Her lack of an eraser meant that she did make a few mistakes, though. Some things, like the angle of Yunhe's nose or a stray line of hair on his head that wasn't supposed to be there, popped up throughout her drawing process. The problems weren't enough to destroy the overall accuracy of the portrait, and she was sure that her master and senior brother weren't going to notice either. Despite all that, Yujia knew of the present mistakes and they bothered her.
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As she finished blending the shades of the robe that he was wearing, Yujia decided that the portrait was a pretty good rough sketch. She was impressed by the fact that her portrait drawing skills seemed to be getting better.
Satisfied with adding in one last touch with the hairpiece that Yunhe wore in his hair, Yujia set the pencil in her hand down and leaned back, handing the portrait to her senior brother.
For the first time, Ye Yunhe got a good look at what she was working on for the past hour or so. Yujia witnessed how the image of the portrait registered in his eyes, along with the pure shock at what she managed to create.
"This— I've never seen anything like this before!" Yunhe held the painting in his hand closer, observing all the small details that Yujia managed to capture.
It was as if he was looking into a mirror reflection of himself. The only thing that it lacked was color, but other than that, he had to admit that the portrait was absolutely accurate and on point. He hadn't seen his reflection too much in the past. Maybe he would catch it in the shining waters of a calm lake or the smooth bottom of a metal basin, but seeing the person on the paper right now, he could still tell that it was on point. It was as if the paper was a bronze mirror, capturing every feature on his face exactly.
The strangest thing about it wasn't the accuracy of the work, but rather the media used to create it. His junior sister's invention was certainly strange and unique enough, and it created something that was completely different than all the other painting portraits he had seen before. There were both harsh lines and smooth blended shadows. All the layering shades made the entire piece realistic and gave it a new sense of depth.
He didn't look flat and lifeless in the portrait either. It was as if he could see the person on the paper as another version of himself. In it, his mouth was curved into a faint smile while his eyes looked off in another direction. There wasn't any teeming, restless energy in the work, but there was definitely a type of calm energy threaded through it.
For the first time, Ye Yunhe began to view portraits as a sort of true art as well. Previously, he didn't see how portraits could be actual art. There was definitely skill to it, but the lack of depth and energy in all the illustrations of people made him believe that only nature itself could be considered as a subject of true art. Yet after seeing what this junior sister of his created, he could spot the energy that previously, he was incapable of with his own painting of the lotus pond that he was so proud of.
At that moment, Yunhe acknowledged that Junior Sister Yujia had skill. Even though she was a girl, he wouldn't be ashamed to call her his junior sister. From the start, he was always hesitant and skeptical, but now, he could see what his master meant before.
In the midst of all his analysis, his master leaned forward, trying to take a look at the finished product too.
At once,Yujia leapt out of her seat pushing the piece of paper forward so that her master couldn't take a look. "Master!" she asserted, "You can't look at it!"
"Why?" he snapped back, "I thought that once you were finished, I could see it!" He paused. Seeing that Yujia didn't seem to want to relent, he asked, "Is it because of before with the duck? Are you still hung over that? The only reason I acted like that was because you deserved it, making it your fault in the first place. Don't you have at least basic respect for your master?"
Yujia bit her lip. She supposed that she had to let her master see, despite her unwillingness after he denied her of meat. Childish fights weren't supposed to last forever, and in the end, her master showed her plenty of compassion in the past. It was only right to let him see.
With that thought, she gave up. "Alright then. After Senior Brother finishes looking at it, you can. He's the subject of the portrait anyways, so he should be able to look at it first." She turned to her senior brother and smiled brightly. "How is it? Do you like it? Is it good?"
"Yes." Yunhe nodded and smiled back, setting the paper down on the table. "Junior Sister, I apologize for the words I've said before. It was impolite for me to say those things to you. Your invention and work are both great."
He clasped his hands and gave a solid nod of acknowledgement.
Yujia was happy to hear this. She didn't want to set off on the wrong foot with her senior brother, so it was nice to personally hear those words from him. She folded her hands and nodded back.
Once the portrait was set on the table, their master immediately grabbed it and took a long, wordless look at it. Yujia glanced over at him and analyzed his expression, trying to decipher how he felt about it from his face to no avail.
He was the true master of art, after all. If she could impress him, Yujia would really enjoy a boost of confidence over her work. Even if she didn't pour her heart and soul into art anymore, it would still be nice to get some confirmation that her work was still decent, since she didn't like to create and call herself the owner of mediocre and second-rate content.
A lengthy pause later, her master said, "It's pretty good. Good job. I haven't seen anything like this before, but the slant of his nose is slightly off, and next time, give him just a little less volume to his hair and pay more attention to the shading and details there. Oh, also, the shadows underneath his chin are a little too intense, damaging the calm aura of the picture. In fact, if you took away the shadows over there and added more darkness where the eye and nose meet, it would be much better. But overall, it's not that bad. Not bad at all."
That was all the confirmation she needed. Her master was truly a master at art to notice the things that she didn't expect him to notice. He also noticed things that she didn't think were wrong, like the intensity of the shading. Hearing this, Yujia knew that she had plenty of room to improve, but for a master at art to call her work "not bad", that was good enough of a compliment that Yujia would take.
She also saw that even with her master being someone who joked around frequently, when it came to matters like art, he was much more serious.
"Thank you, Master! Next time, I'll pay more attention to the things you said." Thinking about how much time had passed, Yujia decided that her scheduled meeting with Bo Zhizhong was coming up soon, so she pointed out, "I still have to go talk to my acquaintance, so I think I need to leave now, if that's alright?"
"Go ahead." Her master waved his hand. "I still wanted to experiment with your invention myself, but if you have things you need to do, I won't delay you."
Yunhe agreed too, but he seemed to have a question. "Junior Sister, who are you meeting up with to get an investment?"
This wasn't something that Yujia needed to hide with them. "He's the Third Young Master of the Bo family, Bo Zhizhong."
The instant he heard that, Yunhe frowned, his eyebrows knitting together. "Did you just say… the Third Young Master?"
"Yep." Yujia frowned too. "Third Young Master. Is there something wrong with that?"
Yunhe pressed his lips together. "The Bo family… has no Third Young Master!"
In a little more than an hour and thirty minutes later of sketching, Yujia was already working on the finishing touches to the sketch. It was a rough sketch, but it took a lot of time since she made the mistake of not bringing her steamed bread to act as an eraser. She had to be extremely careful with all the lines she drew, starting with the lightest pencils and moving on to the darker shades last, when she was finally confident with what she was doing.