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Japanese Model WIP 1 by L-Spiro Japanese Model WIP 1 by L-Spiro
Full-view is necessary. The preview is very blurry.

About the Drawing (Technique)
#1: As you can see I am using the grid technique for the second time in my life(!). This is because of the scale of the drawing. It is 17 × 20 inches.

#2: Do you detect a little smudging? This is the first realistic drawing I have done with smudging. But only in extremely light and extremely dark areas. Smudging in the light areas is done to save time; I expect this to take a while given its size. Smudging in the dark areas is to avoid accidental smudging later. Dark areas are highly prone to smudging so it is better to smudge them intentionally rather than accidentally.

#3: As you can see, especially by looking at some of the other shots (not posted), I like to jump to many areas of the portrait instead of focusing on one area until it is completed. This is simply because I get bored working on the same thing for too long and I need to change a lot to keep up my interest. Most artists have more patience and dedication than I have, so this is usually not necessary for most people.

#4: A common question I see on other portraits and I even got this on this one at work: “How do you do the highlights? Erase them into the picture?”. In my case, the answer is simple: don’t draw where there is nothing to be drawn. This also seems to be the case for all high-end artists I have seen (but I have to admit I have only seen a few since I am not very interested in art). For me the eraser is for fixing mistakes or for very subtle highlights, but even for the subtlest of highlights I still try to avoid the eraser and just try to draw them in one pass with pencil.

#5: Hair. For people wondering what tricks were used to make the hair, the answer is simple: None. No indentation methods or otherwise. Each strand is drawn manually, with equal attention to detail paid to each of them. I work from the darks to the lights (usually) and lay down a general shade for each splotch and then fill in each strand in that splotch. Light hairs that cross over dark hairs are outlined before the dark is laid down. Erasers are not for adding light strands over dark strands. If I use erasers, it is only to make tiny adjustments; otherwise things are simply drawn as they are without any advanced techniques coming into play.
If you are struggling with hair, the best advice you could get is simply to slow down. I expect to take 150 hours on this piece; this gives me plenty of time to pay attention to each strand of hair. And if you get bored of working on hair for so long, work on another part of the picture as I am. I spend about an hour on each square inch of hair. If you do the same you will see for yourself how much slowing down helps.

About the Drawing (Stats)
Time So Far: 83 hours.
Time Expected: ~150 hours.
Completion: ~85% not including the background.
Pencils: 4H-6B graphite.
Eraser: Kneadable and rubber.
Smudging: Toilet paper!
Paper: 100 lb.

L. Spiro
Add a Comment:
sensei324 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
To be honest this is one of my favorite pencil portraits I have ever seen. Its so beautiful I love her lips they are so touchable. This piece has made me a fan of yours the first time you presented it I put it in my favorites.
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
Wow, thank you.

L. Spiro
whisperingyoko Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2008  Professional General Artist
i doubt i could spend that much time on one picture ^^; unless i did it over the course of a year ..when i get bored of a picture i usually end up throwing it away rather than move on to another area x:

it's coming along very nice tho ^-^ the hair is amazing :worship: :D
paper-flowers Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
wow.. this will be awesome when you finish! :3
TheSpiritx Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2008
You're a hoss, L. This is turning out very well and the realism isn't lost in transition. Exceptional attention to detail has made itself apparent.
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2008
Thank you, but I have no idea what “hoss” means.

L. Spiro
TheSpiritx Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2008
Oh... figured you might. It means badass, more or less.
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2008
Oh. I remember it from Big Boss Hoss, but really never heard it anywhere else.

Anyway, thank you again. Stay tuned for another drawing already in progress. It is on smoother paper and is much higher quality/detailed.

L. Spiro
Keelena Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
wow thats good o.o...
i should try the grid technique >.<
sensei324 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
How do you know to be discliplined and go through the boringness of drawing or being creative. what gives you the drive to not give up to succeed.
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008

Somehow I maintain some level of excitement/anticipation for the end result. That is probably the biggest drive for me, because if I ever start to feel that I made a mistake or for any other reason the end result will not be pleasing to me, I completely lose all motivation.
Perhaps another way to consider it is that it is always guaranteed that whatever you experience and do is only temporary; no matter how dull the moment it will pass. And if you can overcome that, you get something in the end that lasts forever.

L. Spiro
SleepinDevil Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
wow it really does look great! hope you finish this up sometime soon :) cant wait to check it out
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2008
Thank you.
Work on it has been slow since I moved to Japan but I hope to get back to it soon.

L. Spiro
JoaoRodrigoBaptista Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Beautiful! Can't wait to see the finished piece. It looks great so far!
TheSpiritx Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2008
as usual, very great progress and the promise of a remarkable piece.
ShinnSohai Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2008
Mr.L Spiro,Maybe Drawing Its Your Hobby.You Won't Feel Boring...
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2008
Drawing is always boring. It’s the end result that makes it all worth it.


L. Spiro
manany Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2008  Student Digital Artist
It's wonderful so far
ichigojamy Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2008

This drawing is really amazing!
i would really like to chat to you about this kind of art!

This kind of art is my passion, along with anime art.

ive just joined Deviantart,,
so i have hardly uploaded any pics.. :p
i will tell you when i have uploaded some,

jaa, matane
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2008
Thank you.

