Recreating Laocoon, Part 4 – Laocoon

This is the wrap up of our study pieces of the Laocoon Group. If you haven’t read the previous entries regarding Laocoon’s sons and why I chose this piece,  please be sure to head there and take a look. There is a lot of detail in those posts that I’ll try not to repeat too much here. You can view them by going to the blog menu, or by clicking these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

OK, let’s get started on Laocoon himself. I want to start with one of those lesser known facts about the sculpture. While I was doing my research on the piece I read an interesting tidbit about an analysis that was done on Laocoon’s eyes. They actually found that his eyes were originally painted to represent an old man with cataracts. It’s interesting, but it also leads me to wonder what exactly led them to such a specific conclusion. But, I decided to go with it, which is why you won’t see any pupils in the finished drawing.

Remember that I’m focusing on specific elements of these pieces to draw the viewer in. In this one, the emphasis is clearly on his face and the pain he’s feeling, both as a result of the battle with the serpents, but also pain that the Gods would do this to their servant. So that’s why you’ll see the most detail for my block in drawing in his face. I’ve still kept the hair and beard quite light as a spacial reference. Also, notice that I’ve still used varying line values for different parts of his body that will end up with different value ranges in the end.


For the second shot, you’ll see that I’ve completed most of the light undertones on his body as a point of reference for value while I’m building out his face. I’m also adding basic value forms to his hair and beard at this time. I do this for 2 reasons. One is to get rid of the light space that throws me off at times, but the other is because a beard like his is full of layers with various values. I like to portray that same effect by applying different layers in the beard and hair throughout the time I’m working on the piece.


At this stage you can see that I’ve added most of the value to his anatomy, with just a few things left to darken up toward the end. You can also see my first run and erasing and blending more of the beard layers. But, the main work on this portion is in his face. There were some aspects of his features that I had to create because of the lack of clarity in a few spots (nothing like yesterday’s problems though), such as his left eye (viewer right) and some of the details on his lips. Also, none of these figures have fully defined teeth, so I’ve also had to create those based on their expressions.


In this one you can see that I’ve finished out most of the rendering on his face, with only a few little details to adjust. I’ve also got most of the beard filled in, though it still has a little bit of a spaghetti feel to it. I’m essentially ready to finish out his hair at this point and go back to the body to finalize some of those values.  They basically just need to be darkened up to more closely match the deep shadows on his neck and shoulder.


After finishing up the values on his body to really make the shoulder structure pop out, I made a few finishing touches to the beard and hair, trying to maintain the curls and the layers that were built up. With the completion of this one, I’ll be moving on to the final piece featuring all three figures. This will be the largest charcoal piece I’ve done and it should prove to be quite the fun challenge. Remember that this and other pieces are currently available to purchase as prints on my Saatchi Art profile at I actually reworked a few of the photos today to make sure that they’re all crisp and perfect to adorn your wall. If you’d like to wait for the originals, they’ll be available for purchase some time in March of next year.

Laocoon, Study For Laocoon And His Sons

Laocoon, Study For Laocoon And His Sons