Digital artwork. Based on an online reference photo. I wanted to include more of the figure in the portrait drawing again. I liked the white and dark, and the clean lines. It’s interesting to note how much texture can be achieved even without lots of gradient areas.
Day 23 – Darcy
Digital artwork. I felt like coloring today. The black lines being visible with the hair but with color underneath (very watercolor-like effect) is something I really love. The white area on her lower lip also adds a painterly look.
Day 24 – Jill
Digital artwork. I kept this exercise graphite focused. Just a touch of some gradients really add a lot of life to a simple line drawing. The darkness of her hair adds a lot of weight and depth. I feel as if using an off-white background is sort of like cheating – making her look more ‘warm’ than she actually is – but I like the effect it has.
I am about a month into doing these exercises, and my comfort level with digital work has increased tremendously. I feel less as if I am fighting with tools, as if they exist to help me accomplish what I want them do. I feel as balanced with traditional drawing methods as I do with digital, particularly regarding simple line portraits – and that is a Really Good Feeling. The barrier to starting a drawing has also lessened – it feels more like play – exactly the emotional association I was hoping to cultivate.
Spacing of features is still an issue for me, but the ability to get to this point with a sketch in a shorter amount of time is greatly encouraging. This took me about 15 minutes, as opposed to the near-hour this level of development was taking me only a week ago. Impressive results.
This day feels like a backslide to me. I spent as much time working on this image as I did the day before, but didn’t get as refined a result. I struggled with the facial view — straight-on, in the image the day before, was much simpler. I keep learning more and more that the less I build up first, the better the drawing goes. Starting with a less-dark graphite, such as an H-grade or less, is giving me a more polished look. Part of getting back into the swing of portrait drawing, with traditional tools and digital ones, is reintroduction to the tools. I want to increase my familiarity with them. To be able to, without thinking much, reach for and get the performance I have in mind, without having to correct. That will just take time and more practice.
Hi, all you lovely people. ♥ I am nearing the conclusion of the first month of portrait drawing.
I haven’t drawn every day as I set out to do, travel and boat repairs interrupted some of my work flow. I also had days when there were no other circumstances to blame but myself. But, this is an exercise in improvement and strengthening of skill, not perfection.
Working on these sketches has really boosted my self-esteem, given me a task to look forward to every day (whether I carry it out or not), and increased my comfort level with both digital and traditional portrait methods.
My goal is to continue drawing until Day 100.
And just like the 100th Day of School we celebrated as a kid, I’m gonna have a party!
Here are days 24 and 25!
Day 24 – “Laura”
Digital art portrait. I really worked to keep this minimal. I did spend some time on her eyes with a bit of some honey-brown coloring. Playing with air brushes and the blending brushes was a delight. I’m becoming accustomed to working with digital tools — to show traditional-looking lines digitally. I enjoyed using the charcoal to make the illusion of her dark, flowing hair, and the straight-on intensity of the model made focusing on the eye color all the more alluring.
Day 25 – “Nasha”
Digital art portrait. A simple line drawing using an online reference. I wanted to see how much personality I could get out of black-and-white and lines. There is even some thicker lines in the eyes and around the nostrils, which make her features more sensual. Upon completion, this picture felt pop culture in style, and I felt could even serve as a panel in a comic book. Using an F grade of digital graphite and the HB graphite was a lot of fun. I learned a lot of unexpected versatility (stylistically and digital-tool-wise) keeping this simple.
Onto more work in the coming days, pushing into August!
Thanks for reading, and take care of your sweet selves, ♥
Two more days of drawing to introduce you to. As I had thought would happen, Day 5 was not as progressive as I’d hoped. Happily, Day 6 was! There are flows to each day. It’s enough that I wake up, and get focused enough to draw — all the better when I draw — no matter the outcome I am still getting excellent, much-needed practice. Is there a better way to spend your time? Admit it, you’re thinking about disagreeing with me, but you can’t. Not really. 🙂
Onward to the drawings!
I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to on this picture and the quality suffered for it. I am getting better at approximating the feature’s sizes without measuring. My shading is even coming along a little bit, particularly with the lips, which really are a trouble area for me. You can clearly see the “X”s as markers for insides of the eyes, and the hair loose and sloppy. I know that the spacing is off — in particular the relationship between the nose and the lips — also continues to be a problem for me in these exercises. The lines are getting more expressive and loose, and I am getting less reluctant to begin making marks on the paper. Even though not the best artwork so far, there have been some bravery developments. I’ll take it!
