[UPDATED 12/14/10] Portrait Studies! Help me as I move along!

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    [UPDATED 12/14/10] Portrait Studies! Help me as I move along!

    First real attempt here.

    Ref pic
    [UPDATED 12/14/10] Portrait Studies! Help me as I move along!

    im still not done, but this is where im at, any suggestions appreciated

    [new images at bottom!]

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    Last edited by Havok Reed; December 14th, 2010 at 11:31 PM.
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    A good start.
    You should look into structure and shape. Her proportions are off in your drawing. Try and Get the basic shape of the head first. Simplify and dont add to much detail until the structure is well thought through and correct. By doing this often and taking your time with your studies youll soon be able to draw faces that looks realistic without reference. There is alot of good books on drawing techniques and structure. Look into it and keep on.
    hope any of this is helpful and that you feel fuled to do your next drawing.
    Cheers.

    Björn Silfverberg


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    Turn the photo upside-down and try drawing it again.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Turn the photo upside-down and try drawing it again.
    I really don't know how this should help you, if you want to learn drawing (not succeed on a drawing, but learning it for future drawings) proportions, anatomy, gesture (porraits), line placement (stroke forms included, as they depend on what they actually illustrate) and everything, because you wont concentrate on those facts anymore. When I want to find proportional issues, I try mirroring the picture. Upside down I'd lose track of it.

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    Hmmm yea, just flipping it upside down I can see most the problems with it. Well when I get home from class tonight I'll fix it and post an update. The problem I had was that I didn't start out like I normally would. I know where everything is supposed go on the face, I just ended up drawing the entire thing when I originally just wanted the mouth expression. Yea it may sound dumb but I just got cArried away with it without checking if the features were placed correctly. It was an experiment anyway, I'll redo it so it looks like the actual person. Btw, by flipping it upside-down, it's not any different than mirroring the image In Photoshop

    Last edited by Havok Reed; November 30th, 2010 at 05:24 PM.
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    flipping upside down = your character stands on his head. Based on the "theory", that you forget about forms, using you right brain half.
    Mirroring the picture = another perspective of your picture, a common way to find anatomical issues.

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    lol.....after looking at my original, it looks like a caricature. Alrighty. I went back in, erased all the bits of shading i did and honestly there were very minor things that needed to be done. The chin was too far down, so I brought that up a bit. The cheeks were too rounded out, so those got brought in. the mouth had a slight angle adjustment. The eyes had to be pushed around a tiny bit along with the eye brows. And the nose was widened.

    overall, was about 15 minutes of damage. After the adjustments, I went to see how it lined up with the ref in photoshop, and it all fits pretty good except her left eye is off by a tiny bit, but meh. Not too bad for my first portrait drawing. Most of my stuff is illustrative/comic book style, so this was fun. Will be doing more portraits to get better =D.

    I will attempt to do some rendering to this and see how it turns out.

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    Well, seems like you learn pretty fast.
    I will attempt to do some rendering to this and see how it turns out.
    Definitively. Right now, just with the lines, even if you are close to a 1:1, the portrait will hardly look like her, as the shadings give all the elements (face parties) a form, making the whole face change. Just stick with the reference, use the same light source, place shadow and stroke intensity equal too. Maybe it can help, if you put a filter (Cutout or Poster Edges, if you have photoshop) so you can spot the shadow/light intensity easier.

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    well, like I said, I got carried away with it ignoring the basic rules...anyway, that's a good idea, ill try that out considering that I haven't worked with lighting on faces much at all. ill post some progress later.

    Last edited by Havok Reed; December 1st, 2010 at 11:30 AM.
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    Faces are my area of expertise so let me give you a few hints:

    In stead of telling you what not to do, I'll tell you what you can do:


    Start with straight lines to "block out" the face, hair, and overall composition. This forces you to look at the big picture.

    USE GUIDELINES!!! SO important!
    When drawing faces, proportion is everything..as human beings, our faces are unique. If when drawing faces, the proportion are off on your subjects face, they can end up looking like a totally different person, or just looking deformed or uneven.

