Phone Booth by Charlie O'Shields

So after some coaxing by many of you, I decided to try my first doodlewash portrait. This is sketched from a photo of Philippe that I took a few years ago, and believe it or not, we were still in Kansas City! This is the Westport neighborhood that I mentioned in a previous post and an old British phone booth there. And this doesn’t quite look like Philippe.

I realized the reason I’m personally not a fan of portraits is that I’m not very good at getting a likeness of a specific person. A fraction of a line off here or there and suddenly you’ve made an entirely different person or worse, something dark and unnatural that doesn’t look human at all.

It’s not very satisfying and really stressful for me. In short, I don’t really enjoy doing portraits. I still prefer architecture, animals, birds and people just hanging out in the background of a scene without trying to step up and grab focus. Philippe says I should keep trying them, so I’ll probably give it another shot somewhere down the road, but not right away.

I still like the outcome as I thought the phone booth turned out fairly well, and this does indeed look like some man is standing in front of one. It’s also fun that it’s still a shot of Kansas City and not somewhere in London. Behind this particular phone booth is a red caboose which adds to the unexpected atmosphere of this area of the city.

Westport was originally a town that was annexed by Kansas City in 1897. Now it’s a prime entertainment district with shops, restaurants, bars and night clubs. This weekend was the annual Westport Art Fair where they block off the street to display work from top artists showcasing their original art, unique jewelry, fine crafts and more. We didn’t go this year, preferring to stay home and quietly doodlewash our own little pieces of art, far away from the crowds.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

66 replies on “Phone Booth Portrait

  1. Well, whoever the man is that you painted, he is very handsome and I think he looks exactly like Phillippe. I know, I know, I have never seen Phillipe! I love the red phone booth framing him, a very wonderful composition and color story! Three cheers for Phillipe!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Lol…thanks Cathe! That made me giggle my friend!! I just read your comment to the real Philippe and he laughed! 😃❤️ So happy you like it! I was pleased with the drawing, but just wanted to get a better likeness. He said it looked like him from the top of the nose up, but I gave him “frog mouth,” whatever that is. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hum, if that’s a frog mouth, I’ll take one of those too please!

        I like the underlining theme of all the comments – we should follow our desires and paint what strikes us!

        You know what’s so cool, we all paint in our unique styles and come together to rally and encourage!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know!! Thanks for that Cathe. I’m always a great cheerleader for other people’s work, but stink when it comes to cheering myself on! That’s why I love you all so much! ❤️❤️❤️We have such a wonderful and supportive community here! 😃😃

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  2. First, the phone booth is amazing! And I don’t know what Phillippe looks like so I cannot judge the likeness but the love the portrait! You even got the texture of the sweater! I cannot do a portrait in watercolor alone. I always use colored pencil for shading and features. I love drawing faces but I don’t often do actual portraits. Great piece!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kari!! ❤️I’m super happy you like it. I got fairly frustrated during it because I couldn’t get the face right so I switched to the sweater which I could somehow figure out better! lol There’s actually a photo of Philippe on my About page I just remembered, but it’s stylized as we were playing with a beret his brother sent him from Paris. 😊

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      1. A nice picture of Phillippe with the beret. But it was too dark for me to see the features. I do understand the frustration as I experienced them when I try to draw real people. I have tried using a grid when I really wanted to get the features right but that’s too much work.. 😊

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  3. OK, ditto what everyone just said, Charlie. This is a wonderful painting, and a fantastic portrait. I love all the shades and shadows on the face in particular. I hope you don’t stop trying them! I really enjoyed this painting…..may be my favorite of yours yet! Oh, and the animals you’ve done were right up there too, for me. Love this! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy you like it Laura! Thank you! I was pleased with the result, but just enjoy sketching animals and architecture more. I guess if I just keep practicing maybe I’ll develop a love for people heads too. Hehe…. Philippe really wants me to keep trying as well. Probably because he wants a better portrait of himself! Lol 💜💜😃

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL! You should do whatever calls you loudest. But I just think it’s funny sometimes the subjects that scare us away seem to be the ones we’re meant to do. I never ever ever would have tried drawing a person (since failing over and over in high school) until I went to open studio, where they had a model. The first model, I just did my own thing and watched the other artists. The second time though, I joined in. Then I drew a portrait and right away people could recognize it. I am still astounded at this since I could never do this over twenty years ago!! Still, the thought of painting a portrait really scares me. So I know what you’re saying……I just think you definitely have “it” in you!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Haha…yes…I know you can do them! I’m challenging you to do it in doodlewash! 😉 Hehe… but in all seriousness I used to sketch in charcoal and conte crayon and could get a fairly good face to come out. Watercolor is tough in portraits! But, all the more reason you should totally try it! 💜😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Charlie – you ARE good at portraits. Even if it doesn’t look like Phillipe, you created a very handsome version of him! Or is he even BETTER looking! 🙂 If so, you are a lucky guy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So this is what you spoke of earlier Charlie, I hadn’t seen it at the time… I really like it! Certainly it has the charm I spoke of; a handsome (and very human!) figure with nice skin tone and simple touches of shade which work really well. What’s more, it’s lifted by the background – something I often really struggle to achieve. Great stuff; I look forward to seeing you tackle it again, if you choose to.

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  6. This is totally awesome…I love how the red, the angular lines, and the shape of the booth sets off the organic curls and curves of Philippe’s hair and face! I agree with Philippe: you should definitely continue doing portraits!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know Nina commented, but I have to chime in too. A painting is not a photograph and this is a wonderful painting. And, as you know, people look different in different photos, too, so just what is an exact image or portrait?…I’m positive it has the feeling or spirit of Philippe, regardless of the actual mirror imageness it may contain.

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  8. I’m super duper IMPRESSED with your portrait of Philippe! I think you are being hard on yourself, Charlie! But I totally understand! I am such a perfectionist myself. I’d say keep doing what you LOVE drawing but maybe, just maybe try a portrait again some day. And maybe start with someone you do NOT know. Then maybe it will be easier. 😊🎨💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fantastic work! Please do not be so hard on yourself, this is wonderful. You have such a great eye for detail and you convey character so well. Love the eyes and how they are looking off into the distance, love the shadows and saturation of color. I do hope you continue, you are a talent. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so sweet of you to say Haunani! ❤️Yeah…I think as others have said, it helps if you don’t know the subject. I’ll definitely try more but pick a stranger next time! Hehe Still…not sure humans will ever trump animals for me, but who knows! My journey is just beginning! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is really great. Getting an exact likeness is really, *really* hard so maybe don’t focus on that. You’re just drawing people and as long as they look like people then they don’t need to be anyone in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charlie, you do a great job on architecture! I’ve had a fab time looking over your doodlewash posts. Congrats on the new job! Kansas City looks like a fun place with cool architecture. Good for you for trying portraits! I like this one of Philippe. neat how you have him framed with the british telephone box. I’ve recently tried to draw a portrait of my older daughter for class, intending to paint her this next week, and the following two weeks in another painting group we’re doing portraits. I am NOT a big fan of portraits. but it’s a good learning experience, n’est ce pas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Rachel! 😃 That’s exciting that you’re doing a portrait! I can’t wait to see it! And yeah…I’m not a fan of drawing them, but that’s actually all the more reason to DO it! Lol I like architecture so I draw it more, and I’m best at it. A surprise to no one! Hehe…if I just drew people more I would probably get good at them too…eventually. Can’t wait to see your portraits! 👍🏻😃

      Liked by 1 person

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