Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mother’s Day: From Video to Still to Art

This Mother’s Day called for something special. I wanted to go beyond giving the usual gift card, flowers, jewelry, or brunch this time. I wanted to give her something that would remind her every day what it meant to me to have her as my mother. Something that would make Mom a little misty-eyed.

Then I remembered that in 2001, I had my camera rolling when my grandparents decided to share a dance with each other in their living room. It was a sweet and genuine moment, something that reminds my family to this day what a charming couple they were, even though they have since passed on.

I decided to transform this video into a piece of art that my mom could add to her gallery of vintage photos of my grandparents. Black and white stipple would be perfect!

Here’s how I did it.

Capturing the Image

First I saved a still from the video I recorded back in 2001 of my grandparents dancing. They had locked eyes for a split second before bursting into laughter.


Next I used Photoshop to blur the background of the image, giving it the illusion of depth.


Using Photoshop and Lightroom, I converted the image to black and white and added noise to give it the effect of pointilism. This would help guide me when I began the sketch. I printed out the image onto copying paper and drew guide lines at the center.

Getting the Outline

I wanted to be sure that I captured the personalities of my grandparents perfectly, so I traced a basic outline of the photo rather than drawing it freehand. To do this, I taped the printout to a brightly lit window so that I could trace over it with the bristol board.


I taped the bristol board over the printout, carefully lining up the crosshairs so that the image would be centered.



I traced over the major outlines of the image with pencil, and shaded in the darker areas so that they would act as guides when I drew over them in later.


The finished outline:


Now for the shading!

My drawing tools of choice:

  • Bristol board, 100 lbs weight, 11×14 size
  • black Micron pen #005, 0.20 mm

It is important to use acid-free paper and archival ink so that the ink doesn’t fade and the paper doesn’t yellow over time. These do the trick.



Following the basic outline, I used the printouts as guides for shading.



The finished piece


I spent about a month and a half completing the drawing. I finished it yesterday, just in time to give it to my mom today for Mother’s Day today. She loved it, and indeed got a little misty eyed. This will be a Mother’s Day to remember. 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!