My gift is my ability to make my hand accurately draw and paint exactly what I see.
That is not to say that I can't improvise a little, but if you want your loved one depicted in the spitting image of their photo, then the best way for me to achieve that is if you can supply me with the highest resolution photo.
So what makes a great photo?
A lot of people use Facebook as their go-to for photos as it's easy to access, download or screenshot on your phone. These pictures look great on a phone but when blown up to a frame size of 30x40cm or larger, they get really blurry and pixelated and it is difficult for me to see that subtle curve in a person's lips, or a reflection of light in their eye.
Original photo from Facebook
Looks great at this size...
However when blown up, the features lack definition. There is no clarity in the eyes, especially when they are as pale a colour as Lisa's in this photo.
Also the eyelashes are just a black blob sitting on the eyes.
Her nose is really blurred and it's hard to see where nose ends and cheek begins!
The mouth looks ok, but the little lines in her lips can't be seen, and outside boundary lines are blurred.
You can't even see a single strand of hair, it's kind of just merged together.
So how do you get around this?
The best solution is if you have the original photo stored on your phone, camera, cloud or computer, or you have access to the photo if it has been taken by someone else that you can email to me, or share with me via cloud, rather than send me a photo saved from Facebook.
The reason is because Facebook's server's can't handle the billions of full resolution photos uploaded everyday, so they compress them to a very small file size. A typical phone or camera resolution is around 2-5 megabytes (2000-5000 kilobytes) Facebook compresses photos down to only 70-100 kilobytes!
The Optimum Reference Photo
Do you have any photos taken with a digital camera? or even better, do you have any photos taken by a professional photographer?
These photos will be an optimum resolution for really fine detail in one of my drawings or paintings. This will let me see every nook and cranny in a person's face. Some of my best drawings were created using a professional photographer's photos as reference.
Take Milo for example:
I could see every hair, every grain of wood, subtle reflections in his eyes:
All because of the quality of the photo used for reference:
(Photo courtesy of Gary Trounson)
Subject placement is so important. often people's favourite photos are ones that cut off their hair, or are zoomed in too close to the subject. If you can provide me with a few different options to chose from, it will give you the best outcome.
But if you still really want to use that favourite photo that cuts off her hair or his chin or their ears, a few extra photos of these people to reference the missing parts would be very helpful.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this clears up a few questions for those considering an original Simon Aberle drawing or painting!