Well I finally “finished” ( I still may do some touch ups) my Norwegian fiddler girl. I suppose I will name her Cecilie, after an actual Norwegian girl who found and complimented my work in progress pic that I had posted on the deviantArt website, and who was kind enough to let me use her ID photo as a reference for the fiddler’s face. The body, hair and fiddle comes from a photo of an actual professional Hardanger violinist named Maja Gravermoen Toresen. I never had the time to do some modeling with my wife and kids for the current series, and besides, I do not want the same face for every character. At least for the male faces I can alter my own by varying hair styles and facial hair, but the women’s faces would not be so easy to adjust with any reasonable level of realism.
I think the whole shebang took 5 or 6 hours over two drawing sessions. I am happy with it, considering it is the first large scale attempt at realism I have ever done, and using a variety of pencils (H thru 8B). I do wish I had better quality paper to begin with, this old stuff was not as white as I would prefer, and did not seem to hold up under an eraser that well. I did wind up buying a much better quality, and really large pad today, figuring I could always cut the sheets in half if I wanted 11×17 size again. Things I need to figure out at this scale from what I experienced here is how to control smudging, how to avoid shiny/metallic spots from pressing too hard with the darker pencils, and how to add highlights via erasing or perhaps white chalk.
Oh, also I have a new problem: how in the world to take good photos of these drawings at this size. Here, I taped up the drawing on my kids’ chalkboard easel, turned on a bunch of lamps, and tried to hold my digital camera steady. Then I imported the photo into Gimp, turned it to gray scale and cropped the edges. The color you see here is not true to life, and the image is a bit warped (like a fish-eye lens effect) and no where near the resolution I would hope for. I do have an old film camera that is pretty decent, but who the heck uses film any more besides “real” photographers?