2015-12-19

Drawing Megan

This is the story of how I drew Megan.  Sorry that most of the photographs were taken by my extremely cheap phone camera.

There once was a beautiful young woman who got married to a nerd.  Before the wedding, there were pictures taken of the beautiful young woman.  The nerd has ever since been especially fond of one picture in particular.


So I decided to use this picture as the basis for a large pen-and-ink drawing.  Here is the beginning of the initial pencil drawing of the main elements.


Here is the completed pencil drawing of the main elements (darkened so you can see the pencil lines better).


I had originally planned to draw a plain cross-hatched grid for the background, like you can see in traditional engraved portraits.  Then I realized that I should fully execute my plan for practicing techniques to put in future illustrations by adding something more fractal-like.  What I needed was a fractal-like curve that had similar properties to a grid: it filled the space evenly with a uniform line thickness.  It did not take me long to discover the Hilbert Space-filling Curve, or Hilbert Curve for short.  What did take me a while to find was an existing image of it pre-rendered at a sufficient level of detail to cover my entire picture.  But then I had to draw it without being able to trace it.  That required more time than it took to find it.


Next is the Hilbert space-filling curve print-out that I traced with pencil on the print-out, itself, as I copied it line by line to my large drawing's background on a pencil-grid that I had already drawn as a guide.  I drew a few tiny line segments at a time.  At one point I discovered that I had drawn a section of the curve (maybe a few hundred line segments big) in the wrong place—it was shifted by one unit of the grid.  I had to erase that part of the background and redraw it.  Thankfully I had first drawn the curve in pencil before inking it.  I remember doing much of the inking of the Hilbert curve while I "watched" the extended Hobbit movies with my family.  Actually, I also associate this pen-and-in portrait with a number of fascinating audio-books that I listened to while drawing it, including biographies of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris, Phantastes by George MacDonald, a lecture-summary of the book "Goedel, Escher, Bach", a long series of lectures about life in the Middle Ages, the extended Lord of the Rings movies, and several others.  One can listen to a lot of good material in about 150 hours.



Here is the final drawing sitting on my drawing table.  You can see my lap top plugged in to my big Altec Lansing speakers in the background ready to play me another audio-book.



Here is the final pen-and-ink drawing professionally digitally scanned at Replicolor in Salt Lake City, Utah.



Here I have digitally made some minor corrections to the black and white line drawing and have added color.  I consider this the final version.  This is the same version I have listed in my American Frame Art Galary.  The coloring is subtle—on purpose.  On my laptop, I can barely see the colors, while on my desktop they are easier to see.



After finishing the color version, I tried out some of the filters that come with the free image editing tool called Gimp.  This image shows the mosaic distortion filter.  I love the blending of the colors in tiles around the top of the rose, including the brown of Megan's hair, the pink of her lips and the rose, the subtle blue of the background, and the green of the leaves.



This image shows double-thresholding—that is, mapping light and dark greys to black and middle-tone greys to white.


That about wraps it up. 



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