The youth club where Martin McKenzie grew up asked me to paint a mural to celebrate his journey to the elite level of international rugby. They wanted to inspire young people from Ely that you can follow your dreams! @northelyyac

Follow Your Dreams!

Ely is often described in the media as a troubled area, yet McKenzie and @rubygrace89 who is part of the GB Olympic Gymnasts team have shown that young people from here have world class talent if they are given a chance.

McKenzie at 6.5ft and 18 stone, and only 20 years old has a big future ahead of him, having just toured on the Six Nations. When he returns hopefully he'll be getting his photo taken in front of this.

I put into practice some tricks that @cortisolkid taught me, like being fussy about the quality of the reference photo, and also choosing the skin tones very carefully.

The original design made on Procreate.

Previously I would almost just turn up with my tray of browns and hope to have a near enough match. Skin tones can be so specific though, that it if it's slighlty wrong it can look very weird, or make the portrait look like someone else. The  main colours on this one were from the Molotow Belton range (available from Camel, Labrador, Sahara Beige and Orange Brown. Initially I had a pinky mauve on the lips, but it looked too much like lipstick, so reverted to more of a skin colour.