Willie Mays Work in Progress

Hello Everyone!

Craig here, and I’m going to give you all a sneak peek at a stipple artwork that I’m working on. I’ll also use it to demonstrate a little bit about the process I’m going through to create it.

My latest piece is a portrait of San Francisco Giant’s baseball great, Willie Mays Jr. For those of you who don’t know, Willie Mays is a Hall of Fame baseball player whose career was spent largely with the (then) New York/(later) San Francisco Giants, and is typically listed as one of the top five, if not THE greatest baseball player in history. For further information, here’s a link to his Wikipedia listing. Here is the image as it stands, today.

Willie Mays Jr. Portrait (in progress)The first thing I did when getting ready to do this portrait, was to decide whether to do a traditional head-shot bust, or to have a collage of several images. I decided upon the latter. Then I started looking at and collecting reference images. One of the big challenges with a collage approach is to get the right composition. You have to choose which images go with which. You have to make sure the bat from one picture isn’t poking another picture in the eye. You have to make sure the limbs are in positions that make sense, don’t create odd-looking distracting shapes with other elements in other pictures. You also have to make sure the picture as a whole is well-balanced, has good composition, contrast, and most of all, is interesting.

Then next thing I did was to take the images I collected that I thought would work with my concept, and brought them in to Photoshop to create the layout. This is a lot like working on a puzzle; trying to make everything fit, work together and be a good composition. I move things around, crop, resize, and generally have a really good time. I knew that there was one image that I wanted to use as the focal point and largest art of the picture, so that stayed pretty constant, and I played with the periphery. Here are some of the composition attempts I came up with, the last of which is the one I chose.

Samples of possible composition layouts


After that, I created a pencil sketch portrait, just to see how they all worked together and to get a little practice and rendering the different elements.

Once I knew I was happy with the layout, I drew the image onto my bristol board. I outline the various areas where there is a similar shade of grey. That’s pretty much the end of all the prep work. After that, there’s usually no more ways I can think to procrastinate, so it’s time to take out the pen and start putting dots to paper. I mentioned procrastinating, but that’s pretty much in jest. I enjoy this part so much, that I usually can’t wait to get to it. I would be happy spending hours and hours just sitting there poking the paper, but meals, job and buying kitty food inevitably interrupt. Here are some close-ups of the picture to give you a little detail. Can’t you just smell the pine tar (used to make the handle of the bat sticky, so it doesn’t fly away and concuss some poor spectator).

Details of the Willie Mays Jr. portrait work-in-progressThese images and more will be coming up soon on our website. Right now, we are running a summer special on all of our prints at our Etsy Store: Buy 2 prints of the same size, get 30% your order:

Thank you for visiting. Please visit and share at: www.masartwork.com

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