Monday, August 23, 2010

Runner's World Portraits

The 2010 Runner's World Fall Shoe Guide is out, and I drew some little portraits of the folks that test and report the performance of different running shoes. Drawing these little portraits is fun and quick. One detail Art Director Marc Kauffman likes me to add, is to match the colors in the portraits to the full page feature illustration that opens the Fall Shoe Guide. The original inkings are about 5 -6 inches tall, and the background texture is guache.

Peter Vuong - Runner's World Wear Tester. Illustration: Graham Smith

John  - Runner's World Wear Tester. Illustration: Graham Smith

Karon Klipple - Runner's World Wear Tester. Illustration: Graham Smith

The trick is to NOT draw lots of detail in really small portraits, but to rely on the large, basic shapes to carry the likeness. The shape of the head, the hair, the shape of the mouth, and the relationship to the size of the eyes are key areas to scrutinize while trying to craft simple little portraits.

I draw quickly and try to resist the urge to go back into the drawings and "fix" things. The drawings always seem a bit stale when I do that. It's better to keep the drawings brisk and fresh, than to overwork them with correctness. Funner too!

Runner's World illustrations by Graham Smith

These portraits are inked with 513 nib using Black Cat india ink on Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbook, 93 lb paper. The under drawing is done with a non -repro blue pencil. I don't erase the under drawing or try to hide it. I like to leave the process marks in each illustration. They seem more handmade that way.

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