Thursday, April 17, 2014

Darkening Portrait with 9b Wood Case Pencil ~ Anne Hatheway

 I decided to keep fiddling with this project.  The nice thing about not being in the middle of a consignment is the lack of fear to go out on a limb.  The 9b wood case pencil was used heavily in the hair to bring in some harsh contrast.  The free handed style seems to give the hair a more natural appearance; even though, the overall flow is similar to the photograph.  The composition still has a ways to go but here is the progress.


The facial features were darkened with a lighter application of 9b, since there is very subtle shading in that area.  Hopefully, I will wrap this study up over the weekend.  :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Anne Hatheway WIP 6

After finishing most of the facial features, I started feeling like the reason for attempting this portrait had been met.  Well... not completely.  Honestly, the darks could take a little more pushing.    Maybe my impatience was being driven by the fact that the hair felt like such a monumental task spread out before me.  I really wanted the hair to present itself as though it had a little less planning to it.   My professor/mentor in college use to push at me constantly to let go and be more free handed.  I am sure there were several occasions when she would have loved to smack me upside the head, especially since she had a daughter that was just like me. ;)    In her honor, I started to free hand the hair.  Here is a photo that gives you a glimpse into the different levels of shading.  The hair is beginning to take shape.  I think that it is time to let the softer leads take over in the more developed areas.   

Even though the progress on this composition makes me more positive about doing portraits, I might throw this drawing into one of my artist forums to be critiqued.  There is nothing like criticism to make an artist grow. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Graphite Drawing of Actress Anne Hatheway WIP 5

A little bit of progress since my last post.  There must be some sort of cabin fever going on here, since I have not been happy enough to settle down to the drawing board.  An overwhelming feeling of being cramped and claustrophobic overtakes my being.  Today, my time was spent rearranging my small space to make it open up around the area where my table is at.  The new layout seems to have done the trick for the time being and as a result a few hours were put into the piece.  As you can see, the hair needs a whole lot more dark added to the shadows! ;)

I have been sorting through my art books lately and organizing shelves, which has sent me into a reflective mood...  So many artists are born with such distinct styles.  Ever since I was young, my drawings have been mapped out by the shadows.  My drawings can start anywhere on a subject, since the whole isn't of interest to me in the beginning.  The subject is just a mass of intricate interconnecting light and dark shapes to me.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed moments of life sketching and free flowing lines, my detailed work has always been built up this way.

These thoughts were floating around in my head today, because I happened across one of Lee Hammond's art books.  She is an artist who's experiences and techniques overlapped many of mine and to whom I attribute the push in my work to smooth Bristol board and layered blending.   When viewing her work for the first time in over a few years, I was amazed at how different our finished products were.  Her art has more of an airbrushed/polished finish.  Mine still allows for the shifts in surface planes to show through-- a more sketchy like feel.  It was a little bit of a shock for me to see our differences in style when using similar techniques. 

I don't know where this train of thought is going... Just a little rambling, I guess...  Although it has been 25 years since being in college, I can still hear my art professor (who I admired greatly and did great battle with ;) ) tell me that she could always pick my art out on the display wall.  I must admit that I took it as an insult for a moment.  Then, she turned to me and said that having a distinct style is not a bad thing.  :)

Maybe my mind just needs some questions to ponder...  My belief has always been that artists are born with their talent... But can a style be altered or changed?   How do other artists view their subjects... as a whole all the time, in parts or in small details?   Do they see lines or the shading that lies within them?   It would be narrow minded of me to think that we all see things the same way.  Life has shown me that is not true.  Being one of three siblings that draw, I can honestly tell you that none of the three have the same style.  Just another thought to ponder for the night! :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Graphite Drawing of Actress Anne Hathaway WIP 4

I am really beginning to enjoy this piece.  She is really coming to life.  Faces do not have all of the creases and minute details that one experiences when drawing hands...  Much more of a free flowing atmosphere in the studio. 
The hair is making its appearance into the composition with the introduction of the eyebrows and hairline.  I am not sure that the rest of the hair will be as relaxing as the facial features, but it has got to be better than dealing with animal fur! ;)

Here is a little comparison with the reference photo.  Sorry for the glare, but the lights of my studio can be a real pain! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Graphite Drawing of Actress Anne Hathaway WIP 3

Here is how the portrait of Anne Hathaway was looking at the beginning of my session.  As you can see, I have the reference photo, that I enlarged in the sketching stage, taped to the upper corner.  The 4 x6 reference photo helps me to see sharp details.  Most of these details are blurred in the larger photo that was printed.  As always, my preference is to work from a color photo.
Here is the composition as it sits now.  The mouth isn't exactly at the point that I would like it to be, but it is close enough for now.  The graphite is photographing a little blotchy.  The light source in the room isn't friendly to photos presently.  When tweaking the original drawing, it is heaven sent to have the grid! :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Graphite Drawing of Actress Anne Hathaway WIP Cont.

I am glad to be updating the blog.  Unfortunately, blogger still hasn't fixed the loading issues... But lucky for me, my son fell in love with a new phone to do his Internet on and his laptop hasn't had updates for months.  This laptop isn't completely happy with blogger, but it is at least letting me load some posts for the time being.
The pic below is a little hard to see, but it is the line drawing transferred to Bristol board.  If you look closely, the grid has only been reconstructed mainly over the facial features.  I am not planning a background to this composition and may let the hair fade off on the edges.
I began the drawing with the nose... probably not my smartest choice. :(  This is where the drawing almost ended up in the trash.  It looks really harsh as you can see.  To calm my frazzled nerves, I worked on my area of facial feature preference-- the eyes.  The eyes are the windows to the soul.  Funny that they can be created with very little shading, but when they decided to come together, it is an amazing feeling.  It ceases to be a piece of paper and the portrait begins to come to life...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Graphite Pencil Sketch of Actress Anne Hathaway WIP

My mind has been preoccupied with the idea of working on some subjects that are out of my comfort zone for drawing.  With the ringing in of the New Year, I made a resolution to spend more time on my art and push my self imposed boundaries.  It has been on my mind for some time to work on human facial features, but I have been having troubles locating descent photos to work from.  Although I hadn't given much thought to the fan art movement, it is hard not to notice the wealth of celebrity photos on the internet.  There is a regular treasure trove of subjects to choose from.  After looking thru numerous photos, I settled on a small 4x6 of Anne Hathaway.  She has some strong features that work perfectly to practice on.  Plus, the photo of her had some heavy shadowing that I really need to have when creating graphite drawings. 
As you can see below, I have a line drawing that was sketched on transfer paper.  This has always been my method, so that I always have the original drawing in case of false starts. ;)

 **For those that are new to the Sketches blog, I have a few grids of various sizes drawn on Bristol board that I mount the transfer paper on.  I choose the grid that fits the size that I am blowing the drawing up to.  After the line drawing is done, I mark the dimensions of the grid on the paper and transfer the drawing onto Bristol board.  The grid marks on the drawing are used to recreate a grid on the areas of the drawing that have a lot of detail and will be blended with graphite in the finished composition.  The grid, in this case, was constructed over her face and part of her neck.

I would love to show you my early blending on this composition, but blogger would only let me load one picture.  Hopefully, blogger will get its glitches fixed over the next few days.  I can tell you that I initially struggled with the nose and almost threw the drawing out. Time will tell if the features start to come together. :)