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Create A Day

One creative project every day for a year

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Day 53: Elizabeth Taylor Portrait 2 ways

Posted by annagrace under Days 1-100

For today’s project I wanted to pay homage to Elizabeth Taylor who, incase you’ve been living under a rock the past week or so, passed away on Wednesday, March 23. (That youtube link is a tribute from a few years ago, but I think who better than Paul Newman to talk about her!).

I started with this photograph, which I absolutely love!

She was so dang classy and beautiful! Anyways, I started at first doing a portrait with colored pencil. I realized very quickly that I absolutely fail at drawing hands! So I just quickly drew her face, but I wanted to show you what I did in very a short time period.

I clearly had some issues with this… eyes going the wrong direction, mouth too pursed… she looks more pissed than sultry haha!! So I decided to do another iteration of it. For this one, I wanted to do it digitally in photoshop. I had seen this done before in another 365 project that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of, where the guy would use photoshop and other software to create portraits every day. He usually, if I remember correctly, started off with an image and her would trace it in photoshop or whatever so he could get everything right. I did the same, working in layers with the opacity turned way down, and I also used the color picker to make sure the shades were right. All the drawing was done with different sizes in the paintbrush tool. Here’s the final result.


Here’s a side by side so you can see the difference.

I still had a lot of issues with the hand, but I think it turned out okay. I ended up leaving out the thumb because it was causing me a lot of trouble, but I think it’s fine without it!

You would think that this wouldn’t take very long since I was essentially just tracing the image, but it was a lot harder than I thought! Controlling the motion of the strokes is super difficult (wish my usb mouse wasn’t broken…) on a track pad, not to mention getting the shades just right, even with the color picker! It ended up taking me about 3.5 hours to finish after experimenting with it some last night!! I am very very happy with how it turned out, though! I think that I will probably try this method of portraiture again!

Rest in peace, Liz! You will be missed!

Anna Grace


Day 52: Photoshop Self-Portrait

Posted by annagrace under Days 1-100

Today’s project isn’t a super exciting one… just some fun with photoshop! I took one of my favorite pictures of myself with red hair and decided to single out some of the colors in certain parts. Here’s what I started with:

You probably recognize this as the picture in my about me section! So I just made one copy of this black and white and left one copy in color for me to play with. With the color copy, using the magnetic lasso tool and/or the magic wand tool, I selected my hair, glasses, irises (can’t really see them, but they’re blue!), lips, and the frame of my bed that I had spray painted purple! I then just copied and pasted them all into the black and white copy after I converted it back to RGB mode.

Isn’t it crazy how bright my lips and hair look in the black and white one? It’s funny how a colors surrounding colors can change how it looks…

I’ve done this quite a bit with photos, turning my hair green and what not, and I think it’s a quick way to make a boring picture fun! I’m hoping to do something a little more exciting for tomorrow’s project, so be on the look out!

Anna Grace


Day 14: Anthony Kiedis Portrait… not like I hoped

Posted by annagrace under Days 1-100

So… today’s project didn’t really turn out how I wanted it to… I sort of really hate it in fact. But I decided that this 365 project doesn’t always have to be stuff that I think is beautiful. And I think it helps me to realize what I need to improve on. More on that in a bit, but first a little background.

As most people close to me know, I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They are absolutely in my top 5 favorite bands, and probably in the number one slot. I decided today at work that I wanted to do a portrait of Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of RHCP. I’ve done several graphite portraits in the past, but I wanted to challenge myself and do this one in my 90 minute time limit that I had originally set for every day’s projects, and had pretty much ignored up until now. This is the picture I chose:

I think this picture captures one of the things I love most about Anthony Kiedis; he doesn’t take things too seriously. Whew… it took a lot for me to post that picture. I really wanted not to so you couldn’t tell how bad mine was… moving on.

So I started my portrait like I normally do, sketching out very lightly the major lines and points in the picture. I then started with the left eye and made my way through the entire face, neck and clothes. I think it was actually going pretty well at that point, but I was nearing the end of my 90 minute mark and had not yet done the hair. I really wish that I had taken a picture at this point, before completely screwing it up… but ce la vie. I normally do hair by lightly sketching in the main pieces then working in deeper color and texture with a piece of willow charcoal, creating soft wispy hair that’s not so harsh. Well, I couldn’t find any of my willow sticks and I thought that since his hair was so dark I should just do it with a regular graphite drawing pencil. BAD DECISION! This might have worked okay if I was a much more patient person, but I so badly wanted to stay in my time limit and get done that I didn’t really pay attention to the way his hair was in the picture and it looks like a scribble that a 5 year old did. Anyway, here it is… *wince*

Ugh. Scribble hair and the neck of a pro wrestler… and the fact that I took a picture of this with my cell does this zero justice. As much as I would like to toss this post and do something else, I’m not going to. This drawing looks TERRIBLE, but I’ve learned a lot from it. The main thing is, I’ve got to slow down!!! That and I definitely need to work on doing hair… but that’s something that’s going to come with practice.

Also, this has made me realize that I don’t have to set such strict guidelines on myself. While it would be nice to only spend 90 minutes a day on this project, I think if I want to spend longer, what’s wrong with that? And I think that projects can stretch over multiple days if I don’t have time to put all the minutes into it I need to make it the way I want.

And now just to make myself feel better and know that I can actually do a decent portrait, here’s a portrait of Bono from U2 I did for my dad’s birthday a few years ago. (Original photo here)

I also like this portrait of Marilyn Monroe I did back in high school!

I feel better now :)

Thanks for bearing with me people… through the good and the bad! Maybe I’ll revisit this portrait another day… if I can stand to look at it again!

Anna Grace

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