Coraline, Mark III

The first and second years since the my daughter Coraline was born I have done a colored pencil portrait of her. My guidelines for composition/style etc. have been simple:

  • The reference must be shot by myself or my wife.
  • The pose and/or expression must be non-typical – ie. none of the JCPenneys portrait sensibilities will be at play.
  • The realism of the piece will bleed into abstraction in parts of the composition. I’m not one for strict photo-realism and prefer to show some of the medium and technique when possible.

I’ve done a number of portraits of family in the past. The lovely wife, nephews, siblings (sisters, to be precise), and grandparents.

It’s my hope that someday my daughter will treasure this series (after outgrowing it as a teen and then growing back into it later in life). My goal is to document her growth and personality, as well as my love for her (and that of her mother, our prime documentarian.)

What do you think makes for a good portrait? Classical focus on the face, beatific lighting and an obvious smile? Creative lighting and composition? High, medium or low degree of photo-realism? Let me know!

1 year old

0-1 yrs portrait of Coraline
The Empress of Balance

2 years old

1-2 yrs old portrait of Coraline
Victorian Child

3 years old

My wife and I are currently combing through our approximately 947 thousand pictures of our girl for the right one(s) to use as reference for the third portrait. This time around my plan is to switch to soft pastels rather than continuing on in colored pencils.

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