Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to: Cheesy Promo Shot

As I recently had to provide a photo of myself for a newspaper article, I thought I would share some tips for creating perhaps the most dreaded piece of self-promotional material an illustrator is ever asked to provide.

First off, don't bother to get a haircut. It will do nothing about the real problem: your face. Just wash your face and your hair so they aren't too greasy and reflective.

Find a fairly large drawing to pretend you're painting or inking. Tape it to your drawing board to create a sense of authenticity.

If you have a window in your working space, include it in the background. This will provide natural backlighting so you don't have to take a flash photograph.

Use the flash anyway because the lighting from the window will make your face too dark. Be sure to get some amateur-looking flash shadows in your image.

Do not get anyone to help you take the photo. One, they will get bored before taking the necessary 100 images required to get one decent one. Two, they know what you really look like and will be happy with any result.

Take the photos yourself, but be sure to not use a tripod. This will result in too clear of a photograph. Blurriness is preferred. Using a tripod also will require constantly breaking your pose and create unnecessary exercise, going back and forth to set the timer & press the shutter release. Using a tripod also will result in natural foreshortening, to be avoided at all costs. Instead, hold the camera (facing you) at arms length with your non-drawing hand.

Experiment with several different angles. The best angle will show your face, drawing hand and your drawing in an unrealistic, and preferably physically impossible, manner.

Take several hundred photos using your digital camera. Choose the one that has the best lighting, composition, color and looks the least like you. You want a photo that will not enable the average reader to recognize you if they saw you walking down the street.

Now the fun part: Photoshop. Take the image into everyone's favorite photo retouching program and make the following adjustments: Remove any facial blemishes that your dermatologist or plastic surgeon has been unable to correct, using the "ugly-healing brush." Whiten teeth and whites of the eyes with the "dodge" tool. Remove goiters and multiple chins with the "clone" brush. Add hair with the "grass" brush.

Add a sparkle to your smile, a gleam to your eye, and there you have it. You've created a person just as ugly as you, but one whom no one can prove is really you.

1 comment:

  1. Imagine what you could do if you actually looked at the paper while you are drawing!