In what is becoming an annual tradition, I was recently at Dawson College doing a demo for the Illustration department watercolor class. Thanks to Lucy Trahan for the invite.
Another annual tradition, in honor of Halloween, is my annual PoeTrait. (Ok not every year. Here is my PoeTrait from 2009). I could have sworn I did that last year.
As I was looking for a suitable subject to demo, and it had been awhile since I sketched Mr. Poe – here he is again, this time in watercolor.
I should say, I don’t consider myself a portraitist, in the sense that I prefer to draw my idea of a person, rather than a dead-on likeness. So you’ll forgive some exaggeration in his physiognomy. I want to capture the barely contained churning thoughts roiling in his stately dome. And that pale sickly complexion that hints at his upcoming descent into the drugs and madness which ended October 7th, 1849, the day of his inadequately explained death.
Here’s the progress between my three passes of watercolor. Admittedly the changes are quite small in the last step – but that’s what you want – you’re just reinforcing the tiny dark shapes. In a high-key image like this, there aren’t that many darks – mostly just in his hair. When working Light to Dark, Large to Small, often each step is much faster than the step before. But you do need to let it dry between passes, or your final dark touches won’t be crisp.
In the event I’ve piqued an interest, here’s an online resource to read some Poe.