Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why I have avoided faces

I am sure I will eventually get there, but this is why I have avoided drawing faces


SCquiltaddict said...

Hey this is pretty have everything where it belongs...and the eyes are a good shape...this is an awesome start!!! Keep it up!!

Teri C said...

Good start. Doing faces is really practicing and practicing......

I like your buick too.

Brian said...

The troubles you have with faces are very familiar to me. I had them for years as well, and in fact I still struggle a bit with it, although things have improved over the years. So that's the good news: practice makes perfect. Or at least better! ;-)

There is no point avoiding faces because you are 'no good at faces,' because drawing is drawing, whatever it is that you draw. It is just that with faces (and nude human figures), the mistakes stand out much more clearly because we all know very well what faces and figures should look like. For this reason, making a point of drawing figures and faces is actually a good way to learn to draw, even if one has no interest in specializing in that.

Advice: it looks to me like you are using some sort of pen for drawing. Ballpoint perhaps? Also one of my favourite sketching mediums, but a rather tricky one to master, because it is all too easy to end up with a formless, 'scratchy' sort of look. Go look around on the web for drawings by Renaissance artists, and notice how they use their pens, and sometimes also other drawing media.

Furthermore, while reference photographs are freely available and convenient, they are not really a good way to learn to draw. It is better to initially work from life, and to copy works by master artists. On a site like you'll find gazillions of masterpieces from the past few centuries; they are very good to copy.

You might also want to join these Yahoo groups:

In the meantime, your drawings do not look so bad at all: you are already way better than most average people. Just keep at it, and it will keep on improving.

Alan said...

Thanks Brian. I use a Micron pen. Usually the #02 or #01. I am considering doing some using pencil to obtain better shading to see how that works out.

Brian said...

I think it probably matters relatively little what kind of drawing instrument one uses. Pencil does have the advantage that one can erase mistakes, and create very nice, soft gradations of tone. On the other hand, precisely because cannot erase pen marks, it encourages one to observe very carefully!

But the main thing is to learn to observe first and only then draw. That way one ends up with less tentative sketches. It is something that never ceases to amaze me about masterful artists: they seem capable of putting more information into a ten minute sketch than I can in two hours of meticulous drawing! They have learned well to observe essentials.

With shading, it helps if one chooses lighting conditions where fairly clearly visible, large shadows are cast across the object, whether it be a still life or a face. Under such conditions, you can conceive of the shadows as shapes, and indeed, you'll notice in master sketches that sometimes they even outline such shadow shapes before filling them in.

A book I can recommend is 'Drawing on the right side of the brain' by Betty Edwards. It helps a lot to teach one to see. On the other hand, looking at your drawings I think you already have a solid grip on the basics. You produce quite attractive work; I very much like your three latest animal sketches. You seem to have a solid grasp of getting overall proportions right, which is something I still have an unending battle with!