304 – Snape (includes process)

1000 drawings, Illustration, Life drawing, Portraits

My tribute to Alan Rickman.

Nearly every day I read the Harry Potter books to my child (once we finish a book, he’s allowed to watch the film). Naturally we are both completely obsessed with the magical world, the story and the characters. When I read, I try to include the voices and intonations of each character so as to make it fun for my kid. And no other character gives me such pleasure to read than Snape, as inspired by Alan Rickman’s stellar performance.

I doubt very much my acting skills are anywhere close to doing him justice; hopefully my art comes a little closer.

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This piece on tumblr >

This piece on deviantart >

Here was the process:

Step 1 – light pencils

Snape steps 1-2 by Cat Byrne

Step 2 – high contrast inks
aka “the clip art phase” – probably the least visually rewarding of the lot. Done with a small brush I reserve for Indian ink.

Step 3
Fill in the rest of the ink. With a flat brush also reserved for Indian ink.

Snape steps 3-4 by Cat Byrne

Step 4 – ink shading
With a pen nib and Indian ink.

Step 5 – Splatter
Following erasing the pencils and adding a second coat of ink on the solid black, splatters in watercolour; using a soft toothbrush for the finer splatters, and a small bush for the bigger ones.

Snape steps 5-6 by Cat Byrne

Step 6 – Finishing touches
I could have done a better job of visually recording what I did in this phase, but really it’s just a lot of “whatever works” as the result after step 5 didn’t capture his character enough. But mostly it involved blending some of the splatter with a damp brush (after the splatter had dried). Also touching up of the ink, darkening and blending the edges, and adding some white highlights.
Total time about 5 hours, including drying times. Materials are Windsor & Newton Indian ink and watercolours on Bockingford 140LB HP watercolour paper. Approx 7″ x 11″ (19cm x 28cm).

Snape tribute to Alan Rickman by Cat Byrne

Rest in peace Mr. Rickman, and thank you for your genius.

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11 thoughts on “304 – Snape (includes process)”

  1. Wow, Cat, this is a great portrait, I think you’ve totally captured the character and the man. And thanks for explaining how you did it, fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rebecca. I kept stopping thinking I was finished, and then looking at him again, thinking “oh no no no, that looks nothing like him”. It’s interesting what a couple extra hours of faffing can do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • …as long as it’s well considered faffing, as yours is! I enjoyed the fact that you were reading the HP books with your son and only letting him see the film once it’s finished – cause that’s exactly what I did! Great minds… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed!!! There’s so much more detail in the books. Oh and a funny anecdote. My kid doesn’t like Voldemort much, so I have to read him as if he’s just inhaled a load of helium.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog pleasing me as much , I am pleased to inform you that I have nominated you to the Liebster Awards.
    A challenge awaits you on my blog, very soon to read your answers to this challenge!
    Friendly !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you for thinking of me, but I took part once and it took me so much time, which I have so very little of at the moment. I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to pass it on, if you do nominate me. But thank you!!! X


    • Thank you Patricia. I’d initially thought I was finished, and then realised the eyes just didn’t do him justice. Ah, those eyes. Sigh. 😦


  3. Pingback: 356-357 Robin | 1000 Drawings by Cat Byrne

  4. Pingback: Win a free print of Snape | 1000 Drawings by Cat Byrne

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