In April 2014 I received a commission to make a portrait of Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez for Colombian magazine El Malpensante.
A few days after I received the commission, Márquez died, which gave the task a certain poignancy and probably also changed the direction the magazine feature about him was heading.
I started by creating a lot of sketches of him, to get a feel for his facial features.
As I found in my portrait of John Hegarty, glasses can give good structure and dimension to a persons face, especially when applying the flat-colored style. I was happy to discover that Márquez at some point wore very suitable glasses for this purpose.
I do not think I achieve proper likeness in my portraits, but in a way it feels like I am doing my due dilligence by creating so many sketches, and I hope some of the details I learn about a person’s features, find their way into the final image. At some point in the process I simply see the subject in my image, even if there is not perfect likeness.
I was for a long time working on a different version for the final (below right), but the client wanted him to look more happy. I used part of the earlier version (the blue layer) however as an overlay in the final image (below left). In that way I could bring two sides of the personality into the image.
El Malpensante (Colombia)