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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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Portrait Commission - Grandfather


The portrait of the grandfather is now nearly complete but I will again leave it until the other portraits are near completion to do any further adjustments. The final lifting of the highlights is also left until the end to keep the highlights fresh and free of graphite dust. I have left the edges rough as well on their chests as I will wait until the other portraits are completed to make sure they relate well to each other.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Family Sketch Commission - Grandmother update


The grandmother is nearly complete but I will leave any adjustments until the rest of the portraits are near completion. Of course her right eye needs to be adjusted as it is too dark and a few little tweaks here and there but mostly minor adjustments. I like to leave a bit of time beteen as well to come back with fresh eyes.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Drawing depth in your portraits tutorial

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is to outline their subjects which results in a flat one-dimensional drawing. To create drawings that are three dimensional, it is best to avoid drawing with lines completely. Try drawing shapes rather than lines. The easiest way to accomplish this is to think of your subject as a series of lights and darks. Squinting your eyes and peering at the subject, whether it be a photo or a live object, will separate the lights and darks for you more easily.

It is always best to draw from life when learning to draw depth so set up a simple subject to practice from. To create more interest, side light the object to create stronger shadows. Sketch a contour drawing lightly using and H or F pencil using short broken lines. Block in the different areas of light and dark using HB for the middle values and 2B for the darker values. Try using different strokes with your pencil rather than using straight lines. Try circular motions, cross-hatching or side-by-side lines either short or long. The more variations the better as different variations of lines create interest in your drawing and work better for different areas. Work in thin layers building up the tone as you go to create an even layer of tonal values.

You can blend as you go using a tissue, cloth or cotton or you can leave unblended for more texture. Avoid using your fingers as oil from your fingers can leave stains on your work. If you have over blended and you have lost your dark values, just add more dark layers and do not blend as much as the illusion of depth results from the contrast of light and dark. Use a kneaded eraser or a regular eraser to pull out highlights.

The strongest areas of contrast will draw the viewers eye and adds interest to the overall drawing. The lightest area will draw the viewers eye the strongest, especially when surrounded by the darkest darks. Always keep this in mind when drawing so as not to accidentally pull the viewers eye away from your focal point. Practice these simple steps and you will see more depth in your drawings.

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