Way back when I started drawing portraits, I tended to use photos as references (I still do a lot, actually) because 1. they always sit still and 2. it doesn’t matter how useless the result is because nobody has to see it. There is also the sneaky (and a bit cheaty) advantage that you can measure all you want and compare your drawing to the photo without showing a piece of paper into someone’s face. At this time I was a teenager with a bunch of online friends, one in particular who loved being the centre of attention so my “Received Files” folder was full of pictures from him and I would often find myself basing my drawings around these. Even when I started drawing other things and experimented with other things than pencil, his face popped up in my drawings over and over again. Every time my style changed, when I wanted to experiment with new materials and even when my interest in photography started, there was Matt. His love of attention and my fascination with him created the perfect circumstances for something I hadn’t had before – a muse. Nearly 8 years later our friendship is still strong and for my fourth year creative project in Digital Art at university I decided to base the whole thing around him. It took countless hours and nearly burnt out my computer’s graphics cards but after two meet-ups for photoshoots and a LOT of drawing with Photoshop’s Freehand Pentool, I had 16 portraits of my muse, created by painstakingly drawing each layer on top of each other. They range from 41 to 116 layers with an average of 66.25 layers and 1060 layers in total (if anyone is interested in statistics).
This project won me the award for Best 4th Year Creative Project 2013 at my university’s showcase.