Sunday, April 26, 2009

100 Heads: Head #58

This is a portrait of my son Christopher. You can see the reference photo below. I used medium vine charcoal, Conte H, B, HB, and 2B charcoal pencils, and General's white charcoal pencil on blue Strathmore Charcoal paper. And I used a little bit of red pastel too. I have recently made some portrait drawing process changes:

  • I work standing up at an easel now, rather than sitting down and drawing in a sketch book. Being able to step back and look at both the photo reference and my drawing at the same time seems to improve my proportions and values.
  • When I am standing back and looking at the photo reference, I squint in order to see the major shapes and values. Human beings do not focus on detail the way a camera does. There is no reason to try to copy all of the details in a photo.
  • I work on the general shape and tilt of the head, position of features, and planes of the face before getting into details of the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. This is contrary to my instincts and is hard for me to do. But slowing down and getting the big picture right is faster in the long run and leads to better results.
There is nothing new about any of these revelations, of course. Sometimes it just takes a long time for the basics to sink in.


Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

A great drawing of your son!!
I agree with you, standing up behind the easel keeps me from tightening up and keeps the "energy" alive.

Laurel Neustadter said...

Thanks, Ronell.