Monday, June 02, 2008

Evaluating your drawings

While working on a portrait it is crucial to take a step back every now and then and take a really close look ... from a distance. While working on a recent commission, I needed to After looking at get some distance to do a few more tweaks to it before moving on. There were too many little areas that needed tweaking and it would be too distracting if they are not addressed first as they are throwing off the resemblance.

I use several tricks to 'get distance' from my portraits as I work on them, the most helpful and easiest is to just take a photo and upload it onto the computer. It is like viewing the portrait through different eyes as the computer flattens the image even more so any areas that are off immediately pop out.

Another trick is to look at the portrait in the mirror which I think gives a pretty similar effect, but is a little difficult to do with a larger drawing. One I have been trying recently is using Photoshop to superimpose images.

  1. Open the original reference photo and the drawing at the same time
  2. Size the image size for both ref and drawing using Image - Image Size
  3. Unlock background layer of drawing by double clicking on lock in the layer panel
  4. Drag the drawing over top of the reference photo
  5. Set the opacity to around 45% on the drawing using the drop down for Opacity in the layers panel on the right hand side
  6. Match up drawing and reference photo

You may have to resize the image a few times to get it just right but it is a great way to check the proportions quickly for the entire drawing.

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