Gesture Portraits 10-18

Today, you get three days’ worth of drawings! I have been sticking to the practice, even though I haven’t posted.

Two sessions were at night before bed and one session was today during the day. I’m still learning. I’m still violating my own guidelines (I have to stop doing that.)

I wouldn’t say I’ve gotten the hang of this, but the emotional barrier to drawing has lowered dramatically–since that is the number one reason I started, this exercise is already a success, no matter the outcome of the drawings. Yay!

But, as it is progressing, the drawings are coming out quite well. I’m still struggling with the time limit—I’m drawing for about 10 minutes each, when it should ideally be less. I am pleased though, looking back on other drawings, that I am managing to get as much quality out of these 10-minute drawings as I have in 30-minute drawings, or even hour-long drawings in the past.

What I am learning, and small variations I’ve done so far:

All 2B pencils are not the same!
In fact, grades between brands do not perform the same.
One day I used a 9B from an entry-level set of pencils I have.
The 9B wasn’t anywhere near as dark (or as soft) as a 2B from another brand.
So, I had to switch pencils. I just couldn’t get what I wanted from that 9B.

Sharpen, sharpen, sharpen.
Don’t be lazy! Just resharpen that pencil.
I promise 5 seconds isn’t going to stop your flow.

Take a moment to focus on the image.
My drawings started going better when I forced myself to stop and just look at the image for a few seconds.
Just take in all the shapes, the relation of facial elements in the picture, the negative space of it.
Should be a few-second “absorption” look.

Don’t judge your work, at all, while you’re in progress.
Say, you get done with portrait #2 for the day…don’t think about it,
don’t even begin to say, “I wasn’t happy with that,” or “that’s not as a good as yesterday…”
Don’t Even Think About It. Just keep drawing.

Music changes the quality.
I tried listening to music one day. The drawings were still good, but it shifted my flow state.
I like listening to music when I’m doing coloring in a drawing, or intense work, but for measuring, nope.
Everyone is different, maybe music would help you. But for me, the “setup” of a drawing needs to go without.

I tried some different grades of pencil, besides 2B.
I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, I’m going to play with this some more.
I didn’t like having to put down my pencil to retrieve another pencil during this exercise.
But a different grade was occasionally helpful, especially with eyes.

Eyes are getting easier!
The shading of them and positioning is getting more accurate.

Lips are still difficult.
They are still tricky, especially in relation to the chin. It’s a challenge to get that measurement correct.
Lipstick and gloss on women also changes the lines and light quality, I’m finding this a little frustrating.

And I seem to have a you got it / you didn’t get it relationship with noses.
I’m having some trouble with noses these last few sessions. Not sure why.
Gotta slow down, and take it easy with this feature.

Starting with hair at the top, and placing facial features is a great way to get an accurate facial border.
It’s easier to place the hairline and cheeks / facial shape with something to relate it to.

Contrast makes everything look better.
Shade a little darker around the light areas, especially the highlights in the eyes.
Be super light next to dark places. Contrast will make your drawing come to life, even if your shading or shaping is wrong.

Here are drawings 10-18!

Portrait 10

Look at all those lines in the hair, trying to work out the shape and flow. The eye measurements are good, the nose is okay, and those lips (even that heavy upper line) is doing much better.

 

Portrait 11

Probably my favorite outcome so far. Eyes are a little off, but the personality of the model is there! I also like how I was big and loose with my lines, and her face fills the entire page.

 

Portrait 12

Lots of makeup on this model, and that does change the rules. I was intrigued by the long-upward hair, and I noticed it actually made me draw differently, from the bottom-up rather than from top-down. Eyebrow placement is askew, and so are eyes, but overall, a fun experimentation with contrast.

 

Portrait 13

I was a lot less loose in this session, and this drawing. I did manage to get better facial borders. And lips and nose are more polished.

 

Portrait 14

I really like this portrait. Even though the hair is not accurate, and the nose and lip relationship isn’t aligned, the look of the model is showing through nicely. Which goes to show you can have feeling and expression without accuracy.

 

Portrait 15

This model was also heavily in makeup. The hair was involved, so isn’t accurate, and it felt a little too easy no having open eyes. I am happy with the facial border and shading. The lips also work.

 

Portrait 16

The features are huge. Placement is progressing. Lips are going better. I struggled with this session, and it shows.

 

Portrait 17

I’m pleased with the positioning. All of the facial elements and the titled head pose are well done for the short amount of time I spent. Facial borders are getting firmed up again.

 

Portrait 18

Another model with makeup. The eyes are bit off, but the emotion of the model is showing. This is the worst nose I’ve done so far. I just couldn’t get it to work out, and I didn’t want to resort to an eraser. (Maybe in future drawings I will allow myself the use of the an eraser.) I did struggle with the facial border, as you can see from all the lines. But, the jewelry accessories made this fun.

 

As you can see, I’m working the exercise. Some days are better than others. I haven’t done any one picture that I would come back to and develop further, yet, but I might change my mind later. I’m suspending judgement for now, just being an “unthinking drawer.” That mindset seems to eliminate anxiety, and keeps me open to the image at that moment.

I hope you are doing well in your own creative efforts.

 

 

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