A quick draw to get in a creative mood for this new beginning of a year. I just picked what colors and themes that came natural. 30 minutes, and I’ve got something that makes me feel good, and helped me to step away from some anxiety I was feeling inside. (I’m sure that’s how that heart got in this thematically.) Pleased with the quick-line portrait work. Fighting back the inertia and moving…into motion! Go fingers and brain, go!
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.
Continuing with gesture portraits today. Not as happy with the results today as I was yesterday, and I did tend to spend more time than I really wanted to with each of these. The average time was maybe a little less than 10 minutes, and should ideally be this level of competency (or better) in 5 minutes or less. But, I’m sure all of those elements will come together in time. That is why, I am practicing after all!
Lessons learned today for this specific (gesture portrait) practice:
Sharpen that 2B pencil!
It really helps at the beginning of a drawing to make loose, fluid lines.
Sharpen again and again as the drawing continues.
Eyes are involved.
They are just going to take more time to develop.
And this may not be a thing that will advance with this quick-drawing method.
But, first-time placement of the main features of the fact should get easier. This includes eye placement.
Noses are (relatively) easy.
It doesn’t take much to mostly get them right. Little suggestive outlines, and you’re good to go.
The difficulty comes with placement, which I haven’t gotten the hang of, and with showing the uniqueness of the model.
Lips are too easy to make into a cartoon.
Like noses, I imagine if I can plug into them better, I could use some suggestions of line and shading and get some better results.
Right now, I’m still thinking of them as the ideal-model-full-lipped-lips, and I’m having trouble seeing real lips. I am hoping this will adjust.
Pick a model that isn’t wearing heavy makeup, or who isn’t smiling.
In example two from today, of Portrait 8, heavy lipstick and smiling obstructed my effectiveness with this technique.
Heavy makeup changes the lines and the shading, which might make your drawing subject not look human.
Teeth are involved, require time, and delicate placement and shading—not a good feature for this exercise.
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.
My awesome family bought me a Cintiq! It is the most loveliest, most beautiful, most responsive, happiness-generating piece of equipment I have ever had in my life. Cintiq is a drawing tool. It has a stylus and a pad, and easily enables drawing in digital format. So, instead of drawing with my Fujitsu, which I had a lot of fun with, but it was getting quite old… I now have this super device that uses the power of my existing laptop. That makes it possible for me to run Photoshop, the drawing program, and all kinds of demanding tasks at once, with no fuss. I’m really looking forward to getting more comfortable with this tool, and taking advantage of the power and freedom of movement.
This is the drawing I made today, “Reclining Iris.” To see at a higher resolution, click here.
An ink drawing of an approximation of my sailboat at the opening of our marina. This started as a landscape, but I decided to include the boat. The perspective is off in places, but I like the composition. Not a bad drawing for not sketching first and making up the scene mostly from memory.
This drawing is based on a picture I took. I visited a local quarry. It was so pretty! I was enchanted with the light and dark of the landscape, and the planes of the rocks. This is a study sketch that I felt came out really well. (To view at a higher resolution, click here.)
I am revisiting some of my earliest portrait sketches this week. Aubrey, drawn in June 2015, is what I began working on today. It was a short drawing session, but I can already tell that it was helping me edit the sketchy-sketchy lines in the original drawing. I like seeing her in block-style black-and-white contrast. I tend to really enjoy line drawings with just a touch of watercolor effect, and that is what I’ll be doing the rest of week! Enjoy her second rebirth as a digital artwork!
Aubrey’s first set of definitive digital lines.
Aubrey’s second set of lines, showing the underdrawing.
Aubrey, solid digital lines with underdrawing removed.
After looking at lots of fantastic photography featuring female models with swirly hair, I felt like drawing a woman with fantastic hair! I also made an effort to use different line thickness—to accentuate certain features. I also like the idea of making contour lines bold—a technique my favorite portrait artist (Anthony Ryder) uses that I think enlivens any portrait work. “Lily” took on the style of Art Nouveau, but I think that she is beautiful, and for a two-hour freehand drawing, really encouraging.
A quick drawing of the day, which I really enjoyed doing. I felt like working on a portrait but also felt like working on something that felt like Autumn. All those lovely Fall colors and I wanted to feature them. I decided to include all of those elements in one drawing. I like this theme so well, I’m going to continue making various flavors of “Autumn” and even begin working on the other seasons of the year. Winter! Spring! Summer!
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.
radial symmetry, noun, BIOLOGY:
symmetry around a central axis, as in a starfish or a tulip flower.
Digital art. I spent some time playing with the radial symmetry tool in Sketchbook Pro. I selected 16 points of radial symmetry, (for extra credit – see: forms of radial symmetry in nature) the scale ranging from 6 to 16, and got these lovely, intricate, fun flower shapes. I used a watercolor pen on a lower layer and added some color to be more cheerful and dynamic. This was just a calm and meditative thing to do — I might very well take up making these in the future, just for relaxation. I love flowers — so this was great.