Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Family Portrait Commission - the boys

Wew, the boys portraits were tough for some reason but I am pretty happy with them now. There will likely be a few tweaks such as darkening the hair, adjusting the hair line and minor adjustments to their faces but I think the likeness is shining through now.
It really helps having a bit of time between working on the portrait and coming back with fresh eyes. I find that often something is bothering me that I can not figure out. I go and grab a cup of water and it jumps out at me. It is even more so with watercolors. I often leave thinking I should give up watercolors and take up oils or acrylic and I come back in the morning and am amazed at how all the pigments have come together and meshed. I think the graphite pencil also behaves the same way and settles into the paper more.
Another trick I find invaluable is viewing the reference photo on the computer along side the portrait. As soon as you see the portrait online the trouble areas jump out at you. I am not sure if it is due to the fact that the computer limits what you see and flattens it but whatever it is, it works!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak

Graphite Charcoal Portrait of CatThis is a cat portrait of Zak that I have just started. He is going to be a Christmas Gift for his unsuspecting person. The photo is really small but the pose is priceless and the lighting is aweseome. I have darkened the sketch in photoshop to show the detail better. The sketch was drawn lightly with a H graphite pencil. Next I will start adding in the layers of graphite pencil in 2B, HB and F for his fur.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Life Drawing Portrait in Graphite - Francis



This is a quick 30 min graphite portrait of Francis from my life drawing class that I recently started attending. Many of the pencil lines are not as soft and/or defined as I would like but hey, 30 minutes goes fast!

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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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Friday, June 08, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait - wip1


I have drawn in the rough details of Bret's face and am building and defining his features as I go. Many details are off at this point as I refine them as I go. His eyebrow and goatee have been set in but need adjusting as well. The actual faces are much smaller than I am used to drawing which is a bit of a challenge so I am using B graphite rather than 2B to keep the details more crisp. HB graphite pencil is used for the tighter details and both have been blended and reapplied many times to build up depth.
This is kind of the ugly stage of the portrait for me as many things are so off that they scream at me but by the next update things will be taking shape nicely :)

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

1st Wedding Anniversary Graphite Portrait




This is the graphite sketch for a commission that will be a gift for a first wedding anniversary. I was not able to capture all of the portrait with my scanner as it is 11x14 and my scanner...even though it says it scans A4...seems to not want to go larger than 8.5 x 11 argh, may be time for a new scanner ;)


I have transferred the drawing onto the watercolor paper and have darkened the outline of the bride and groom with HB graphite pencil. The background is hard to see right now but is sand and rocks with will be loosely drawn in.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Custom Graphite Portrait - wip 3


Several layers of 2b, B, HB and H graphite pencils have been used to draw her hair. Many more layers are needed but the general flow has been established. The wisps around her face will be added when the portrait is nearer completion so that they stay crisp as will the hair under her chin.
More darks will be added to create more depth and flow in her hair. I may make the right side of her hair a tad bit thicker near her shoulder but will decide after the graphite has settled a bit.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Custom Graphite Portrait - wip 2

Several more layers of graphite have been drawn for the skin as well as for the blanket and pillow case. I add the pencil layers lightly and build up as the portrait progresses so no area is completely finished until the end. This way the overall tone of the portrait can be judged better.

I will likely start adding layers for the hair next. Her hair is different colors in the reference photos due to highlights but I think I will go with her hair natural which is a dark black. I think it suites this portrait better and will create more depth and interest as the bedding will be on the light side.

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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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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baby Girl's First Birthday Graphite Portrait - Sketch


I have drawn the rough outline with an HB graphite pencil and darkened it in photoshop so that the lines could be seen on the computer. The reference photo is below.

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Baby Girl's First Birthday Portrait Commission

This adorable little girl is the subject of my next graphite portrait commission. She is such a cutie and looks like she is full of spunk! This portrait will be in celebration of her first birthday which is coming up shortly.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #7

Several more layers of 2B and H graphite pencil have been added and blended for the hair. I will leave the hair for now so the graphite has time to settle into the paper and come back to it to add more depth.

The shirt and the tie have been nearly completed so I will now start on tweaking the facial features first to the groom and then to the bride until I am happy with the resemblence for their portrait.

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Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #6



Quick update. the lighter layers of skin and hair have been added using 2B, HB, B and F graphite pencils. Many more layers to go!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #5


The drawing process is the same for the groom, just adding the skin tone in layers using mostly 2B and HB graphite pencils and blending to build up the layers and hone the features of his portrait.
It looks pretty rough right now as there are many areas in different stages of completness, next update should look more cohesive.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #3

Many more layers of 2B graphite pencil have been added to the portrait. Several areas need to be tweaked but she is starting to take shape. I have drawn in the hairline a bit more but will leave the rest of her hair until later.

At this stage of the drawing I am more concerned with building up the layers of tone with the graphite. I then continue to move the graphite around to add depth and capture the personality and character of the bride.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #2



Many more layers of 2B graphite have been lightly added to build up the tones in the bride's face. The eyelashes and brows have been roughly marked in with a HB graphite pencil and will be finalized at the end to keep them looking crisp as will the wispy hairline.

The stage of the portrait always looks odd as the building process needs to be done slowly and in many layers so some areas are more developed than others. The skin tone looks a little grainy in the scan due to the dark hair but is actually very smooth looking on the real portrait.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - WIP #2

Several layers of graphite have been added and blended using 2B and H graphite pencils to create the bride's.

I have gone back into areas, removed highlights and then added more layers to create depth in her hair. I still need to add more of the detail to her hair and the wisps framing her face but I will leave those to nearer completion as I want them to be crisp.

I added a very light layer of skin tone using 2B graphite pencil and blended lightly. Many more layers to come! The scan does not pick the skin up well at this point because the contrast between the hair and the skin is so great. Next update her portrait should look better!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Anniversary Graphite Portrait - Initial Sketch

This is the initial sketch for the portrait. I darkened the scanned image in photoshop as the actual lines are quite light. I tried to add a fair bit of detail this time at this stage as a bit of a 'road map'. I used an HB graphite pencil for this stage as it blends in easily so that the lines will not be visible later.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Learn to Draw - Blind contour drawing exercise

Anybody can learn to draw, the key is to lean to observe what you see. If you want to increase your observations skills, try doing some blind contour drawings. Blind contour drawings are done by drawing an object without ever looking at the paper. The final drawing is not important, although you may be surprise at how recognizable the object is when you are done. The most important thing is to carefully observe the object and don't rush, just take your time and don't peek!

I like to draw my hand as it is always available and the possibilities are endless depending on how your hand is positioned. Place your hand in a comfortable position and put your graphite pencil on your paper. If you are not using a drawing book, you may need to tape your paper to your drawing surface so that it does not slide around. I usually start at the bottom of my hand near the wrist and work my way up from there. Just follow the line of your wrist very slowly allowing your pencil to follow every nook and cranny of your hand.

The more detail you can capture the better. The line must be continuous (i.e. don't lift the pencil) but can go back and forth the capture details such as folds of the skin etc. Once you are done, take a look. It is surprising that areas often look complete as though you had been looking at the paper the whole time! Try different objects, plants, flowers, dishes etc. This is also a good way to get loosened up before starting a drawing session. Practice, practice, practice :)

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