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"Bear of the Old School" - Brian Urlacher

This is the very beginning of my Brian Urlacher painting. You can see the preliminary drawing I did, and also the black & white picture I used. After starting it, I began to realize how difficult it was to adjust the colors in comparison to the black & white.

I'm not actually a Bears fan, but I am a big fan of Brian Urlacher. He's a machine! Actually, this originally started as a project for myself, but after I completed it, I knew my good friend, Nick would enjoy it more than I would. He's a huge Bears fan, so I knew he would have more of an appreciation than I.

The preliminary drawing went fairly quickly, so it helped the painting to go more easily. This was my first painting of a football player, so I'm very happy with the results. That said, I'm planning on many more football player paintings in the future.

This is where it's most evident that I'm left-handed. haha It's easier for me to paint from right to left, because my hand won't smudge the paint as I'm working.

At this point, I've already finished the background completely and have finished the "other" player in the painting. I also, just started adding in the navy blue color to Urlacher's uniform, face mask, and blacks and white to his glove.

I was originally going to paint the background a greyish color, but felt like it would make the painting have a "blah" feeling to it. But, I wanted to make sure the background didn't smother the subject out. So, I went with a white and light brown mixture to give it a nice soft background, that didn't include any colors that would take any attention away from the main focus of the work. Can't have that! haha

Not a huge progression from that last picture to this one. Essentially, I've just added in some oranges, and put the first colors into the helmet. I've yet to add shadows and highlights to it...that's the last thing I do before being finished.

One can't really tell from the picture, but I've also started to add some whites to his jersey already. This is in preparation of the highlights contained in his jersey.

At this point I'm still struggling a bit on deciding colors and shadows and all that fun stuff.

I also added some highlights to the facemask area. It helps give it some depth. I really enjoyed painting this one..I guess because I'm such a huge fan of Mr. Urlacher's. I may even paint him again depending on the time frame I have available. Funny thing this point in the painting, I was still planning on keeping it for myself. Oh, selfish me.

This one is more of a substantial jump in progression. As you can see, I've added a lot of detail and finished a large portion of the painting at this point. The helmet is finished, his jersey is almost complete, and the main portion left, is painting his face and adding shadows and highlights to his skin and jersey.

It was hard to paint his tattoo, because the coloring is hard to duplicate. With tattoos, they fade and they aren't as vibrant as they once were. I found it very difficult to replicate the color or his armband tattoo.

It was fun at this point because I could "see the light at the end of the tunnel". It's a great feeling when you know a project is almost done. At that point, I'm ready to just stay up until 5am so I can get it done. Once I get started in a "groove" I'm ready to paint and paint for hours and hours. I can't wait to paint another football player in the near future. Just a question of who.

This is the almost final product. I added a few finishing touches here and there, but nothing major. I was quite glad to be done, and I had already decided a week or two earlier that I would surprise my friend and give it to him, while I was back home visiting my parents.

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