Tag Archives: pencil

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 7-9

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.

Now, onto the portraits and observations.

Portrait 7

Besides it being pretty flat, this is a good start. You can tell my line is a bit tight because of the boxy facial border. The left eye is raised, but the placement is not too bad.

 

Portrait 8

This hairline was tricky! And as you can tell, I didn’t get it. Smiling lines are going to take some time to work out. The lips are overblown and bizarre, part of that is because the model was wearing heavy lipstick, which changes the human-looking characteristics! She also was smiling, and that would have taken time to develop, so I “fixed it” which kind of looks awful. I am happy with ear placement, though. 

 

Portrait 9

Yes! Progress! This looks like a believable face. Eye placement could be slightly better, but the face outline is pretty good. Nose is nice, lip work is getting better. I saved the crazy lines in the hairline and the chin to show you how much I was “measuring by line.” Also, to appreciate how loose (and off the mark) my lines began.
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
Daily Sketches – 12 & 13

Daily Sketches – 12 & 13

Day 12

Day 12 - Portrait Sketch

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.

Day 13

Day 13 - Portrait Sketch

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.

Onward to Day 14, the two-week mark!

Filed Under: Art
Daily Drawing: Days 5 and 6

Daily Drawing: Days 5 and 6

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! 


Day Five

Daily Sketches - Day 5

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!

 

Day Six

Day Six - Face

 

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.

Day Six - Tapered Hair

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!
Love,
Penney

Filed Under: Art
4 Days of Portrait Sketching

4 Days of Portrait Sketching

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.

Day One

The first day of sketching. Note the incomplete facial elements and hesitancy making lines.
The first day of sketching. Note the incomplete facial elements and hesitancy making lines regarding features. The mouth is unfinished, the chin is elusive, and the eyes are overworked. Not too bad for a quick-draw — this is my first day — my entrance baseline of what’s to come. Excellent.

 

Day Two

The second day. Of note is the thick outlined features lacking in gradient -- particularly lips and upper eye. The nose is more realistic and structured in this sketch.
The second day. Of note is the thick outlined features lacking in gradient — particularly lips and upper eyes. The nose is more realistic and structured in this sketch. The entirety of the face, and the space between facial parts is firming up in my mind. Gradient awareness is coming along well.

 

Day Three

Day Three - Portrait Sketch
The third day. Trying a more difficult facial angle. The proportions are askew, but the lines are loosening up. Even though the mouth is still a problem area, the nose is looking respectable. I’m getting a grasp of space, angles, gradients, and composition.

 

Day Four

Day Four - Daily Portrait
The fourth day. My light and darks are getting bolder. My lines are looser and more expressionistic. Facial elements still need some strengthening, but clearly show a face. My work with lips is slightly better in this study. The nose is weaker. Eyes are far set and awkward, but the glint and shading of them is an improvement from previous sketches. I’ve scaled better to fill the paper with the image, and my initial gesture sketches were closer to the completed work. I’m can feel myself getting into a workflow.
Filed Under: Art
Claire (portrait drawing)

Claire (portrait drawing)

Claire - Close - Portrait

 

Claire - Full - Portrait


ABOUT THIS PICTURE

9.5″ x 11″, graphite on paper. This drawing took me a little over an hour to complete. I drew this toward the end of my “100 Portraits” consecutive-days drawing period. She is based from a reference photo I found online. Even though her eye is a bit overlarge, and some of the scaling of her features is slightly off, I really like how removing graphite made her light hair come to life. In terms of energy, and just-plain-fun portraiture, I think this is one of my best drawings.

Filed Under: Art
Michelle (graphite and watercolor)

Michelle (graphite and watercolor)

Michelle

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

5″ x 7″, graphite and watercolor on paper. Mixed media. A portrait of a female, using a reference photo. This was a fun way for me to experiment with watercolor pencils I had purchased from Prismacolor. They are easy to apply and offer quick, bold color. I would to use these pencils with ink and see what fun develops; I’m sure they’d be a great asset for on-the-go sketching.

Filed Under: Art
Josephine (graphite portrait)

Josephine (graphite portrait)

Josephine-portrait-in-graphite

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

8.5″ x 11″, graphite on paper. This portrait was made from a reference photo I found online. I spent about an hour on it, paying extra attention to the properties of her hair. I took care to also focus on the nose, softly shading. I’m not happy with her left eye (the eye to the right, in the image) as the width and perspective is awkward. The hard clean edges in her cheeks are also a bit aggressive; I would blend that out if I were to attempt this particular image again. I keep learning over and over by doing these portrait exercises that less is more when it comes to shading, hints of skin tones by using skillful gradient are what make a clean and accurate representation.

Filed Under: Art
Lillian (graphite drawing)

Lillian (graphite drawing)

Lillian-graphite-drawing

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

Graphite on paper. A short sketch in which my primary focus and fascination was with hair, in this case, her curls. This was a good exercise for building up value, and focusing on contrasts, juxtaposing the light of the shine of the curl against the dark shadows. I was also working on practicing hatching and using it to build dark. The focus on her face was minimal, as that wasn’t the main objective of the sketch. You can see that her eyes aren’t even filled-in with shading. Even though her white eyes are the result of neglect, I found that I liked the effect; somehow it softens her features but makes her cool and aloof at the same time.

Filed Under: Art
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