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Topic: Another portrait, but I wanna cry.  (Read 2715 times)
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Deana M.
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« on: October 25, 2006 09:22:45 PM »

Cry  Cry  Undecided

I wanted soooo bad to do a good portrait tonight. I tried four times and spent over two hours.

Hopefully I got the eyes right this time. I used a couple of photos and a mirror (my hall tree). I set a kitchen chair in the living room by the mirror and went at it with great anticipation. I was inspired.

But as the night went on, I guess my inspiration waned. I finished with this sketch of a pout-y face:

and then set out to color it in hopes of improving it a little after scanning:

Please be honest pointing out my imperfections. I'm trying to move past creating doodles and making real art someday.

Love is a beast whose bite becomes deadly to your soul. ~ Deana.
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2006 09:33:27 PM »

I  must  say  it is  really  very  pretty!  I  am no artist dn  can't  even  draw  a crooked line!  but the  only thing that seems a bit off kilter is her right side (my left) of her face and mouth. teh  right  seems  great and teh  rest of teh  body seems porpotioned  right... I  dunno. I still like it tho.  and  I love hte  eyes  very realistic looking to me.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2006 09:39:04 PM by jloveg » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2006 09:35:21 PM »

These are far from doodles.
I think perhaps you should try to loosen your strokes (that sounds provocative, oh my). She seems to have a hard jawline and shoulders, and an almost unrealistic rigidity in her pose. You seem to have a good flow in the hair, but otherwise she seems a bit stiff. Generally speaking, women are portrayed as curvy and flowing; which includes the face and shoulders. Try rounding some of the edges; even the lips seem a little hard. Many artists start their drawings with a circle for the base. Might be worth a try Smiley

I really hope I'm not being too harsh... I know exactly how you feel; that your art might not be up to par... you are your worst critic, just remember that (I wish I could. Trying to put together a portfolio for art college is killing me  Sad ) I am glad you are continuing to draw and to post your drawings Grin

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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2006 09:42:27 PM »

Let me start by saying you are on the right track! Drawing people is hard, especially with no real model. But there is one thing that is jumping out at me. Her head is not shaped right. The front and jawline are fine, but the back of her head (under the hair, if you will) is too flat and small. I don't know if you are doing this, but sketch out the body first without clothes, hair, anything. That will help you get your proportions down. The whole head thing is extremely common in learning to draw people. It will feel overexaggerated the first few times you get it the right size.

My other recommendation is to take a life drawing or anatomy class. Life drawing will give you lots of practice on proportion and forshortening, the two major parts of figure drawing. An anatomy class will give you a good understanding of the musculo-skeletal structure under the body, and that helps a lot. For example, google images of skulls, and you will be able to fix that head thing, no sweat. A good book is Greys Anatomy (not from the tv show). It gives all the good body insides without the expense of a class. Also, buy a cheap sketch book and fill it with all sorts of people sketches, completed or not.

After that long talk....good luck! I've been watching your work, and I'd love to see you continue. Keep it up, you're doing great.

If you need some art for your walls, check out everything I create in my studio, Daydream House:

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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2006 06:19:27 AM »

Yes, please continue.

But also, try to relax. Your first few (or several) aren't going to be fantastic. I've only been painting for about 6 months, and already I'm seeing huge leaps and bound in my work.

Getting frustrated over it is just going to make you want to quit. So relax and in a couple of weeks take out the stuff you did this week and compare it to your current work. You'll see the changes.


« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2006 08:14:14 AM »

I really like the colored version. Shading is something I have a really hard time with, you did a good job. And the proportions are good.

It's hard to critique another person's art because what I might see as flawed could actually just be your personal style, which other people might love. But here's what I think, based on my own experience with sketching in a realistic style.  And your drawing looks a LOT like one I would have done a few years ago.

The eyes are usually halfway down the face.  There are exceptions, like Eskimos and the occasional person with a really small forehead, but in general placing the middle of the eye halfway down the head will give a more realistic look. Then the nose generally ends halfway between the eyes and chin, and the upper lip is just under the nose. Obviously, these proportions are variable depending upon the person, but they're a good starting point. When I learned about the points where the eyes, nose and mouth generally go, my drawing really improved.

Since I can't see a picture of you, I have no idea whether your jaw is really so square. Most women, however, have a softer jawline. This is something that I actually have problems with in reverse--my men all look like chicks because I just can't get a square jawline to work. So mostly I draw women. Anyway, on a woman the jaw usually begins just under the ear and then curves more steeply than on a man, and then the chin is usually rounder. There are, however, women with very stern chins--and there, you have to be careful to round out and soften their other features to keep them from looking too masculine.

