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12/17/2006 Archived Entry: "Sketches of a little boy"

I'M AIMING TO DRAW PORTRAITS of a friend's two little boys. The younger is one of those always-on-the-go kids who would once have been called "all boy." His sort would now be diagnosed as a disabled victim of ACD. To their credit, my tired friend and her husband reject the idea of "medicating him until he behaves like a girl." Instead, they give him ample outlets for his energies in scouting and sports and 4H.

I took photos of both boys last week to use as scrap for the portraits. As you can imagine, ACD-boy was hard to capture. And I'm a pretty awful photographer, besides. But one photograph came out bad in a very good way. It was just a blur of this little boy rushing past the camera.

I haven't yet achieved a likeness that a mother could love (which is why I feel free to post my preliminary drawings; they don't look a thing like him). But I've been having fun trying to capture the feeling of a little boy in motion. Take a look.

Here's the larger, or at least the click-to-enlarge version of the sketch above, which I just finished.

And here's the first sketch I did last weekend. It captures the sense of motion better, though it's a more labored drawing.

I'm not sure I'll ever get a likeness in this pose. The original photo is blurred beyond definition and I don't have the talent or experience yet to make up what I can't make out. Among other things I didn't feel I was capturing the right expression in his eyes and lips. You can see that in both these pictures his face is vacant. Part of that's just my level of ability. But as I kept peering at the source photo to try to fix my work I realized something.

Although he was in wild motion all the time I was trying to snap a picture of him, he was also, at this moment, staring at the TV set, checking in on his favorite pro football team. In real life he's cuter than either of these drawings, but he really did have that vast blank emptiness in his eyes. A little scary, actually.

I'll probably work from a more conventional photo for the mother-love version of his portrait. But this was an interesting experiment. I may play around a little more with getting the sense of motion. After going great guns all summer, these are the first drawings of any sort I've done since October.

Posted by Claire @ 05:59 PM CST

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