How to Draw from a Poor Photograph

"Riley and CJ" by Tiana Kaczor, Fall 2012, pastel and conte.

“Riley and CJ” by Tiana Kaczor, Fall 2012, pastel and conte.     Click on images to view larger.

I had a commission that was a Christmas present, so could not post it online until after the holiday. I am now at liberty to share this work with you.

“Riley and CJ” posed a problem for me as I usually work from photographs that show enough detail so that I can create quite a realistic art piece. However the photo that was provided to me was very pixelated. I am not an artist who usually draws from my imagination, except in my private sketchbook, so I would not want to take artistic licence with this commission and just “make up” the details. Instead I decided to try a different style, working like the Impressionists with dots and dashes of colour, and a different medium, chosing pastels and conte. The client agreed to my style change and I set off to create a realistic drawing of a pixelated photo.

Tiana's process of drawing Riley from photo and photocopy.

Tiana’s process of drawing Riley from photo and photocopy.

“Work with what you’ve got.” is a rule I follow a lot in my artmaking. Whether it’s taking whatever materials I can find to make an assemblage instead of buying special sculpture supplies, or using the qualities of a photograph to determine the detail and style of the image when put into a different medium like paint or pastel. Kind of a bit like that saying “When the world gives you lemons make lemonade,” isn’t it?

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One Comment on “How to Draw from a Poor Photograph”

  1. Vaclav Says:

    Nice Tiana, I like this style very much. It gives the same aura as the works of the Impressionists. The colors are great, and I can just see the eagerness for the next frisbee run in the face of the dog. Good work.


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