Tag Archives: exercise

Gesture Portraits 31-33

Struggled to get into it today and it shows. My hands were going numb, so that certainly didn’t help. The eye measurements did seem to be more accurate today, even though some other measurements suffered.

A difficult orientation, but I struggled with it more than usual. All the elements are basically aligned. Not happy with the heaviness of the line misrepresenting the facial border, or the heavy hairline.

 

The head got wonky in this drawing. A difficult angle, and not a great source photo — I have to to remember to keep the source photo as pure as possible. This one was elf-like, and I didn’t accurately cope with that.

 

The drawing actually came together a little bit. Eyes still need some work, but they are making progress overall. Lips and nose are reasonable.

Gesture Portraits 28-30

After struggling with eyes for so many sessions, I focused more on them today. I used some preliminary measurement lines. I could use more practice doing measurements in general, and I am scaling from photographs, which complicates the likeness, too. Flipping through the sketchbook, I am seeing progress, so I’m pleased. I’m only about quarter through this sketchbook, so more drawings to come.

Here are the drawings from today’s session:

Portrait 28

My facial border is off, and chunky. I really do need to smooth that line out. Another turned-face orientation, which is tricky. My eyes aren’t quite as aligned as I wanted to be, but I like the overall sweep of this attempt.

 

Portrait 29

Felt as if everything was elongated in this representation. I see that creeping eye. The lips are okay, the nose is my favorite element.

 

Portrait 30

First of all, this looks nothing like the model. It took on some manly characteristics. It is a strange turned-face pose, which did complicate measuring. The nose is horrid. But the eyes lined up on their plane mostly, and that helps to make this picture slightly alluring. This drawing is definitely looking more like a study than gesture.

Gesture Portraits 19-27

Yes, I have continued working on Gesture Portraits. I decided I’m going to do them until the completion of my black sketchbook. I don’t know how many more that is, but it seems right that they should all be contained in the same book together.

This morning, as I was in the middle of drawing, I had a little visitor.

She is a giant blending stump.

 

Now has she progressed into a blending stump and a bookmark.

 

And the final pose of, “Now you can’t possibly pay more attention to this than me.” Note the drawn face being unceremoniously sat upon by a careless kitty. She has no remorse.

 

So, that was the first twenty minutes of my drawing session today…yay, pets!

Now, onto the actual drawing part.

I have done three every day over the last three days. I feel as if I haven’t learned much in getting better at it, but I have noticed some style changes. My drawings seem to have gotten tighter. My original lines are getting closer to correct approximations, especially skull and hairline. I do feel as if I have been struggling with facial features such as the lips and levelness of the eyes.

I have started to draw some preliminary measurements regarding the eyes, but it doesn’t seem to be helping me much, yet. I changed pencil brands once during a session, and that had an effect on some drawings. Two sessions were at night, one session was during the day. Time does make a difference—it’s easier to draw when I’m not expecting sleep. I feel as if I have taken some steps backward in these sessions. The line is tighter, my drawings seem to be changing to be more “studies” rather than “gesture.” I’m not going to fight that much, if I get to approach drawing feeling open and with a low-barrier, that’s really what I’m going for. The rest will work out over time, and with practice.

Now to the drawings! (19-27)

Portrait 19

The head shape looks good. The tightness of my line work is obvious. I see that sifting lip line and nose. This is a difficult pose, I’m surprised I got this as aligned as I did, even though it needs correction.

 

Portrait 20

That left eye! Ahh! But the nose and lips are decent. The overall facial shape is odd. But once again, this is a tough orientation, and it would take more time to get it right, I think.

 

Portrait 21

Facial shape is a little off, but fairly okay. The hairline is going well. Line is tight, but in this instance, I think it works. I chose another difficult orientation, and executed it reasonably well, given the time and limitation.

 

Portrait 22

This drawing does look more like a study. Easily my favorite of last three sessions. The eyebrows are off, but the alignment is almost correct. I think I captured the model fairly well in this sketch.

 

Portrait 23

That left eye is off. Nothing is really working for me in this sketch.

 

Portrait 24

Lines got darker and heavier. Some features are askew. But this is looking a lot more like a study.

 

Portrait 25

The nose is not aligned, eyes are making an effort, the lips are not lined up. The jawline is strange. I have no idea what happened, this is my freak show of the session.

 

Portrait 26

Another difficult tilted-head orientation. Eyes and nose are fairly okay. Lips are just goofy. Hairline is acceptable.

 

Portrait 27

Nose and lips are not aligned correctly, and that left eye is loo large. But, the eye plane is accurate, and I just love the facial expression.

 

So, I have very mixed feelings about this set of drawings. It is interesting to me that my form has tightened, and I have started to become more interested in the detailed shading accuracy of lips and noses. Also, that I tried to align eyes has changed some measurement focuses in the drawings, sometimes with successful results, and sometimes with strange orientation results. I am hoping that in time I will be able to perform more accurate measurements faster, and to do shading of features with enough success to capture the model’s representation.

