas. I worked a lot more on the right side hair, making the darks darker and adding more highlights. I also added somewhat of a light halo effect all around his head and body, which might be explained by the moonlight shining from behind, but it’s mainly just artistic license 😉

Doing this was great fun and I’m looking forward to working with this medium and surface again, not to mention Sam Winchester!

A Work in Progress – Sam in the Moonlight

I should have posted this a while ago but better late than never. This is one of my other works in progress. I was inspired by the many lovely high resolution images of Sam and Dean that are out there on the web. This one is based on, I think, a second season promo shot. I love the high resolution shots because I can really go in and study the light and shadow play on their faces. Sheesh, its a hard job, but someone has to do it.

I started with this sketch.


I hadn’t been planing on documenting my progress, so I don’t have a lot of pictures of the initial steps. Below is one I took after I had already done a lot of work on his face and hair and started a little in on the background. The surface is a 11 X 14 grey toned Ampersand Pastelbord. I’m using Prismacolor colored pencils.


I bought this Pastelbord years ago and it’s been packed away with a bunch of other stuff that I never had the time to try out. Unfortunately real life has a way of interfering with my good art intentions. Why now? Because my brain has been hijacked by the Winchesters!

Anyway it seemed like a good time to try out the pastelbord. I’m still looking for that perfect surface to give me the results I want. My initial reaction is that it I like it even better that the Colourfix paper. It has less texture making it a little easier to get the smooth blending of colors. So far it seems like a winner to me.

At this stage, I have added a lot more layers of color to his face, covering up more of the grey background board. This board is fantastic, it can take layer after layer of color and using more pressure on the later layers will blend the colors together beautifully. I love the fact that you can layer a lighter color over a dark one to add highlights. You can’t get super light highlights like this but it’s enough to give dimension and contour. If you want a really bright highlight you have to make sure to layer only your light colors there.

Ironically I’m having more trouble with the background than with the face. For me it all comes down to having good reference material. I have a good reference for his face, not so much for the trees and clouds and things.

Now that I have the right side of the background kind of sketched in, the left side doesn’t make sense. I really need to change it.

Long Time Gone

Yikes! It’s been a while since I posted. A lot has happened. I took a long leave of absence from work, of which I have one week left to enjoy. I’ll be rejoining the rat race next Monday. It wasn’t really a planned thing, the satellite factory had a slump and I had the the ways and means to enjoy an unexpected vacation.

What have I done with this unexpected gift?  I submerged myself in my new obsession, Supernatural and started creating artwork.  The Bait Sam piece has languished because I sort of lost interest in it.  It still needs work, but I am vaguely dissatisfied with it. I’m not sure if I will dedicate the time to fix it’s flaws. I think maybe it has served it’s purpose, which was to get my feet wet experimenting with the colourfix paper and to make a start with the Supernatural artwork.


This paper is great, it is practically indestructible. I was able to add layer after layer of colored pencil color and get some interesting blending effects. You can lift color  off pretty well too, with an eraser or a solvent like turpenol. Of course if you use turpenol, it’s hard to control the area you’re trying to cleanup.

What I discovered using turpenol was that I could lay down color and then load a brush with the stuff and blend the color as if they were paint. That is how I created the dark blue background areas, and some of the forefront road colors.

The turpenol is hard to control, but it definitely gave a whole different feel to the color. I had been struggling to get a soft misty feel to the sky behind Sam, but just could not get it right with only the dry colored pencils. Part of the problem with this picture was that I didn’t plan the background enough to do a good job.

Who knows, maybe I will come back later to this and try to salvage it, for now it will sit on my easel where I can look at it once in a while and think on it.

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