With the face completed, I now move onto the uniform. I will add several layers of graphite until I get the right richness of tone I am seeking. Here you can see the beginning of the coat looks washed out and not in a correct value range to compliment the rest of the portrait. This is due, in part because the bad lighting and clumsy photography, but even in person the graphite is not yet in a desirable value range. I will add several more layers of graphite to get a nice rich tone.
It is at this stage that I also find where to fade the portrait into nothing. I tend to avoid a symmetrical oval when fading. With the focal point in the upper two thirds and slightly left of center, I’ll balance this with a bit more heft to the lower left of the portrait. This will become more evident in future posts.