How have your exercises and creative practices been going? I know that I’m not doing Inktober, I’ve been more doing FaceTober or Pentober or Graphtober. But this is working for me. It’s been nice to see results from effort applied.

Wishing you results and progress,

Gesture Portraits 1-6

In an effort to draw more, but keep my barrier of entry low (and the practice and line motion high) I decided I am going to do some gesture portraits.
Gesture, for those who you who are unfamiliar with it, is this: (definition from wiki)

A gesture drawing is a laying in of the action, form, and pose of a model/figure. Typical situations involve an artist drawing a series of poses taken by a model in a short amount of time, often as little as 10 seconds, or as long as 5 minutes. Gesture drawing is often performed as a warm-up for a life drawing session, but is a skill that must be cultivated for its own sake.

In less typical cases the artist may be observing people or animals going about normal activities with no special effort to pause for the artist. For example, drawing from people on the street, performers, athletes, or drawing animals at the zoo.

The key takeaway for my use of the word and technique is: “short amount of time, often as little as 10 seconds, or as long as 5 minutes.”
And that it is a skill performed as a warm-up for a drawing, but should also be cultivated for its own sake.
So, that is what I am going to work on.

These are portraits primarily using the technique of gesture drawing.

If I develop them more, or shade or color them, or it becomes a more fully-realized drawing, great.

Or, if they become the basis or inspiration for a future project, that’s good, too.

In the same way I have been freeing up my poetry, to come up with a few lines at a time (the poetry equivalent of sketching), I thought, “why not get back to drawing in the same way?”

No pressure, not outcome, just semi-daily practice and some fun.
So far, the results have been surprising good, especially, since I’m not measuring or laboring over anything.

I’m just looking at a picture and letting that arm move, with my drawing brain doing what it needs to do.

The happy outcome that is happening while trying this mindset (with both poetry and drawing): I’m learning to get out of my own way.

Here are 6 gesture portraits. Three I drew a few days ago, and three I drew today.

Portrait 1

Note there are lots of lines. This is my first try. I’m really trying a little too hard here. Also, this pose is tricky in the best of circumstances, so I’m actually pleased with this way this came out, without measuring.

 

Portrait 2

I got looser with Portrait #2, but sacrificing a lot of structure. Still, pretty decent. I’m pleased with the ruffles of the collar being playful and expressive, more than the execution of the face in this attempt.

 

Portrait 3

Once again, too loose. Even though her lips ended up looking like the Joker, her hairline and eye set are remarkably good, especially for a look-and-line, devoid of measuring.

 

Portrait 4

Shading is getting good for a quick-line portrait. I had some watercolors I couldn’t help playing with. You will note the eye set is the issue in this picture. But the nose is decent.

 

Portrait 5

Now some progress is really starting to show. This profile is super difficult, especially without measuring, and even though it still misses the mark, it’s not bad. The eye set is a little odd, but that nose and those lips at that angle are pretty close to what they should ideally be. I like that I get the bun and the skull shape basically correct. (This can be tricky too, as one always wants to shorten the skull shape!) I also like how the lines are loose around the collar, but present. This is my favorite of this exercise so far.

 

Portrait 6

This picture has extra complications due to the glasses. Now I know that glasses change shading, especially under the eyes and cheeks. Even though this drawing has a lopsided chin, and the eyebrows are off, the likeness of the subject in the drawing is actually better than all the other portraits so far.
“Memory Fruit” published on Virtual Verse

“Memory Fruit” published on Virtual Verse

My poem “Memory Fruit” is on Virtual Verse’s site today! The concept behind Virtual Verse is to write a poem based on an image they provide.

They provided this lovely and mysterious image by Julien Menier.

 

julien-menier

 


To see the poem on Virtual Verse’s site, visit: http://visualverse.org/
You can find it on page 25, toward the bottom.

Here is the poem as shown there! Isn’t it pretty?

 

Memory Fruit

Petals & Hair, sketch (digital)

Petals & Hair, sketch (digital)

Just getting warmed up again with drawing.
I liked this seashell shape and thought,
Why not play with it?

I am changing my idea of drawing, attempting to open up and keep it free-association and loose, like a I do while I’m writing poetry. This is an example of that playfulness.

 

Freehand - Petals and Hair, Colored Freehand - Petals and Hair

Filed Under: Art
The T-Rex is Coming for Us All (digital)

The T-Rex is Coming for Us All (digital)

T-Rex - Line Drawing - Partial

This guy is a T-Rex, but you knew that, right? Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Mr. T, as I affectionately call him, is one of many elements in an epic drawing I am working on for a friend.

