Difficulty achieving likeness in portrait
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  1. #1
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    Difficulty achieving likeness in portrait

    Hey guys!

    Below is a portrait I've been working on recently (plus references). I've been growing increasingly frustrated with being unable to achieving a strong likeness of the subject and wonder where I could be going wrong. I've approached it many different ways and even started over twice, but I really don't want to give up!

    It's part of a series of Breaking Bad portraits I've been working on (full project on dribbble) - the other characters came together quite easily, but this one seems to be eluding me at every turn.

    The character is Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk. I wonder if his recognisability comes more from the way he moves or talks, or perhaps his features are more pronounced from other angles. Either way, you'll see something is getting lost in the translation - I just don't know what!

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    Last edited by manmadehorizon; November 1st, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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    This guy’s face doesn’t stand out in a crowd. The facial distinction that it does have is actor induced, not morphically present in it’s static structure.

    I think your depiction of the guy’s head is a little too narrow and appears a bit too docile, lacking the wryness of the character in the show (which I have never seen but just watched a clip on youtube). You’ve got to capture that wryness in his eyes and that smuggish smirk.

    Your other portraits resonate with the real actors, as they each have unique characteristics.

    Here’s a quick po with some loose visual suggestions, based mostly on the middle left ref of your block of 15 pics:

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    Last edited by bill618; November 1st, 2012 at 07:24 AM.
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    You need to try to capture the "character" of the shapes and lines more than just being purely accurate. That means exaggerating some lines and shapes for effect. Don't be afraid to do a slight caricature of the subject - the best portraitist did, including Sargent.

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    bill618 - thanks for taking the time to help, particularly your comment about capturing the character's 'wryness'. Some of my earlier versions had included much more of a sideways smirk / raised eyebrow expression, but it never looked quite right - perhaps because it was alongside many other issues which I've since improved upon. This time, it seems to have done the trick and at least for now I'm feeling much happier.

    karmazon - This is excellent advice, and something I've tried unsuccessfully at various points in my process. I even went so far as to produce a page of quick exaggerated sketches, with the hope of figuring out 'the essence' of his character (is it the capsule shaped head, the curved mouth, thin nose? etc...) but they were all truly awful, and much too embarrassing to post here! I think there's just something about his face that makes it a real challenge to exaggerate!

    Over all, I think I'm closer, but I can't help feeling like it's been unnecessarily hard slog to get here. If anyone wanted to take on the challenge of sketching him and trying to capture his likeness, I'd be fascinated to see how you get on!

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    Last edited by manmadehorizon; November 1st, 2012 at 06:01 PM.
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    I can see why this particular actor would be really difficult. There doesn't seem to be anything identifiable with him. For example Jesse has a gigantic jaw, which probably needs no exaggeration. But Saul looks like a pasty man with no real distinctive features.

    You have him down better now, but bill is closer still, especially when it comes to the eyes. Your hair style really changed for the worse all of a sudden, and I don't really understand that. Your first hair style matched much better. I would also saturate the hair more like Bill did.

    I am also not fond of your thick brown lines, they are distracting and detract from the realism greatly.

    Can I see your other breaking bad portraits?

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