If you have any questions you may feel free to ask here; the answers could be useful for others who have the same questions.

L. Spiro
DaleKeogh Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2008
very nice. i like it alot
mushir Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2008
Holy crap I thought this was a BW photo! Awesome detailing!
Monkeyslunch Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow. Tracking your progress back, you've improved a lot. nice work!
joeiepaul Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2008
very awesome! Great and love the detail work
Laila-Jihad Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
wow extremely real. i am truly impressed!
perfect-sky Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2008   Photographer
absolutely G R E A T !
G-man2000 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
This look excellent! You can never go wrong with the grid system! I like how you used the texture on the paper to help add texture to the face. Very nice technique you used for the hair as well, makes it look very realistic!
ellipsisfish Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2008
I like it most BECAUSE it is unfinished. It makes it more conceptual, and I might say even more beautiful.
RipfangDragon Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I adore looking at WIP's. I must admit that this is extremely nice. I think it makes a good stand alone, too. It's very Escher if you look at it like a drawing coming into reality. :3
Jennifurret Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
Really impressive, especially in the detail in the hair. This will be great when it's finished. Only thing, her left eye looks a bit too tall. I'm not sure it that's just how she looks, or because of the drawing.
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
Update. Now it should be better.

L. Spiro
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
Thank you.
It’s the right height but after a lot of close looks I have determined it is not as wide as it should be. You can see the slope of her left eye under the highlight compared to the slope of her right eye in the same region.
This is giving you the feeling it is too tall, and this is why some other people said her left eye looks crossed.
I plan to fix it soon but I have another project (in programming, not art) to finish first.

L. Spiro
Livewire07 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2008   Traditional Artist
It looks great!!! The fabric of the hat looks amazing.
Kindoffreak Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2008
It's really amazing. I adore your patience ^^; I could never finish a drawing that took so long. 45 hours is a long time, but 150 hours is REALLY much! The shading is awsome...And you use toiletpaper xD Me too!
Frances23 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2008   Photographer
Honestly, so amazing - it looks so much like a photograph. I can't see anything wrong with it ^^
Ahuvah Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It looks fantastic so far :faint: the texture and detail on her skin and lips is amazing.
skimlines Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008  Professional Artist
It would be interesting to see a higher resolution scan of this drawing so that we can see the pencil marks you are leaving on the paper.

Right now, it kind of looks like an overexposed black and white photograph. There's photographs for realistic work. Think about why you want this drawing to be realistic, and find the best way to express the why.
L-Spiro Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008
There is more to this drawing than just a girl from a photograph. Perhaps you could say that about my others, but not this one.

And why should realism be exclusive to photographs anyway?

Thank you for your input, but I have thought about why I do realistic work, and without explaining my full motivations, just trust me that I am interested in no other level of realism (cartoons are fine, but when doing something realistic, I really can’t be interested in drawings that stop short).

I guess what people need to understand is that, unlike most artists, I don’t care about getting some message across or putting some hidden meaning into my works. In fact that is actually very annoying to me (when people do that). The type of admiration that turns me on is almost purely technical, so if you graded it from a purely technical standpoint it would have more meaning to me (even if you feel I am missing out on something grander or missing the big picture). Not that it is meaningless as of now; it is just more suited for a different target from me.

L. Spiro
Amphy Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, this is very beautiful! You're extremely talented with a pencil! I wish I could do half the job that you've done already! The eyes especially I think are a very nice part of the picture :heart: Great job!
TheSpiritx Featured By Owner May 29, 2008
As usual, very nice work. Not being an artist myself, I can't give any worthwhile critique that hasn't already been mentioned, so just keep it up. I look forward to your stuff.
caligaris-mirror Featured By Owner May 29, 2008
You do an excellent job. I don't know how anyone else feels but the eye on the right side of the drawing (her left, I believe) seems off.
fallensecrets Featured By Owner May 29, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
my gosh, the hair looks soo real.. BRILLIANT job!! and i'm happy i'm not the only one who uses grids from time to time.. :D
Verta Featured By Owner May 28, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist

i myself am not a fan of grid- drawing, but hey whatever works right?

Emi-cha Featured By Owner May 19, 2008
I like the way the picture looks like something happened to it. Like it's slowly fading away. Your technique is awesome.
Aydaa Featured By Owner May 14, 2008   Traditional Artist
Wow? :wow:
What more can I say. Can't wait to see it when it's finished!
drunkmonk666 Featured By Owner May 13, 2008
brilliant even as a WIP its bloody brilliant!
Enzolog Featured By Owner May 9, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
LadyMiah Featured By Owner May 8, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
uh, low quality photos are sooo annoying when people send and ask "please draw it"... though it's a pretty interesting challange.
NoSixjl Featured By Owner May 7, 2008
two words,
SandraSaar Featured By Owner May 7, 2008  Professional Artist
I'm totally awestruck by the realism and detail in this picture. You truly have huge talent. :heart:
I, aswell, get tired of drawing one area for too long, but your patience is beyond amazing. :omg:
Stunning work so far! :love:
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
April 5, 2008
Image Size
695 KB


120 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon PowerShot G9
Shutter Speed
1/1244 second
Focal Length
17 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Feb 22, 2011, 2:15:39 PM
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Sensor Size