View Full Version : Leonardo's Mona Lisa, recreation study of a masterpiece.

09 September 2005, 01:16 PM
Alright, my second masterpiece study, I found the Michelangelo study incredibly rewarding and informational, teaching me many things and filling in a lot of my knowledge gaps, so I decided to start another one today, but probably won't be finished for a couple of days allowing you to see the work in progress as it goes on. Hope you enjoy this thread and find it interesting.

This time, I remembered from the start to scan it in from the near initial stages, with the guidelines and proportional markings more easily readable for those of you interested in the process.

I approached this piece in a slightly different way from the Libyan Sibyl piece, in that I started with and am adhering to the construction grid and making sure that I am 90% happy with each stage before I go on - one of the biggest things about doing a study of such a famous icon know by billions - I'd venture to say this is THE most well known painting of all time - is that if something even remotely tiny is drastically wrong, people will pick it out, and that includes myself.

For instance a slight tonal difference can significantly change the look of the face entirely.

I think so far I am succeeding in capturing the essence than not - of course as I progess further, I be will be doing hundreds if not thousands of modifications along the way. So don't think that anything is set in concrete.

A quick run through of my materials (for those of you who keep asking) - complete graphite pencil set, from 9B-B + HB + H + F, so 11 pencils altogether, a black prismacolor pencil, graphite powder in a jar, toilet paper roll, kneaded eraser and a stick eraser.

The pencil range is to cover all the tonal ranges from light to dark, B for those who don't know = Blackness, so 9B = very very dark, but the lead is also very soft, 1B is much lighter and the lead is harder. HB is Hard Black, H is for Hard and F is for fine, which is the hardest lead and is typically used for fine details and light shade.

Black prismacolor is used to give that extra rich black for most shadows, and can also be used to darken details - an excellent render tool for almost all circumstances, but hard to erase.

Graphite powder is used to give tone, and I like to smear it on the page before any work begins to allow me to work on a non-white surface for a few reasons - highlighting later on is easily accomplished, allows increased readability of the tones and lastly, I just hate working on a pure white surface.

The kneaded eraser, for those who know how to use it, is one of the best tools for creating highlights, it can be shaped into a fine point and used to lift lead off for increased highlights, or it can be used in a wide sweep to lift a lot of graphite at once.

The stick eraser is there also for precise erasure, but it also takes more lead out of the paper's grain that the kneaded cannot.

Alright, first scan - this is the preliminary stage of marking out the proportions of the image, the correct placement of limb trajectories and so on, this is the skeletal version of the final piece and just like any piece of art, must be satisfactory before moving on, or else the problems here will manifest themselves in not so happy ways later on.

So far, all I have used is a 6B pencil to mark out the grid I want to use, as well as put in the conceptual trajectories - this is most obvious in the hand placement. Also, graphite and red ochre and raw sienna grinds have been layed. At this stage, work light, work fast, you dont want to put any hard values in because the darker it is, the harder to erase.

So, the foundation:

09 September 2005, 01:19 PM
Alright, this is the second update, I'm working on my favourite part of the whole piece as well as the most challenging, the face of the subject, so far, the face has taken about 3 hours in total, hundreds of erasures and careful pulling and pushing with tone and sulpting of the surface.

I've used mainly soft leads to fill in dark areas and tissue to soften the grain as well as apply the tones where needed. As you can also see, the pre-toned paper is coming in useful at this point with my stick and kneeded eraser, I am picking out large chunks of highlights which bring it towards life.

I thought I'd throw in this half finish shot to show what it looks like before I start detailing to show the contrast between the two. Its already starting to take on the unmistakable face, with a few hundred more alterations, it should be to where I will be happy with it.

A closeup of the details - as you can see, I've been pretty pedantic about the whole thing so far.

Stay tuned for more updates and progress shots.

09 September 2005, 09:05 PM
so far it looks great :applause:
and i can't wait to see the finished piece
good work tyler , but one question here
and i'm sure the answer will be yep i do
did u take any formal education , cuz i did not and i hope that someday i can produce such a great work

09 September 2005, 09:08 PM
she looks more like that famous picture of george washington than mona lisa. her face is too chisled. feed her some donuts and let the face fill in a bit more.

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