art & bla · Ep. 2 · Portrait Drawing of Leon Bridges


(In case you´re wondering about some phrases or words I use in this text: I´ve webbed in some phrases and words that are used specifically in Texas. I thought it would be a nice gimmick since Leon Bridges is from Fort Worth in Texas.)

I reckon some of you already know I quite enjoy drawing portaits.

I'm sweating like a hooker in church though every time I start a new one (it´s the fear you feel when you´re staring at a white piece of paper, many of you know what I mean..) - because I want it to turn out great, I guess. It has to meet my own expectations...and I myself am my harshest critic.

Of course this ain´t my first rodeo - but the nervousness about every new work just stays like glue. The good thing is, I really think it's one (or the most) important part of the ingredients needed to draw a good piece of art. I've gotten used to it being part of the process and I know I just have to work my way through it. I think most artists have something like that (some odd syndrome) while they´re working on their art.

If I´d be too cool about it and the nervousness wouldn´t show up for work, I´m pretty sure my pencils wouldn´t find the right lines.


Portrait Drawing of retro soul singer Leon Bridges from Fort Worth Texas by Munich based contemporary drawing artist Susanne Margarete Lutz


So for this one I picked Leon Bridges, a great musician. He´s a retro soul singer from Fort Worth, Texas. I saw and heard him for the first time just a few weeks ago, on July 6th at the Munich Backstage. A friend of mine had an extra ticket, so I went with them.

It was an awesome concert and the crowd was peaceful and euphoric at the same time, singing along all the songs while gently rocking and sipping their beers.

I decided the next day that Leon Bridges would well deserve being my next celebrity candidate for a portrait drawing.

So I searched the internet for some photo or film material of his face. If I draw a celebrity I always use a few sources to draw from, because all the material is usually copyrighted. I draw from 4-5 photos or film-sequences I find, I mirror the images or sometimes it´s even like I´m working myself through a collage. I´d take the nose from this photo, the eyes from another, then the hair from the next and so on. So in the end noone can say you took my material to draw someone. The finished artwork is always a completely new picture that doesn´t exist anywhere yet. I made my own picture so to speak, my drawing.


It is very rare that I choose a facial pose without the depicted's eyes looking directly at the viewer. However, in Leon's case, I found the hairstyle to be so important and meaningful about him (it encapsulates the whole retro thing about his style) that I went for a very lateral three-quarter view of his face.

The second reason I wanted to put his face in a sideways position is his nose. He doesn´t have an average looking nose which makes his face even more interesting. He has a real - what I call - character nose. Such peculiarities can be lost in the frontal view of a face.

(Just recently I drew a model who also had such a special nose. But because his face was so adorable from the front too, I decided on a front view, to capture that special look he has when he's looking at something or someone - I had to draw him like this. But the nose was lost that way. I think I'll draw him again soon to capture the uniqueness of his side profile.

Usually the most important thing for me - what I´m most worried and nervous about - is whether I can capture the expression and the look of the eyes. So I draw the eyes very early in the process to see where I'm going. If the eyes don't turn out exactly how I feel they have to be and how I want them to look, the whole drawing is absolutely worthless to me.)


I kind of layered this one, I started with watercolor, then pencils, then watercolor again, then pencils. Most of the time I held a pencil and a brush, as I kept switching back and forth between the two. My materials were pencils by Faber Castell, watercolor and gouache by Schmincke and paper by Daler Rowney  (200g, finegrain, heavyweight). 

I mostly put in some nice extras - like I really care for backgrounds and details. (I´m practicing different techniques to learn how to leave more blank spaces too, but the detailing will never really leave me I think). Here I researched the first few notes of a Leon Bridges song ("coming home", with 6 b´s!) to draw them on the shirt collar with clef and lines. The whole shirt is made up, it doesn't exist like that anywhere else :) I wanted it to look like a musicians shirt, also texan and somehow retro. According to Leon's style. This is how the shirt became a real fashion eye-catcher in the drawing.


Detail shirt collar of Portrait Drawing of retro soul singer Leon Bridges from Fort Worth Texas by Munich based contemporary drawing artist Susanne Margarete Lutz


I´m quite happy with the drawing. As they would say in Texas: I got-r-done! And it withstands my critique on most points.


It´s a bit sad I can´t sell these celebrity drawings though. I try to contact the person or their management to get permission to sell my work, but of course most of the time you get no response. 

In this case I´m still waiting for an answer. It´s just a few days ago since I have sent my email.

I know artists who sell such works without permission of the depicted, but it´s always a risk. The legally - and only - right way to do it, is with the permission of the depicted person.

I'll wait a few more days - and if nothing happens, it'll just go to my archive.


So folks, it's late now! Time to put the chairs in the wagon! I´m fixin´ to go to sleep :)

Bye! Y´all have a good night!



A tiny progress insight:

progress photos of the drawing



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