I recently became fascinated with the Poly Art movement. If you don’t know what that is, you can find it by searching “Poly Art.” Here is a fantastic tutorial on how to do Poly Art, too.
However, at a serious disadvantage after not installing PhotoShop (and being too poor to try to afford it!) I decided to try something like poly art, but in a different way. Instead of creating geometric shapes, I would use the skin contours, lighting and shades in a photograph of myself to create an illustrated version of myself. Perhaps soon I will try to attempt poly art, but I will let you know how that goes and the process behind trying.
Firstly I traced around the outlines of differently coloured shades and tones on the photograph. The hair was by far the most difficult part. I simply used a white line tool to recreate the different shapes. I used Paint throughout the entire process to create this. So there is no need for fancy Photoshop programmes and editing software. Although, it would probably look much more professional if you used it.
The whole process took me approximately three hours to do. So don’t try this if you are the type of artist or person to get impatient easily. Usually I can be quite impatient, but I was determined to finish this masterpiece.
Once I had outlined every shade I deemed I needed to include to recreate the appropriate technique and photograph, I started to fill in the shapes with block colours from the centre of (or the most common) colour in the shape itself. For example, I used the lighter parts of the colours for my teeth so they would stand out brighter amongst the darker shades for my lips. Some tweeking and slight alteration of the tones was involved and needed to assure that it was as realistic looking as possible.
As you can see, this was already starting to evolve to look like myself. The hair was very difficult to do. It was hard to decide which areas to shade and which areas to leave a basic, neutral colour. I wanted to keep some highlights but had to remember the lighting of the photograph came from the right hand side, not the left.
This was the finished result. As you can see, it is far from the superior geometric strategies and techniques used by the Poly Art artists, but it is unique and original in its own way. I chose a dark red for the background as it is my favourite colour, and also because it made the grey stand out a heck of a lot more. I will be attempting some more soon, but they will be more geometric and far more Poly Art like.
It’s all about learning and experimenting!