Saturday, July 19, 2014

Graphite Baby Portrait on Bristol WIP

We have been having the most beautiful weather this week, including today-- my birthday. ;)  I have been able to open the door to my little studio and work away without a fan drying out my eyes.  It has been such a pleasure spending time finding my way thru the maze of an infant's face.  Drawing is tied with walking as a stress reliever in my life... very therapeutic.
Here is quick look at the progress on my attempt at a baby portrait.  My initial shading began on the ear... HUGE mistake.  It was reminiscent of starting on the nose of Anne.  So right away, I switched my attention to the eye.  By picking the darkest spot on his face, it has set the tone for the rest of the shading. 
I am finding that infant skin does not require as much mapping as compared to an adults.  But with less mapping comes the challenge of making the subtle transitions show up but not overwhelm the features-- or worse, make the skin do some unusual caving or projecting outward.  It has been an enjoyable process to work with a new type of subject matter.  His hair makes me a little nervous, since it is very light.  So, I am heading in that direction next.  :)   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Baby Portrait in Graphite ~ New Huion Light Pad

With space being in limited supply around my studio, I decided to replace my old light box with the new Huion Light Pad.  The pad is 23.5 inches with a working space of 16 x 12.  Since it is one of the larger models, it has a regular cord that plugs into the wall.  You cannot see it from the photo, but there is a spot that is flush on the upper left corner that controls the brightness.  One touch turns it on.  Continued pressure gradually makes the pad brighter, peaking at the brightest, then back to dark.  An additional touch after returning to dark, turns off the pad.  It is truly a space saver being under a half an inch thick.  It is also run by LED lighting, so it should have illuminating longevity in its future. :)


The light pad throws off quite a bit of a glow in the studio on its brightest setting.  The huge plus is that I found a use for my plexi drawing bridge.  When placed underneath, it helps to give the right amount of tilt when transferring a drawing.

My son's baby portraits were done with a full body pose.  So, the hunt has been on for a facial portrait of an infant around half a year or older.  This was a little bit more of a challenge than I thought.  Thankfully, a coworker had an older photo stacked in a frame that she offered to the cause.  

Just to show the intensity of the pad, here is the set up for the transfer on the newest composition.  I sketched out the drawing on transfer paper and used a ultra fine black marker to eliminate smudging.  In this photo, the sketch is under a piece of Bristol board.  The Huion holds its own in the illumination department.  Plus, it does not create a light that irritates my vision! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Anne Hatheway Graphite Portrait ~ Finished

The weather outside was filled with  sunshine and warmth today.   Beautiful weather for the local Easter egg hunts.  :)  My morning was spent running errands and the afternoon cleaning our little pond.   After all the days activities came to an end, I was able to spend the evening drawing in my messy little studio with windows wide open. *sigh*    As you can see below, the portrait has been completed.  I am pleased with the results and feel that I have learned a lot during the process.   My fear of doing human portraits has been lessened by sticking with this one till completion.  I am so happy that I didn't shelve it a few posts back. :)   

I look forward to relaxing tomorrow... Easter will be a day of enjoying a visit with family and contemplating my next subject.  Although there are a few animal compositions that would be fun,  I find myself wondering how difficult an infant portrait would be to render on Bristol.  The features would be such a challenge from everything that I have done before.  Of course, a bigger challenge would be finding a descent photo to draw from! ;)  I will have to go on a mad search of friends, family or the Internet again.   I will more than likely have to draw another subject in the between time and that's okay, too.  :)  For right now, I am ready to put away this piece.  Since tomorrow will be here soon, I would like to wish you all ...

A Happy Easter!


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!