    When drawing eyes, you can use spheres in stead of drawing almond shapes to block out the eyes. Then on top of the sphere or circle, draw the iris, then pupil, then draw the eyelids covering the sphere etc. This will force you to think of the eyes in a different way. Eyes are not 100% white and devoid of shadow! You can add value in the eye to give it a more spherical shape. However, the eye does have extreme highlights because of its liquid surface.

    When drawing guidelines, place "landmarks" to map out the features. These can simply be scribble marks telling you the positions of the eyes, nose, and corners of the mouth in relation to one another.

    If you draw the corners of the mouth first then draw the shapes of the lips, its easier to render the mouth. This works best when the mouth is closed..you can see the line between the lips that connect the corners of the mouth easier.

    Its good to know the planes of the face!!

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  14. #11
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    Well, I dont think this does justice for the ref, but its my first render anyway. What adjustments should I make before I put this one away? I never get to work on this stuff during the day when I'm more awake...so fresh eyes are appreciated.

    everytime i look back at my original i laugh....hehe

    Thanks =D

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    Last edited by Havok Reed; December 5th, 2010 at 12:52 AM.
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    maybe I have too much value down on the face? should I lighten some of this up?

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    That's some good shading! And regardless if whether the proportions are 100% exact or not, you've captured the cuteness in your subject.

    But so far I have been displeased with the mouth area every time. It looks too outlined. Think of lips more in terms of shading. The teeth are quite nice, though.

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    @Gislebertus: ah yes, i see what you mean. Ill have to remember that for my next one, thanks!

    Next on the list of portraits!

    Captain Jack Sparrow!
    Line work. Not done with line work quite yet, but this is where im at. Again, I compared it in photoshop and it was much more accurate the first time around than my first portrait XD.

    [UPDATED 12/14/10] Portrait Studies! Help me as I move along!

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    Good progress.

    It looks like you're too worried about your linework. The end result is a flat, stylized picture.

    Take your ref, put it in photoshop, make it grayscale and look at the VALUES. Changes in value form the shape of the figure. The sharper the change in value, the sharper the angle of the form.

    Also, this might just be a pet peeve for me, but on your previous one, it looks like you used a stump or your finger to smudge in your values. I think the end result is smeary and inconsistent looking. The girl's face is much smoother than that. Try using a stiff brush, or a sponge, to move the graphite around without leaving smeared strokes.

    Also, push your core shadows darker. Try to get the full range of values, with your darkest darks appearing almost black. This will add depth to your image, and make your lighter areas pop out more.

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    @JMarok: Thanks!
    Yea I did use a stump >.< but its the only thing I had at the time. After doing this once already, I'm going to approach the shading of my next one a bit differently so it doesn't appear like you said as somewhat flat and I will get a nice blending cloth. I will also have to pick up some darker graphite, I was using the darkest I had (6B) and was just grinding it in there as much as I could for the dark parts. Thanks again.

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    You can build up value without having grind the graphite in, it just takes time and a very sharp pencil.

    With graphite especially it's important to control the value of the whole composition. Leaving large areas light or unfinished can upset the contrast and make the image appear unbalanced.

    Also, it's my personal opinion that you should work on hatching and crosshatching for building value, rather than smudging. For one, it's faster for getting dark values. Moving graphite around with a cloth or brush or what have you should be the final touch on an image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMarok View Post
    Good progress.

    It looks like you're too worried about your linework. The end result is a flat, stylized picture.

    Take your ref, put it in photoshop, make it grayscale and look at the VALUES. Changes in value form the shape of the figure. The sharper the change in value, the sharper the angle of the form.

    Also, this might just be a pet peeve for me, but on your previous one, it looks like you used a stump or your finger to smudge in your values. I think the end result is smeary and inconsistent looking. The girl's face is much smoother than that. Try using a stiff brush, or a sponge, to move the graphite around without leaving smeared strokes.

    Also, push your core shadows darker. Try to get the full range of values, with your darkest darks appearing almost black. This will add depth to your image, and make your lighter areas pop out more.
    Agreed... You should be worrying more about the values than the lines, as there are no lines in real life :p Although you don't have to, try as an exercise to draw without lines, and only values. In my opinion, lines serve as more of a guide for the values within.

