Illuminated Digital Printing, attempting a portrait

Something I am hoping to eventually do with this style of painting is portraits of the gods, as well as portraits of the major figures in Emelina’s story. So far I’ve mostly done setting pieces, so I wanted to try my hand at a portrait.

And what a better starting place than this amazing costume my girlfriend Jill did of Amaterasu from Kieron Gillen’s comic, The Wicked +The Divine for Halloween this year.

Three pictures of the same woman posing for a camera with her hand up as if ready to snap.  First is a photograph, followed by a pencil sketch, and finally a digital engraving in black and white.
This picture I took of her in her costume was the best shot I got all night of three excellent costumes. (El and I were Lucifer and Baphomet, obviously)

For this piece, I started with a pencil sketch. I wanted to see how engraving from an already-rendered picture would work as opposed to doing the work of rendering it as I engrave. There are definite pros and cons to this method, and I am unsure if I am going to do it again in the same way.

Pros are that it is a lot easier to tweak a pencil sketch. Erase a little here, or add a little there, and you can normalize the values (level of relative darkness) across the entire painting better. When I am doing the digital engraving files, I’m working with a large enough file size that I am restricted, usually, to five layers, meaning that I have to flatten down my layers frequently enough that changing a small piece of the engraving is harder than it might otherwise be.

The nature of the engraving is such that a big enough change means a need to completely remove and re-engrave the affected area.

I also end up with a very nice pencil sketch of my subject to throw onto, say, Instagram, which is not valueless in itself. Pencil sketches are a classic after all.

Con is simply that it takes longer. I spend more time making the piece, since I am rendering it three times, adding a prior full sketch to the engraving, and painting.

Basically I’ve talked myself into continuing to do it this way, through the process of writing this post. 😂

Look for the final painting soon. It’s been printed in orange and yellow ink, and is in progress now. (Jill has not noticed yet, so I’m looking forward to surprising her with it, even though I’ve done nothing to actually hide the painting. She was in my office with it yesterday, and I don’t think she noticed. hehe. I am accidentally sneaky.)