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Man, did I bust my ass on this one. If you see some of my previous portraits, I think you will agree that my progress has been significant since I joined this forum along with all of you incredible artists! Thanks for all the help so far
(example of previous crappy abandoned portrait) http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=192261
So yeah, I'm very proud of this one. But I'd love to hear any further suggestions you have regarding what/how I might have done better?
Here's the reference photo:
Hey there, I like the approach you took, but it looks too flat at the moment in my opinion, besides, it seems as if you tried to rush the shoulders plus you definitely need more depth in order to make the portrait-thing work.
I would suggest, that you skip the photo-reference for the moment and maybe use ur own drawing as reference - maybe also try to lose the self-imposed boundaries of having to copy her, instead go crazy and create picasso-esque versions or monochromatic versions of the young lady, give the inner artist a bit more space.
It's an improvement form your old sketch, since you tried to incorporate the lady entirely from the photo..
But take it to the next step and create accurate values in the face of the person. While the values in a person's face is somewhat "subtle" compared to an object such as a car, the values in your picture is far too light to depict her accurately. Maybe you were focusing on the placement of her features more so than how they fit into her face.. (there are stronger shadows under her brow, eyes and to the left of the face and even under her chin.)
The only other thing is that the shoulders are somewhat awkward, because you left out the folds of the clothing but used enough line to define some sort of object there.
Anyway, have fun and keep trying! Progression is awesome!
The reason I kept the face shading light is because of the light shading I had observed in some Old Master portraits, for example:
I agree that my portrait looks flat. Why do you think the light shading works in these drawings, and not in mine?
With your approach, you're missing a ton of characteristic features you could have seen in the photo.
May I suggest you focus on rendering the lighting using the "planes" method? Construction "wireframe" drawing might help, too.
Above all, try to do these exercises from life, not from a photo. It takes a considerable skill to get all the subtleties from a photo; with a live subject or even a statue, it is much easier.
What's the "planes" method? Could you please briefly explain this, or link me to a source? Thank you!May I suggest you focus on rendering the lighting using the "planes" method? Construction "wireframe" drawing might help, too.
The source for "planes" method is Andrew Loomis, you can find his books at fineart.sk. You'll want "Drawing Head and Hands", most likely, but the rest are worthwhile too.
Basically, instead of groping for smooth shading, you break down the form into distinct planes, each more or less evenly lit. It is a good exercise to study lit form, but thinking of planes helps to see the correct structure even if you do not render the actual planes.
Hey, to answer your question about the difference between those master drawings and what you've done - if you look at those master drawings, overall the faces look light, but if you look closer, you see very directed and confident areas of shading that define key features of the face, especially around the eyes where there is most depth going on. Looking at your drawing, it's mostly a line drawing with extremely light and very uncertain/unconfident shading. I think you do need to really think of the face (and really anything else you want to draw realistically) as a 3D object that can look very different depending on how light is hitting it.
Look at the ref picture and you immediately know that there is light coming from the right, but in yours, it's like you took light out of the equation.
Aside from shading and lighting, I think you also need to really study the features of your subject to get down the key discerning features. On a face obviously, the eyes are very crucial but the eyes and eyebrows that you drew do not look like the ones in the photo which is fine if you weren't really going for likeness as much as practicing drawing style. Nevertheless, I feel that it's always good practice to be able to draw exactly what you see whether the reference is from a photo on in your imagination.
Regarding the eyes, could you maybe go into a bit more detail as to what I did wrong? Like I said, I was extra careful, and in fact I spent about 8 hours on the eyes alone, zooming close in with my computer. I have no formal training, so if you could maybe give me a few pointers it'd be much appreciated!
Another problem here; to give you a scapegoat, is the photograph itself is flat. It's a little low contrast.
But we can't really blame the inanimate object. I get the feeling your were a little scared halfway through, of ruining it by referring to a photo that wasn't really giving much up in the way of reference.
I'd suggest you learn to not be scared of interpreting these soft-lit photos, and go ahead, but if you are invested in this piece, then you can always crank up the contrast of the photo, to give you an idea of what really needs to be shaded to give an impression of form.
Everyone has been so helpful here, thank you! I've decided to leave the drawing as is, and to apply everything I've learned from your critiques to my next portrait, which I'm working on presently and am already seeing great progress. I think the main points learnt were: a) more contrast; and b) to be a bit more relaxed/confident when drawing.
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