Case Study: Casa de Portugal by Marcos Torres

Here on Abduzeedo we also like to share some of our projects, events and ideas. The commissioned project I'm going to show you today was done early on this year and it's a candidate for my best project of 2013. I gave a lot of myself into it so I hope you guys like it, thanks a lot for the support.

On the following I describe all the process behind the execution of this two commissioned murals for Casa de Portugal, I hardly see this kind of Case Study on this media (wall painting) so I thought this would be a good oportunity, hope you learn a lot from it. If you're interested in seeing more, you can see this and other projects on my Behance profile.

Luís Vaz de Camões

Luís Vaz de Camões is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that ofShakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads). His recollection of poetry The Parnasum of Luís de Camões was lost in his lifetime. The influence of his masterpiece "Os Lusíadas" in Portuguese is so profound that it is called the "language of Camões".[1] (Wikipedia)


The briefing that I had for this job was to make this artwork with a theme that could be at same time a tribute to the portuguese culture and also could convey a image. I decided to use the image of Luiz Vaz de Camões because he's a strong symbol (if not the most) of the portuguese literature. I also decided to use his most famous poem "Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver".

As photographic reference for the illustration I took this picture of the Camões chest statue that we can found on Casa de Portugal. The angle I took the photo was choosen to give it a feeling of power and strength.

I decided to make this on black and white to enhance the details and make reference to classic art using many hachures. I rather divide the poem in two blocks to make a better layout, I used the Dirty Sanchez (

I added some arabesques on the base to make reference to classic emboss used on portuguese art.


Bellow you can see the grid I used to organize the elements in order to translate them correctly to the wall. After I took all the measures of the wall I decided to convert the original project on Photoshop proportionally. This way it was way more easier to find out the measures of each element on the wall.

Of course, I decided to do a few minor changes some of them just happened naturally on this step, anyway it did not compromised the final result.

Making the type work, letter by letter using a kerning next to perfect was probably the hardest part of this project. I draw the letters using a triograph pencil because it has a bigger graphite and it won't broke on friction with the wall. After, using a acrylic light brush I did all the strokes and later the fill of each letter using red acrylic paint.

When drawing the Camões head I first did a sketch using pencil and eraser to correct the mistakes, it was necessary to use a beveled brush that would not drip during the inking. I began by making frill that is the most abstract part of th drawing and later went into the beard and the rest of the head.

Final Result

Casa de Portugal - Mural 2013 from Marcos Torres on Vimeo.

Mural realizado por Marcos Torres em 2013 na Casa de Portugal, Porto Alegre, Brasil.

D. Vasco da Gama

D. Vasco da Gama (c. 1460 or 1469 – 23 December 1524), 1st Count of Vidigueira, was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.

He is one of the most famous and celebrated explorers from the Discovery Ages, being the first European to reach India by sea. This discovery was very significant and paved the way for the Portuguese to establish a long lastingcolonial empire in Asia. The route meant that the Portuguese wouldn't need to cross the highly disputed Mediterranean nor the dangerous Arabia, and that the whole voyage would be made by sea. (Wikipedia)


This is another project I did for Casa de Portugal as they invited me to do, the idea was to create another panel that could be more thematic than the previous, but at the same time could maintain a unique style. I decided to embrace more the portuguese culture e to use her symbols. First I used the Portugal coat of arms, symbol that you can even see on their flag. I also added the picture of Vasco da Gama for his historic importance for the portuguese people as for the world history, so the choice of using a background with caravels and a sea was consistet with the theme. Here's a previous sketch of waht would become:

I decided to use a grid to translate the sketch to the wall as I believe this is a technique that works really well for this purpose of expanding the image without leaving big distortions on the final product. I did this division on many columns and after just numbered to facilitate to identify each part that would produced. So, besides the decisions I had to made during the execution of this project, the grid obviously contributed for the final product be not exactly like the sketch, what actually did not compromise the final result.


First thing first, I took the measures of the wall so I could scale properly and make the correct translation to the wall. I used masking tapes to mark the X and Y axis of the image, after I did the quadrants using a pencil and a ruler.

Over this I drawed with pencil on the grid and little by little just added each shape on it's place then I just inked the whole thing using a few brushes and acrylic. I choose to make a few details in red in order to skip a little bit from the old BW color scheme.

Final Result

Casa de Portugal - Mural 2013 from Marcos Torres on Vimeo.

Mural realizado por Marcos Torres em 2013 na Casa de Portugal, Porto Alegre, Brasil.

marcos333's picture
Marcos Torres

I'm Marcos Torres, I'm a Graphic Artist from Brasil.

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