Other elements in this drawing to come include, but are not limited to: volcanoes, meteors, and an atomic-bomb mushroom cloud. Cool, and dark, and scary, and intimidating, and certainly a deviation for me, but I am enjoying it a lot. Putting this all together is very playful and feels loose and fun. I used a visual aid to get him right as I’m not familiar drawing animals, especially lizard-like monster ones, but it turned out really well.

Here is the finished line version of Mr. T. I need to play the A-Team soundtrack and Jurassic Park simultaneously to fully enjoy the fulfillment of this drawing. What a clever girl I am.

T-Rex - Line Drawing Completed

 

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Daily Portraits – 24 & 25 (digital)

Daily Portraits – 24 & 25 (digital)

 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”

Day 24 - Daily Sketch, 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”

Daily Sketch - Day 25, Nasha

 

 


Daily Sketches - Day 25, Nasha - eyes

 

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, ♥
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Filed Under: Art
Daily Sketches – 21, 22, and 23

Daily Sketches – 21, 22, and 23

Day 22 – Denim Girl

Day 22 - Portrait, Female - Denim Girl1

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

Day 23 - Portrait

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

Day 24 - Portrait, 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.

Filed Under: Art
Portrait Sketching – Days 15, 16, & 17

Portrait Sketching – Days 15, 16, & 17

Continuing daily sketches, I’m now past the two-week period! (Yay!) As you may note for yourself, there have been some stylistic changes these last few sessions.

Some contributing factors include:

  1. a small amount of time to sketch (maybe 15 minutes)
  2. a new set of pencils (by Ashleigh Nicole) which I’m getting used to
  3. a focus on hair and outlining shapes rather than detailed interior features — just to mix things up

Here is the sketchy stuff!  🙂

Day 15

Day 15 - Portrait Sketch

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.

Day 16

Day 16 - Portrait Sketch

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.

Day 17

Day 17 - Portrait Sketch

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!

Loves and many hugs,

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Filed Under: Art
Days 10 & 11 – Sketch Portraits

Days 10 & 11 – Sketch Portraits

Day 10

Day 10 - Portrait, Red

Digital portrait, drawn in Sketchbook Pro. I played with some color. Using synthetic paint, and seeing how much I could teach myself about color work, I experimented. I am pleased with the lips and the sheen of white — I know it’s not brilliantly executed, but being able to use color and incorporate it into daily sketching is a lot of fun — and a good learning, stress-free time.

Day 11

Day 11 - Sketch Portrait

Graphite on paper. I drew this by hand because I didn’t want to venture too far away from traditional practice. I’d ideally like to be able to sketch every other practice drawing using a different method. I used 2B graphite and put down the initial lines using H. Still struggling with lips, but feel happy with the nose and the structure of the eyes. Starting light, and working to heavier gradients and strokes is definitely the way to work — my brain and hands are beginning to remember the flow. I can almost feel the features as I’m drawing them — a very good intuitive sign I wish to cultivate more.

Filed Under: Art
Day Eight – Female skin-toned portrait (digital)

Day Eight – Female skin-toned portrait (digital)

Daily Sketch - Day 8 Portrait

The eighth day of sketching portraits. This was a short exercise for me, about 30 minutes. I used Sketchbook Pro again, as I want to get more comfortable with making traditional-looking art in digital form — it gives me so many more options for working while living on a boat — and the versatility of digital art is unparalleled. I’m very pleased with this — it is getting easier each day I do this to jump right in — exactly the effect I was hoping for.

Filed Under: Art
Diane (graphite drawing)

Diane (graphite drawing)

 

 

Diana-portrait-02
“Diane”, portrait, an overview.

 

Portrait drawing alongside the reference photo I used.
Portrait drawing alongside the reference photo I used.

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

8.5″ x 11″ graphite on paper. This took a little over an hour to draw. In an attempt to get some portrait drawing practice warmed up again, I started sketching from a reference photo of photographer Diane Arbus (reference photo is here). I had some difficulty getting accustomed to the idea of measuring. Mostly working through it loosely, gesture drawing, I was able to come up with some approximate features. As you can see from the last picture comparing the reference against the final drawing, there are some slight misplacements: the eyelids are a bit too long, the eyebrows are not quite placed, and the lips are a bit overly-heavy in gradient, specifically the lower lip. The necklace needs a bit more a bend, and her hairline needs a slight adjustment to the left. Had I been evaluating these things carefully while I was drawing, instead of being completely absorbed, and measured accurately before drawing (and especially shading) the likeness would have been better. This is a thing I’m having to really work on: making decisions while drawing. It’s all-too-easy to get caught up and miss the details. In terms of developing my eye without measuring, this is a good exercise, but if I were to really do an honest, thorough work, I would definitely measure, measure, measure, and re-measure. It’s a discipline I have to work on, but I know if I put some time and attention into it, the rewards will be more than worthwhile.

Filed Under: Art
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