See what I mean about the advances happening day-by-day? After seeing some lovely new brushes available from Sketchbook Pro, in my email, I decided to go digital with my sketch today. This is a good development, because it means I am getting more psychologically adventurous and am building some self-confidence (a big part of what I’m aiming for by doing these exercises). I’m VERY PLEASED. The features still are askew and lips are still kicking me in the face problem-wise, but …this is by far the best portrait drawing I’ve done digitally. The best digital eyes I’ve made so far, also. I did get to play a lot more today; I was able to spend hours experimenting, so it’s not actually a quick-study — still, a great success.
The face from above but with an illusion of hair thanks to the “tapered synthetic paint” brush. I also love the watercolor brush that gives her pigmentation and rosy cheeks!
Keep doing your awesome stuff, too. I’m enjoying this work and I hope you are enjoying yours! Bring it on, Day Seven!
a focus on hair and outlining shapes rather than detailed interior features — just to mix things up
Here is the sketchy stuff! 🙂
The first day I received my new pencils, and it shows. My lines are sketchy and all over the place. You can tell I was interested in figuring out the capabilities of the pencils more than actually focusing on the face. I wouldn’t have normally shared this picture, but in the spirit of sharing the process with this daily sketching exercise, I am.
I backed off my intensity with the new pencils and was rewarded. They are smooth and responsive. I am looking forward to getting familiar with them. I enjoyed making the nose and especially the hair in this picture. The 6B-10B grade of pencils in this set of are the quality I hoped for.
A digital work. I was rushed this day, putting this drawing together in my therapist’s waiting room. I didn’t get to develop her much, but am still pleased. The visible eyebrow is something I’m happy with. I will work on her more in the future, having gotten the features placed and started. I’m continuing to appreciate how much an off-white background adds easy warmth and life to a drawing no matter the stage of completion.
Now onto Day 18…where more progress awaits.
Thanks for reading and checking in. Are you working on an exercise, or artwork of your own? Please share! I love to see the wonderful things!
I felt like I needed some bright colors in my life today. I went back through the daily sketch archives and found a portrait to experiment with. My thought being, “Why not add some color digitally? Let’s see what happens.” I am super encouraged by this short, fun coloring! Pink seemed the way to go, and so, go with it, I did!
A few years ago when I was first learning drawing, I did 100 portraits as close to once a day as I could manage.
In fact, most of the portraits you’ve seen on my blog have been due to this work period. Obviously, I made a lot of progress! It was difficult to stay determined and some days were a regression. Sometimes, I would advance in skill by leaps and bounds seemingly overnight. The most important thing to remember about the brain is: It is not a computer. It responds best with iteration, time, and practice.
Ever really look at an artist draw? The artist makes lots and lots and lots of lines. Most them are completely the wrong shape, not perfect. But…then something magic happens. The artist’s brain warms up, it start making adjustments, lines go over other lines. Some lines are used as reference points for larger shapes. The features and the overall composition of the drawing start to show through the application of actively working, of keeping the lines and workflow loose, by being open and revising as material is being added. This is how the brain works: with averages, with shapes, intuitively, from other references, with something to look at, hold onto, and then craft from. The more “into it” you get, the better your end result. I’ve heard this state called “flow”. It might even look like mastery. It certainly is doing rather than a forcing. After drawing 100 portraits, it got easier for me to get to this place with art, emotionally, and with profound physical results.
I’ve stepped away from portraits for a long time. I’ve gotten pretty rusty at daily sketching. Putting hours and hours into a succulent or a digital image is a lot of fun, and yields a shiny, polished outcome. I enjoy it a lot, and will continue to do so, but I really missed the spontaneity and growth of focusing for an hour (or less) with a pencil and paper and doing a daily sketch! So, here I am again, returning to that practice.
Here are four days of sketching.
Already my progress and coordination is visible. I have a lot of relearning and familiarity to do. There will be backward and forward days, but I’m looking forward to the progress overall, and for advancing my art in this approachable way.