Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Derek Jeter Painting - Part I

I wanted to do a different post and share with you a Derek Jeter painting that I recently finished. I always enjoyed art throughout school, but enjoyed it less and less in high school as I was being told what to draw. I didn’t like that. I wanted to draw or paint sports-scapes and not snowy landscapes. So I stopped doing art after 11th grade and never touched it again through college. I started checking out some amazing artists’ websites – guys who focused on sports as their subjects. Then after seeing some inspiring painted baseball card sets, such as Diamond Kings and National Chicle, it gave me the itch again. I chose to paint a photo of Derek Jeter that I always really liked. It's a unique angle of Jeter's patented jump throw.

I have always been most comfortable working in acrylic, so I bought a 14x18 canvas art board and a small set of paints and a few brushes. I got these at a toy store, so I wasn’t working with hi-tech supplies. I don’t have room for a dedicated space in my tiny apartment, so I did this whole project on my kitchen counter.

I started by drawing grid boxes on the canvas (in pencil) so as to keep the drawing to scale. I would never survive without this method. This took probably an hour or so.

Next up, I did the background. I actually did the light blue sky and then the dark blue stadium at separate times but failed to document it. I decided to keep the background simple as opposed to making it as detailed as it was in the original photo.

Once that was mostly done, I started painting Jeter. I did the shoes first, and then his skin and the gray road uniform. I also added some darker gray to show the wrinkles in the pants and jersey and add some dimension.

My next step was to work on some of the details and shading. I added color to his number and belt, as well as additional tones of gray on his uniform.

After doing some minor touch ups, I was finished! I’m a perfectionist and am always critical of my work (not just artwork, but work in general), so I see a lot of blemishes when I look at this. I always will. But for not painting a picture in about 10 years, I think I did pretty well jumping back in. I’m most pleased with the shading on the back of Jeter’s head and his jersey. 

Here is a shot of my painting with the actual photo. I apologize to whatever photographer I stole this from.

I have yet to hang this in my apartment yet, but I'll do that soon. I'm not sure what my ultimate goal is, but I do want to do another one. Maybe one day I'll be good enough to commission a piece. Would be a nice side source of income, but that's not why I'm doing it right now.

In part 2 of this post, I’ll show how this painting could look as a baseball card in a popular set that everyone is going gaga for. Let’s see if I can hack it with the artists who do this for a living!


  1. I really like this, AJ. Came out great!

  2. Nice. I always wish I had that talent that you clearly do. Definitely do some more. I like the photo progression that you showed in the post as well.

  3. Wow for not having painted for over 10 years a you've done a great job. As a fellow artist I know exaclty what you mean about having other people tell you what to draw. It sucks. I do have at least one constructive critisism about the painting and you can take it for what it's worth and don't let it detract from the fact you've produced a great piece of art here. I think if you'd have added a little detail to the stands it would have helped break up the bottom of the painting so it's not just one big patch of blue. I thinking the white strip by the upper deck and maybe a little detail on the score board would have helped with a reference point. But like I said take it with a grain of salt, I ain't no Picasso either. And it's quite obvious that you've got some great talent to work with. Like anything you'll only get better the more you paint. Cheers.

  4. Really great work, can't wait to see it on a 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch canvass :)

  5. Very, very well done. Please keep it up. It's a shame your HS art teacher was one of those stifling by-the-book types that don't allow kids to really express themselves. I'm looking forward to seeing some more work from you, and I'm sure this will look great when it gets the GQ treatment.