blog post header August 2020

From Start to Finish: A Portrait

warm-up sketchesMost of the time I start drawing by practicing a few quick poses. Each is somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes long and I find sources for my practice on the website Line of Action. The images on said website are great for practice and sessions can be timed.

I generally like to use a PITT OIL BASE pencil (Faber-Castell) to sketch. I particularly like the versatility of the smooth glide and the non-reflective colour that it provides. It suits my purpose when I want to sketch a shape’s outlines, but it also lets me create even gradients and solid planes.

I only recently started to enjoy coloured pencils, which is probably due to the fact that I didn’t know how to use them. Too often the results looked childish or chintzy. A big factor to avoiding this is patience and time. But it also helps to be aware that coloured pencils create very saturated, vibrant colours. This is of course great but it also means that they occasionally need dampened and desaturated for a more impactful result.

initial sketch and base colour of portraitInitially I sketched out the chosen pose and model. I did a thumbnail sketch the size of my palm first. Then I sketched out the final concept at roughly the size of an A4 page.

drawing progression of a portrait, mid-wayI used 14 different shades to create this drawing, started with the brighter ones and darkened the drawing gradually. After I drew a base layer of colour for the hair I used the black oil pencil to create more contrast.

last segment of progression of the portraitOn and on I continued layering colour on colour until I was satisfied. This was also the point where I added the pupil to the eye. This helped me check my proportions without having my eye constantly drawn to the subject’s eye. Finally I added colour to the shirt and if I had wanted to I could have continued and filled in a background. As this was an exercise I left it at that.

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