Sunday, October 3, 2010

Levan May Cry

A couple of years ago my good friend and business companion asked me to draw a portrait of his son. Last year, when I still lived in Georgia, we took some photos of Levan (that's the name of the boy) to be used as the reference for the future artwork, where, as we decided after some brainstorming, he would be "cosplaying" Nero, the main character from Devil May Cry 4, one of Levan's favorite videogames.

My own son, Sandro, who happens to be Levan's friend, also participated in that photo-session -- I try to kill two birds with one stone whenever I can. That's when I got the idea of a double portrait featuring Levan and Sandro. I liked that idea so much that I postponed Levan May Cry and immediately started working on The Little Heartbreakers, planning to finish this "side project" very quickly and proceed with the "main thing" right after that. But, as it often happens with me, the work dragged out -- I was able to finish the double portrait (seen on the right) only in May 2010, when I had already moved to Lithuania. By that time I had so many other things to do that I had to forget about Levan May Cry for a while.

A couple of weeks ago I finally found time to sit down to it. I couldn't linger any longer -- the kid was growing up, after all. Besides, my mother was coming to visit us by the end of September, so it was a perfect time to finish the drawing and send it to Georgia with her.

Initially I intended to use my usual combination of color pencils and ballpoint pens on this, but then I changed my mind and decided to make it through only with color pencils, like I did with The Little Heartbreakers. It would serve as another proof that I can draw pictures without the help of the "magic" ballpoints.

As the reference for Nero's costume and his famous grotesque arm (replicating those textures was no piece of cake, I must say) I used some game poster found on the Web. Since the character has white hair, I had some reservations about the perspective of Levan's brown hair turning all white. But, as the work progressed, all my doubts dissipated: the white-haired Levan looked quite convincing -- maybe, in part, thanks to the slightly oriental shape of his eyes, very suitable for all this "Japanese fantasy slasher" thing.

I usually try to distribute the basic colors and shades right from the beginning, developing all the important parts of the drawing as evenly and simultaneously as possible. It helps keeping the control over the drawing. But in this case, as you can see from the WIP shots above, I chose to proceed from top to bottom, almost entirely finishing one part, before switching to another. This way I successfully avoided soiling the artwork with my own hands dirtied while working on the areas with dark, intense colors, quite prevalent in this drawing.

As you may know, I'm using a new signature since 2010, with no date under it. But, as requested by Levan's father, I signed and dated the artwork with my old signature. I was able to finish and scan the artwork in the nick of time -- just 15 minutes before the taxi for the airport arrived. As I'm writing this post, the drawing is flying in my mother's suitcase from Vilnius to Tbilisi, where Levan is waiting for it impatiently...


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