Sunday, October 19, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 6

The photo below shows how the portrait looks after the initial blending.  As you can see, there are subtle changes on the skin that give it minimal definition.  Since the graphite is blended over the majority of the area, the missing highlights make a huge difference in the appearance of the skin (easiest to see on the dark ear).   The harsh lighting to the right was left alone for maximum impact.  This step is always exciting and a little frightening at the same time, because I know a major change is about to happen with the chiseling out of the features. :)

The right side of the face (from our point of view) held the harshest lighting and darkest shadows.  So, graphite was pulled out with a kneaded and click eraser and more layers added to the folds of the ear, creases under the eye, cheek and jaw line... again, with the most noticeable change being the ear.  This has to be my most favorite part of graphite work.  The initial mapping can be so tedious, which is amazing since I will physically smear all of that hard work, but this step makes it all worth while.  I can still make out plane changes and those careful details simply get built up to the finished product.

I put a few shadows under his face to help determine whether my shading on the lower jaw was dark enough.  The face is going to be left alone until the clothing has been completed.  Clothing is a major comfort zone for me, so I look forward to getting lost in the folds.  ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 5

Here is a glimpse into the early work stages of the skin in a portrait.  This photo captures the initial mapping of the rest of the check area and ear.  Although this little guys skin is baby smooth, the beginning layout of graphite is subtle for all types of subjects, even if the person has advanced age lines.  There might be a few areas that the pencil lines are very tight and appear more dense; but overall, this is simply a road map of where the shadows and plane changes appear.   It is a little difficult to see the pencil marks on the Bristol in this size, but you can click on the image to enlarge.  The next step will be to blend the entire area with the exception of small areas of  harsh highlights.  Then, the erasing and building up of graphite will begin.  :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 4

Such a tremendous change in temperature around here,  I can honestly say that it is chilly outside.  My time has been split between working on my Hummingbird quilt (while the real ones fight at the feeder outside my window) and making a little more progress at the drawing board.  Here is a glimpse of this little guy's eye after it has had its initial blending... very flat, but you can see the undercurrent of what the depth of his iris will be.

After a little lifting of graphite-- more blending-- more lifting etc. etc., here is where the eye is at currently.  A little more definition and some highlights to the lashes are needed, but it is getting closer to completion.  ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 3

Vacation and a warmer than usual studio have slowed progress on this drawing.   This photo was taken with my overhead light on.  It was an intentional wash out to lose the blotchy look from lack of natural light.  As you can see, I am working my way across the forehead.   Not too much time is being spent in that area until the eye makes an appearance.  The darkest shading from the eye will be what sets the tone for the area surrounding, but I wanted to get the basic shading in.  Babies have such an odd hairline.  It is fun to try and make the fuzzy new hair come to life. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 2

Where is the rest of the hair?  The question ran across my mind last night after I had already begun work on this little guy's mouth. LOL  All I really remember was sitting down, wondering how difficult the nose would be to shape, and finding myself correcting the line drawing on the lower lip while contemplating it.  One line led to shading, and shading led to working my way up to his nose.  Once it occurred to me that I really should have continued with the hair, I was too far gone.   The work flow goes like that some times, and as we all know, the rest of the drawing will get done in its own time. :)
The mouth had lots of nice creases and dark shading compared to the rest of the features, but the lack of size made it take a little more time than I anticipated.  But after all the layering and erasing, I am satisfied with the results. 
In this updated photo, the features appear to have a lot of contrast, but that is a trick of the camera.  The shading is true to the graphite that created it and very subtle in appearance.  So for my preference, a softer lead will come out at a later time and give a little more push to the darkest areas.

His nose has such slight variations in the skin tone.  Kind of crazy really, since there is a lot going on in that small area.  The nostrils always have that defining outer edge and inner shadow, but the area surrounding them could almost make one insane with the lack of strong contrasts.  I took a slight amount of artistic license to pull it together and was tempted to keep moving to the right.  But, I decided to stop myself at that point.  I really need to keep moving up or risk losing a place to rest my hand. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Graphite Baby Portrait WIP Continued

I am moving right along into the hair.  With the exception of the long wisps on the top, this little guy has some very light and super fine hair.  It is really challenging me.  For right now, the goal is to finish all the hair and then step back and refine it.  The camera's focus was on his facial features, leaving the hair with very little definition.  It almost blends in with the underlying flesh tone.  I am not sure if a little artistic license will be needed, when it is all on paper. 


Graphite is not the kindest form of art to photograph.  I purchased a Canon Rebel T3i for Christmas and need to start messing with the settings and lighting.  But I think, this shows the work well enough for now.  :)

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 friend came up with an old photo. :) 

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! 

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. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014