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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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Yorkie Dog Portrait in Acrylic


This is a painting I did recently of a yorkie dog. It is not a commission so it was just for fun. The expression was so funny I had to paint it. I have always loved dogs and used to have a boxer for many years but I am getting a soft spot for the smaller dogs the more that I draw and paint them!

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life Drawing Portrait in Graphite


Well, it is week two of my life drawing class and I decided to focus on just the face for this one. I started quite small on this one not realizing that sustained pose meant for the whole night :) Of course, by the time I got to my second attempt I think I was too tired as he was starting to look very tired in the portrait ;) I used HB and 6B graphite pencils for this one. The likness is not too bad and I think the proportions are pretty close so I am happy with my attempt. Although, he has a bump in the bridge of his nose that I could just not capture .... I am sure I will get a chance to draw him again though :)


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Life Drawing Figurative Portrait in Graphite

Yay summer is over and my life drawing class has finally started...hmm perhaps my priorities are mixed up....no, I don't think so :) I have not drawn from life for several years as I draw mostly graphite portraits from photos and usually draw children and animals, neither of which will sit long for a portait to be drawn! This is my first 'attempt' at a 50 minute portrait of Iva. There are many issues with it, her head is too large and the likeness is not what I would like, but overal I am happy with my attempt and I don't think Iva will hold a grudge ;)

Life drawing is very different from the tightly detailed pencil drawings that I generally work on and I am really enjoying it although I am still getting the hang of which pencil to use and when. I generally use 2B, F and B for my detailed portraits whereas with the life drawing portraits I need to use 8B, 6B and HB which encourage me much looser. I will be posting weekly so that I have a record of my 'progress' throughout the year. Should be interesting!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait - wip3


S

till lots of tweaks to made to the bride as well but the main features have been blocked in. Several layers of H, B and HB graphite have been used to draw her skin and hair. The graphite pencil is then blended, features redrawn and blended again removing highlights where needed. Each pass further refines the features as the graphite absorbs into the paper. I will likely draw both of their faces to near completion and then move onto the rest of the portrait and then finish up with their faces again to keep the features crisp. As their faces are smaller than I generally work with I find that I am almost working in reverse for this portrait. Laying the features down and then removing excess graphite to refine their features more.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Custom Graphite Portrait - sketch


This is the sketch for a custom graphite portrait I have just started. It is a very rough outline at this point as I am working from several reference photos. The quality of the photos are poor so it is a bit of a challenge but the concept is quite cool and the main reference photo has great lights and darks and she has such a sweet smile that even at this very rough stage she brightens up my canvas.
I am still working out how the hair will fall, how the eyes will look as in the reference photo the eyes are open and some other details need to be addressed but they will sort themselves out as I go. The words Happiness, Peace, Comfort, Understanding and Beauty will be slightly hidden throughout the portrait as well which will be very cool. I will wait until the portrait takes a bit more shape before I decide where each word will be drawn.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - WIP4


Well, she looks much better with 2 eyes! More layers have been drawn using a 2B graphite pencil for her skin. Her hair has been drawn with 2B, B, HB, F and 3H graphite pencils, blending as I go and adding some of the highlights.
For her eyes, I used 2B, HB and 3H graphite pencils to draw the iris. The pupil was drawn with 2B and HB only being careful not to add too much of a shine to the paper. I like to bring all of the different areas of the face to near completion and then hone in on the details so no area is complete until the end of the portrait. It is really starting to look like this cute little baby girl though I think :)

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - WIP2


I have drawn a bit more skin tone values throughout using 2B and H graphite pencils. The lips have been drawn using 2B, B, HB and H graphite pencils. The teeth will be finished last and the lips still need some adjustments which will be done nearer the end of the portrait. I tend to jump around the portrait a bit when I draw as I like to let the graphite settle into the paper.

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