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Drawing Kawhi Leonard: UPDATE - Finished product

Since posting the drawings of the Big Three, there have been a number of requests for Mrs. Wilco, my wife, to give a walk-through of her approach as she does one of them. Well, here it is: a step-by-step look at her progression through the process of drawing Kawhi Leonard.

[Editor's note: This entire piece is told by Mrs. Wilco. I just assisted with putting the post together. -jrw]

When I start a drawing of an athlete, first I need to have an image that really looks like him or her, and I spend quite a while grabbing a whole lot of images, and then another chunk of time choosing just the right one to draw.

Beyond pencil and paper, I require several measuring devices (which aren't always necessary with a portrait) in order to keep my proportions correct.

I start by putting the image into Photoshop. Most of the time I chop elements from several different photos in order to create a single image. I then make prints of them in the size I'll be drawing, as well as closeups for details. I get printouts of the image several ways, some that highlight the lighter areas, and others to darken the shadows so that I have a variety of different layers of detail I can work with.


Using a #2 pencil, I do a very light sketch, and double check by measuring to be sure I'm correct, usually starting with the head.

Then I pick up my art pencil, and with this one of Kawhi I'm using a Conte a Paris, Pierre Noire, which is the pencil I normally use. (My previous portraits of Tim, Manu and Tony were all done with charcoal, which I hardly ever use). I chose this pencil because this drawing is much smaller than the ones I did of the Big Three, and I needed to be able to get a very fine point for the detail, which the Conte allows me to do, without smudging.


Once I've drawn the basic shape, and used the Conte pencil to give me some basic value. I take the chamois and blend the pencil into the paper.


I then pick up my eraser and start bringing the highlights back.


I do this over and over again until I start to achieve the desired look.


All the while using my measuring sticks to be certain I'm dead on.


Seeing as how I'm aiming to make this absolutely perfect, the process then consists of me drawing an eyeball, erasing an eyeball, drawing an eyeball, erasing an eyeball. 7

Then drawing an ear, erasing an ear ...


It's a lot like running a pick and roll over and over again until there's finally a crack in the defense.


Only with me, instead of pick and repick, the process is: draw, blend, erase, draw blend erase.



(Sorry about this transition here, I got really focused and went a while without taking any pictures.)






After four hours of this kind of repetitive drawing from Saturday afternoon through the evening, we have the beginning of Kawhi on the paper.


Some more time on it this morning; now we have the final product.


And now it's time for one final plea for all you wonderful Pounders to vote, if you would be so kind, for my drawing that was chosen to be a finalist in the You Be the Judge Art Contest, with a grand prize worth over $10,000. The contest is sponsored and organized by Brian Neher, who told all of the artists involved that they could use any means necessary to get everyone they could to vote (and vote often) for their work.

Well, the voting ends tonight, Sunday the 16th, at midnight, Eastern Standard Time. So if you could please go to this page, even if you've already done so, and vote for my drawing, which is Entry #14, Live Model 1, by Michal Dye. It looks like this.


I drew it in a very different style and technique than the one I described above. It was drawn while standing in front of my first live model, a wonderful woman who kept quite still. I drew it completely free hand, without any measuring tools whatsoever.

On the voting page on Brian's website, underneath all of the images that made the finals, there's a list of the names of the pictures and contestants. If you could click on the radial button next to Entry # 14, and the scroll to the bottom of the page to click "Submit." I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks so much for your support and kind comments.

-Michal Dye