When broken down, shadows and highlights are simply planes of intensity that come together to form a complex description. Without using contour lines, the goal was to take a portrait of one or more people, crop it down to an 8.5×11 size (hence why Eric Idle could not be included without chopping anyone’s face in half!), and dive in to describe the image using varying line weights and spacing. Finally, to tie the image together, I used three wash layers: a light purple with the brightest whites knocked out, a dark purple for the shadows, and a medium purple for the lighter shadows.
Yes, it’s a form of tracing, but it’s an interpretive method that pays homage to—rather than simply stealing—the original photograph. I’m incredibly happy with the end result.
Perhaps I’ll eventually go in and add Eric Idle to the piece. However, I rather like the image as it stands, and I can’t help but smile every time I look at it.