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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
My new challenge up until the beginning of the new year is to draw a small drawing, and write a small poem a day. There will be no quality-judgment on my part, just producing and seeing what I can come up with in tiny, 30-minute maximum work segments.
There was a lovely portrait on the front of a recent National Geographic. So, I drew her (my hand work is terrible–need to work on that!) and added a potted plant, because I have been looking at a lot of Hope Gangloff lately, and it made me think of props in her wonderful portraits.
I took a recent trip to a Daiso store and got some lovely little mechanical pencils. I felt like making a figure portrait with a butterfly in it. The pencils worked out extremely well–one is an HB and the other is a 2B. The shading on the face was particularly rewarding and simple with the softer of the two pencils. I also used some graphite pencils from Ashleigh-Nicole that are very smooth and feel great. This turned out so well that I have a lot of confidence about making more portraits with insects and other animals featured in the future.
After a long time of not working on portraits, I started longing to make them again. This is the beginning of my reintroduction. I am also firming up a mode of working. I want to remove boundaries and obstacles to starting a drawing–draw when I feel that impulse (low barrier of entry)–but have the power, scaling, and multi-media application that is possible with digital art.
I am trying out a new workflow: physical to digital
1) sketch the image on paper with graphite
2) semi-finalize lines
3) minimal shading with graphite
4) take a picture of the drawn image
5) upload image of the drawn image (scaling / resolution)
6) overlay uploaded image with digital lines / trace
7) working and finalizing lines as I go along
8) creating multiple layers digitally
9) manipulating layers/mood/look
10) finalizing lines
11) apply digital color
12) rework, edit, add, remove as needed
Here is a picture I titled, “Her Winding Self,” using this workflow method.
The original image, graphite on paper.
The final image, with dark digital lines and digital coloring.
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.
Was inspired by more photography today. The combination of a line drawing including flowers and floral arrangements, and simple portrait elements, are making me super happy the last few days. Here’s Flora with a few background colors to choose from. I honestly like all of them and cannot pick. And who says I have to? ♥
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.
Digital art, based off of a reference photo. “Jeane” seems like a fitting name for her.
I liked playing with the “pulling brush” feature in Sketchbook Pro, and got some interesting and lively results with hair. It looks so wispy! The brightly-colored lips are for my amusement only — I like how it plays off of the black and white, neutral-to-dark. Though the chin lines are obviously very sketchy, and everything in the lower portion of the picture is unfinished, I like it that way.
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!
I got some time and some energy to draw today. I felt like focusing on getting back to building skills with a portrait. This sweet picture, named “Rosemary” gave me a ton of confidence. I was very loose and open during the experience of drawing. To enable right-brain thinking, I put a song on repeat, which helped me focus. I played with the lines in the hair, and used a recently-released brush from Sketchbook Pro intended as a leaf pattern to make some cool freckles!
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, ♥