Tag: portrait

A Pencilly Afternoon

As you may recall, my Pencil Portraits class will begin again, on 2/17/21. It’s a lovely class with a great instructor, social distancing, real people! None of this virtual stuff, which has its place, but doesn’t cut it for me. However, that is another story.

For my previous two Pencil Portrait classes, I spent the entire time – 2 hours a day in class for 5 weeks to do one portrait in each session. I learned a lot and got some good results. This time around, though, I am actually “prepping” for the class. I want to be able to render a likeness that is recognizable, but I want to try to do a portrait in each session. That means a portrait in two hours, for a total of 4 portraits (we are meeting for 4 weeks this time, with a possible 5th depending on what the class wants).

Thus, I have decided to refer to various how-to books in my library, as well as work with other resources, such as YouTube. With as many resources at hand, I just need to sit down and work on things. Today’s focus is on proportions and positions of the eye, nose, ears, and mouth in a frontal view and in profile, as well as some practice with shading – as I’ve noted, my ability to render shadows and contrast gets lost when I work with color.

Above are studies from the book Drawing Portraits for the Absolute Beginner by Mark and Mary Willenbrink.

More from the Willenbrink’s book as well as a face I drew the other day. 

Shading studies with a look at where light hits a sphere from different directions.  Not too sure how realistic my results are, but in a way, just doing it and thinking about it is perhaps more important.  Being conscious of shadows is the whole point.  I learned a lot from a video by Xabio Arts, which is below:

Solving the problems of drawing means putting tools in your art supplies – mental ones for reference with a pencil (or pen, or brush!).

More shading, and a face.  Per the Willenbrinks, the face is about 5 eyes wide – which I know – and 7 eye-widths high – which I never learned.  Now that is a good trick.  From there – a couple of faces and shadows.

A face on a singe sheet of paper, using guides from the Willenbrink’s book as well as from a video on YouTube from Xabio Arts on drawing the face straight-on.

Now, profiles.  I really did not get the Willenbrink’s proportions very well.  Something eluded me.  The heads just don’t seem in proportion.  Thus, some YouTube videos on drawing the head in profile.  Not much hit me until . . .

. . . I came across a profile video done in 2015 by Liron Yanconsky on YouTube.  These are his proportions, and they work a lot better for me and how I want to set up proportions.  You can see his video below.

And the final drawing of the day is below.

Art is personal and we all have our own way of doing things.  It’s so interesting that, although we are taught the same thing, how our minds and bodies put it out on paper can be so different.

I’ve also realized that I never have had a drawing course, or read a book, that says “Do it this way!”  Technical mastery is not just in knowing how your medium works, but also how to render the real world around you.  This mastery becomes a jumping-off point to your own adventrues.

Atilt

We had only a 2-week session of out pencil portrait class. We met in a park behind the local library for a couple of hours for the past two Wednesdays, and I will miss them so much! Perhaps next year? I hope so.

Our teacher, Steve, is a lovely man, encouraging with a sharp eye and pithy, simple suggestions. I know I have improved a great deal in the few sessions we have had.

So, for today’s portrait, I chose to use the photo below, found on Pixabay. I love the expression in this photo, as well as the challenges it posed – the tilt of the head, the odd angles, the contrast. My own drawing failed to catch this beautiful face, but it did work as far as placement of eyes, nose, mouth, ear. It was really a tough study!

The pencil portrait class has gotten me interested in drawing faces. I’ve done three so far. Maybe something to schedule every Wednesday morning to keep my hand in it, and hope Steve will honor us with another series next year.

A Beautiful Face

During the spring, before the coronavirus stopped in-person classes, I started a pencil portrait class. Then the virus hit, and some of the best classroom instruction came to a screeching halt after 2 classes. Come summer, an email came around – the teacher was offering in-person classes outside of the school, with the drawing group to meet in a park behind the local library, one equipped with tables, bathrooms, shade, sidewalks, ponds and ducks. Perfect! We met for 5 sessions. Yesterday and next Wednesday we will meet again. In-person teaching is so much better for a lot of things, and with our talented teacher, a lot is learned. The company of those with similar interests adds to a bit of quality of life. We sit 6 feet apart, wear our masks, and enjoy a wonderful few hours together outdoors.

Above is my drawing from yesterday. I focused on the eyes and nose of the photograph below. My drawing is not perfect, but definitely one which works fairly well, I think. The man below caught my eye on Pixabay (searced for “portrait man”). He has such a wonderful face, filled with what I see as character and kindness. The teacher agreed and said he looks like he could be a great friend.

For me, a portrait of a person needs to convey something of their personality. I don’t tend to photograph people or draw them. Drawing people is detail-oriented and rather in opposition to my splashy, messy style, but it is good discipline and actually very relaxing. In a congenial environment, with like-minded people, a lot can be learned and accomplished.

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