I decided to tackle Benedict Cumberbatch for three reasons: firstly, the portrait gives lots of opportunity to work with darker shadows and background than I'm normally comfortable with. Secondly, his hair is a pain (thick, dark and curly) and is therefore an interesting challenge. Thirdly...he's got a place in the hearts of many a lady, and is somewhat absent from our screens this year as the brilliant Sherlock Holmes.
I've also attempted something new for this site: a timelapse video showing how all the layers are built up. It's important to note that this isn't the drawing completely from the beginning - there isn't enough space on my computer to record and edit that length of time! Plus it would be messy and would be hours to watch, even with the best speeding up in the world.
What I did was mask the individual layers, then record them being revealed. This still gives the effect of it building up, without the zooming in and out and having to sift through hours of footage. You might sometimes spot multiple layers being revealed at once - that's purely because some of the detail is so fine it doesn't show up on a screen, and to be honest, the full detail would bore people to tears.
So without further ado, here is the timelapse! Below are also two part-way screenshots of the portrait coming together.
P.S - please ask me if you want to use these images for anything - I'll probably say yes, but it's polite to get permission...