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Danner James's Portfolio

Freelance Portrait Artist, Book Illustrator, & More

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illustration for The Christmas Token
Portrait Art
Over 30 days ago

Recent Kudos


Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
This is a new one Danner. Love the fine detail work you put into her hair and the ever so slight wrinkles beginning to show on her face. You are a genius.
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
Thanks, Ingrid. Always so kind. I'm very happy you like it. I have many more coming for a new book I'm illustrating.
Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
Oh wonderful! Is it for a client or are you making a coffee table book? :)
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
It is a short Christmas book. It has 14 drawing illustrations inside. I'll do an oil painting for the cover.
Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
Wow, sounds fabulous! Congrats! :)
Mikki Major - Over 30 days ago
Awesome work!
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
Thank you, Mikki. Much appreciated.
Laurie Ward - Over 30 days ago
Has the softness of an old photograph : )
Bernadette Lynn Carty - Over 30 days ago
I love to illustrate old movie stars! Nice work!
Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
Danner, you never told us, how you came to do the style you do. It is so soft, yet realistic. It makes me feel like I could reach out and rub my finger across the little boy in your portfolio's face and feel the soft baby peach fuzz that would be there.
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
It just sort of developed over time. I try to create atmosphere between the viewer and the subject. The technique takes a lot of time, though, and I'm still looking for a paper that will make the process less taxing. So far, I haven't found it. I just got some watercolor paper from France that is supposed to do the trick. It cost a lot. Sadly, It didn't make things any easier. By the way, the boy is actually a girl with her hair under the hat.
Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
Oops, I am gendre guessing challenged. lol :) My oldest son was such a beautiful looking little boy, that everyone thought xtue/he was a little girl. lol :) Have you tried hand made paper.Do you need a smoother texture, or a rougher texture?
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
No, I've never tried it. I've tried every texture imaginable; each have there pros and their cons. The paper I just bought is cotton. I've not tried the back side of the paper. Usually, I use the back side of papers because it's often not treated with a brittle sizing. I'm thinking that there will be a marked difference when I try that. The paper is Arches 140lb hot pressed watercolor paper. It is highly recommended by a lot of very reputable artists for drawing. The issue I have is having to fill in the very small crevices that are missed drawing because they are slightly deeper. On dark passages (4b and darker) I go back over everything using the point of a very fine mechanical pencil. I like for every transition and tone to be devoid of inconsistencies; seamless and smooth like skin is; no hard lines at all, either. I do this on mid tones with a very sharp 2h and again on light passages with a 5h. It is a tedious process, but I'm happy with the outcome. What I would love is for the crevice depth to be not overly deep; just enough to hold the darkest darks. The most important for me is consistency in the depth. When the crevices are too deep the only other choice is to damage the tooth by applying too much pressure and that looks awful to me.
Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
Wow, that sounds like a lot of work Danner. Have you tried explaining to the paper companies exactly what you need. Maybe someone makes a paper like that for publishing books, or a very closely woven fabric for silkscreening. Sometimes, things you wouldn't normally think of can resolve your problem. Or what about the paper they use for creating those chinese screens that are screen printed on. I don't know if they have texture through them, but just offering some ideas.

The effort you put into your work and getting it meticulous, shows though, in that your consistency of drawing is perfect. If you match up the line work in one, it will be the same in any other one you have created. Now with that thorough a process, how long does it take for you to complete a drawing like the one of the little girl with her hair up in the drawing on your portfolio?
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
It took 3 to 5 days; 10 -12 hour days. Establishing the likeness and setting the darks and lights comes very quickly; the first day. The remainder of time is spent working the transitions and texture.
Ingrid Zacharias - Over 30 days ago
Wow, amazing. You are very dedicated to your art and it shows in the work you do. Do you get called upon to do a lot of portraits, as I think they should have hired you to do Kate Middleton's portrait, your drawings are so accurate and true to life that I really think you would have done a better job that the artist they hired. In fact, they really do make me feel like I could reach into the picture and touch the person. Yours are not just strokes on a page, but rather they are pieces of the subjects personality being carefully woven together to unveil who they really are.
Danner James - Over 30 days ago
Wow! That's a big complement. I do get a fair amount of portrait business. I also did a fair amount of portraits in the book I just finished illustrating. Right now, I'm working hard on oil portraits; started a new one a day or so ago.
Grego Pulp - Over 30 days ago
expression like bette davis