Technically, we're on Day 9 now, but I'm still hoping to catch up by adding in an extra double portrait tomorrow. I expect the subject will be twins, and I have a reference picture in mind.
Today's portrait is of science fiction author John Scalzi and a kitten named either Sugar or Spice (he has two new kittens). In addition to being a fine writer of highly readable military SF, Scalzi is also a pretty good photographer, and when he posted this photo on his Twitter account, I realized that that would be fun to draw, so I told him I would. He said "Have fun", and... I did. But boy was this difficult to do. I realized that what with the photo being a bit grainy and blurry, the crisp ink lines I've been using lately wouldn't work. Instead, I decided to do a greyscale painting, like ink washes only in digital form.
Problem is... I can't paint worth shit. I've avoided all colouring in my daily drawings since mid-December for a reason: I wanted to isolate the exact theme I was working with more, and leave practicing other skills for later months, so colour and painting techniques would be tackled later. But for this, as I said, it was clearly necessary to paint, so paint I did. Aggie gave me a few pointers: to use a smudge brush in Sketchbook Pro (that worked well) and to use an image brush as a quick way to render the pores in his masculine but aging skin (that didn't work too well). She also wanted me to start early on highlighting, because the dead eyes of author and kitten (at that stage of working) bothered her.
Well. I'm not entirely unhappy about it. For all its flaws, I can see where it's a start to learning to paint, and the underlying portraiture of Scalzi himself is OK. The kitten, on the other hand, is a mess, because I had no idea what was going on with her face. This is why I normally prefer reference photos that have deep focus instead of all the mucking about with shallow depth of field that Scalzi does in his photography, much as I like what he does.
Oh, and I simplified the shirt. The shirt just confused me regardless of whether it was in focus or not. Since it wasn't the point of the exercise, I made it plain black and I'm not sorry.