Vintage portrait or illustration - or both?
- Published: Monday, 07 May 2018 20:00
In the picture above there´s a selection of vintage drawings from the past years. And this time I wanted to write a bit more about the realism in these drawings.
The works from the first to the fourth are in ascending order according to the amount of layers and the level of realism (picture below). Therefore the first drawing, number one, is the smallest drawing with only few pencil and colored pencil layers. The amount of drawn layers and the size of drawing then increases towards the number two and three - and as a result the number four is the most realistic and largest of the drawings, and has also most of layers and shading in it.
One can explore the differences, but also the similarities of the selected drawings. The number one and four for example are both once designed to be also portraits.
Because the works number one and four (picture below) were initially created to be portraits, the drawings have unique proportions and likeness in their features. It is also interesting that the likeness is possible to achieve with such different styles. The number one for example was created with more modern beauty illustration style, when instead the number four has more traditional portrait style with orchid and vintage theme.
In addition the drawing number one called “Wearing Roses” is more like a sketchy portrait, but it can also be seen as a fashion or beauty illustration. It is also created with fewest layers and less shading compared to the other drawings. It is also an example of a drawing in a smaller size, because the size of the original is about 12cm x 17cm (approx.5x7inch). You can see the small size more obviously when the work is compared to the real roses in pictures below.
Overall this particular drawing was a fascinating task, because the aim was to draw a very small and sketchy portrait into the style of fashion and beauty illustration. As a result the number one can then be categorized as a beauty illustration themed portrait. In these kind of sketchy and light drawings, the facial features can still be drawn so that they are having also the likeness, in case they have been commissioned to be a portrait.
It is interesting how the likeness is achievable only with few lines and plainer style - or with reduced shading.
On the other hand one can also compare the pictures number one and three (picture below), and see how adding layers and shading is effecting the style and atmosphere of the drawing - and also explore how much the style changes from sketchy illustration towards more realistic approach. Also in the drawing number three, the real hydrangea flowers are completing the drawing and bringing a whole new level to the work.
Usually it has been the purpose of the work that has defined the level of the realism of the drawing - whether it has been about creating a portrait or instead an illustration - or even both at the same time.
Some of the drawings have been about exploring the fading boundaries between realism and illustration. And sometimes the differences have been quite subtle. It´s also fascinating how small changes can have such an impact when aiming either realistic or more illustrative style.
When looking at the selected works in the collection, for example the work number two has more stylized approach in the features (picture below). The drawing number two called "Yesterday´s Flower" was created for illustration purposes and is aiming for a bit more stylized character - with imaginery features. Although this theme would also been possible to draw with a likeness if needed, for example if it were commissioned to be a portrait.
The level of realism in the drawings has always fascinated me. And I have enjoyed to play with different styles - whether it has been fashion or beauty illustration, more playful character design or even a highly detailed realistic drawing or portrait. And above all aiming for certain level of realism in the drawings has been exciting!
And creating different themes has also been giving a lot of inspiration to drawing, especially the vintage and flower themes with reduced colors. Adding that extra theme to the portrait has also given new ways, how to draw that traditional portrait a bit differently.
I have also listed below the links to the previous blog articles, where there´s more information about these spesific drawings and the creative process behind them.