The only other recommendation I have is the same advice other people have given you: relax.  Loosen your hand and sketch. It's okay to erase, but in the beginning especially, just let the lines find their way onto the paper. Every line doesn't have to be perfect. That will come later. Enjoy the process, don't agonize over it, or you'll just be frustrated. Sometimes you will be drawing something and you'll think "Omigod that's fantastic" and then you'll move on to something else and it just won't work, it'll be awful, and you should keep in mind that this is just part of the learning process. We're all inconsistent until we've practiced enough.

Holy crap I've written a lot. I hope this stuff makes sense. Anyway, you've made a very good start, and I hope that you will continue to post your drawings, because I think with practice you will be very good. I will scan and post some of my sketches so you can see the evolution of my sketching, maybe it will encourage you. I'm finally getting to the point where I'm brave enough to show other people!


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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2006 10:23:55 AM »

some things you might wanna try...

in a portrait class i'm taking, the first like 5 weeks we just did exercises to focus on bone structure, head shape, and shadows. my teacher's thing is that you start with a very general shape and then add the shadows and then slowly, like a sculpter, shape the features. the base, or start as my teacher calls it, is the most important thing to do right. even if you copy the features exactly, it may not be a complete likeness because the base wasn't exactly right. and by having all the shading and structure right, it'll give the face more volume. (um, i hope that was understandable...lol i'm still having a reeeeally hard time with this, too. i'm not trying to make myself sound wonderful. Tongue these are all things my teacher told me. Smiley ) you might want to find a good book that explains what i'm talking about, except way better. what book, you might ask, i'm not sure. haha great help i am.  Lips sealed if i find a good book, i'll let you know.

and good luck! you're off to an awesome start.

"You have to have a high conception, not of what you are doing, but of what you may do one day: without that, there's no point in working." ~Edgar Degas
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2006 04:02:24 PM »

Well done, it looks like you worked really hard on this, and it looks really good... a few tips I'd suggest are more or less the same as people have already suggested:
Life drawing class is a brilliant way to improve- because you're drawing from a real person rather than photos, etc. your drawings almost instantly become a little more fluid.

do some really (REALLY) super quick sketches- take your sketchbook out into the street or library or on the train or something and just do kind of 'visual note'-style 10-20sec drawings of the people there. That way you learn to get a drawing down to it's most basic elements, and get a real feel for what you HAVE to put in a drawing to make the subject human.

Try something bolder than pencil- the main weak spot on your portrait seems to be some of the lines aren't very confident. What you have to remember is- you will probably draw some wrong lines, everybody does, but a lot of the time that's what makes a drawing interesting! also if you use something like a black marker or ink, etc. once you've made a line- it's there for good, and you can't go back on it- your drawings will instantly look more confident.

Sorry if I seem like I'm being overly critical, it's just what helped me to develop my portraiture drawings. Believe me, it's one of those things that will just keep progressing, I don't think you ever "perfect" it. It's tremendous fun, though, and you really have drawn a lovely pic!

(blimey- also sorry for waffling! can you tell  did some teaching experience recently? I'm used to emptying out a million and one ideas to students for their portfolios! -_-)
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2006 05:44:04 PM »

Your portrait looks good.  And you have received some good advise on this thread.  I just have a couple things to add. 

1. How big is this drawing?  It looks a bit cramped.  Try getting a big sketch pad, like 18" x 24" (or bigger) to give yourself some room. 

2.  I second the recommendations to do some quick sketches (they're called gestures and they are good for understanding the movement and pose of the body) and also doing some anatomical drawings.  They will really help you understand the structure, skin over muscle over bone.

3.  Try drawing yourself with your hair pulled back into a bun or ponytail.  The hair looks great, but it will help you improve the portrait if you can see your face and bone structure more clearly.

Keep up the good work and don't be afraid to take chances.  I look forward to seeing more of your work!  Smiley

Deana M.
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2006 07:12:16 PM »

Wowwie!! Grin

Thank you everyone for helping me! All of this is soooo great to hear! Exactly what I needed. I knew there was something wrong and couldn't place it.

The sharpness of some of the features was probably me being impatient. This time, I won't sit in front of a mirror or just look at pictures, instead I'll work on bone structure and setting the features at the right places on the head. Being shy, I tend to hide behind my long poof-y hair, but yes, I'll draw hair away from the face or real short hair until I get better and soften the features.

I draw, or doodle, on discarded paper from the printer at work for now, but if/when I get better, I'll treat myself to a real sketch pad.

I never dreamed I would get such detailed help! Million thanks and I'll try really hard to reward all of you with a decent portrait.

Love is a beast whose bite becomes deadly to your soul. ~ Deana.
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