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Edel Rodriguez
Ray Barretto for The New Yorker
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Final image is 9" x 12", Acrylic and oil based ink on bark paper.
First, I want to thank everyone on Drawger for all the terrific posts you contributed in 2007.  It takes time and effort to be part of the site and I really love reading and looking at all the material here.  This has really become a great place to visit often, meet new friends, and laugh when a laugh is needed.  Anyways, thanks for everything!  And much luck in the New Year.

I thought I'd put up this drawing that's in The New Yorker this week.  It's of the Latin drummer Ray Barretto.  Some sketches are below and a video of one of his performances from the 70's to give you an idea of his sound.  When I get jobs to do portraits of musicians I usually try to find some video footage of them in their element to get a feel of how they move and what their energy is like.  Barretto had a lot of energy.
Drawing never gets easy.  When I get these assignments I usually think about the subject for a while (procrastination).  Over time, I've figured out that the best thing to do is just start throwing lines around and see if the lines go anywhere.  Some sketches don't work, but at some point something starts happening on the piece of paper and I start feeling like I've got something.  I usually send all the sketches to the editor I'm working with and see what they think.
There were some pictures of him with groovy 70's attire and I worked with some of that.
We decided to go with sketch #2.  Before going to final art, I usually do a pencil study where I develop the rough sketch further.  In the study, I usually work about two or three times the size of the original rough sketch.  This is the final study for this portrait.
Here's a video from the '70s of Ray Barretto performing:
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