This is a portrait of Arthur Daniyarov, a rising star in the male modeling world.. He has been favored recently by the likes of Raf Simons for Raf Simons and Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, and many other menswear designers of note. He's quite gorgeous, and I think he makes the perfect beauty study. This piece was fun, even if it took a while to get to you. In the past few days I've been busy with other illustrations and career-oriented tasks and busy work. Not to mention that I've been fitting a healthy amount of social life in there too!
I've never really quite posted evidence of my process, and because this was a study, there wasn't too much preliminary work to be shown. I hope it's informative!
This was the preliminary sketch for the finished ink painting. I drew directly on 140 lb cold press watercolor paper, neatly sealed to the table with watercolor tape. I usually treat the hair with inks swiftly and less deliberately than the portrait, so the features are pretty finite and ready for deeper tones, whereas the hair is more or less contour and some directional lines.
This is the under-painting. From the preliminary, I added some darker tone and a fullness to the form with washes of varying shades. The water-thinned ink adds a rich, suppleness that the graphite can't compensate for, which is one of the reasons I may be moving away from graphite.
For the final, I added the darkest tones with pure sumi ink, without added water. I usually keep a few round brushes loaded with water on hand, so I can easily incorporate such deep tones. It can be terrifying, making such a finite decision, but that deep black adds a contrast that you just can't get with any other medium. And it reproduces SO well.
For very fine detail work, I finish with very minute pen work on top, as well as white designer's gouache to clean up and bring out the lightest highlights. I like this gouache because it scan's REALLY well, especially when you make sure to soften the edges of your stroke with water.