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    Thanks for the crits guys. I took your advice and applied cross hatching to my next image. So here it is! There are a few more spots i need to touch up, finish up and what not, but overall this is it.

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    Last edited by Havok Reed; December 9th, 2010 at 09:10 PM.
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    You don't seem to lay down any structure there, and end up making poor copies of photos.

    Try to construct the faces next time. With "wireframe" construction lines. At this stage it's more important to learn seeing and constructing the form, than shading and whatnot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    You don't seem to lay down any structure there, and end up making poor copies of photos.

    Try to construct the faces next time. With "wireframe" construction lines. At this stage it's more important to learn seeing and constructing the form, than shading and whatnot.
    I don't think it's bad at all, nor would I call it a "poor copy". Maybe you should give a good example of what you mean by what you said, because you are kinda vague, point it out for me please?

    It's hard to show everything I have down on the paper because of very light cross hatching I have going on and you can't really see it very well in this photo. On the actual paper, you can see all the detail and construction of the face. So, I'm not sure what I can do. I still need to officially finish it though, so maybe ill go in and darken some of it up if necessary.

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    Don't completely disreguard his advice just because he said you made poor copies. It's crucial to pay attention to form and construction--he's saying like think of why things are why they are instead of being a copy machine. That's teh best way to learn, I think. I really wish I had done ANY construction before..it's part of the reason that even after making a million drawings I am still so reliant on my reference. i am going to change but you should keep it in mind too.

    Your picture is not bad, but at this point you seem to have only darks and lights. Take a good look at the value in the picture. See where is the darkest, lightest, and the inbetween. That way you wont have so much blank space on the face. You did it in the remake of your first portrait so you probably know wat I'm trying to say. I kind of tried to point it out for you in this one. I saw some of the crosshatching you were talking about as I was going over it, but when it's almost as ligt as the paper it is not enough to define a nose. Don't be afraid to put value, all over the face! Remember that a really dark dark will make your light lighter, and you can make your lights lighter than your paper color too!

    I'm sorry if this wasn't helpful, I'm not sure if it will be

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    @Stacybean: Thank you! This does help. I wasn't disregarding what he was saying but I'm a visual learner, words alone wont help me unless they are very specific. That's why I asked him to point things out for me because I couldn't see it. I'm a little hesitant to make things darker, I tend to have a heavy hand. But thank you for the input, I can go in and make those adjustments of value. Oh, and thanks for pointing out the part next to his eye, I couldn't figure out why it looked funny.

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    your looking like your kicking ass, but the tip from me is dont try and get hard lines correct straight away, put a few light building lines in as well, run loose out of your hand and youll get better character. try to "materialize" it from a light squiggly immaterial sorta face.

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    And so it continues! This is a 20 min sketch from my life drawing class, Last day =( . So, unfortunately there is no ref for you guys to look at. Even though my semester is over, I will continue my studies!

    Anyway. I didnt get much time to spend on this one, but I figured I might as well put it up anyway. The lighting on her face was kinda hard to do because there was just sooo much shadow on the side of the face, so it was hard to bring out the definition of her cheek. so the side of her face is just flat >.<

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    When you get chance try to avoid lines - try to think in shades and light. It'll help you understand form better.

    If you can, do it from life rather than a photo - even if its a still life rather than a person.

    example:
    Name:  light.jpg
Views: 127
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    Thanks for the quick paint you did there, though she is at a slightly, different, angle and older looking on your remake, lol. I'll have to fix some of the lighting errors. And yea, I do need to avoid lines, but actually I'm trying to improve upon my line work. I tried the whole not doing any lines and it just looks very bad when I do it. I was told to get very very good with lines before jumping into..not using line. So I'm slowly working my way up to that point. =)

    This one is from real life. It was a 20 minute pose, so I only could do so much with it. But I will do some minor erasing of some shadow there. Thanks again.

    Last edited by Havok Reed; December 15th, 2010 at 12:08 AM.
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    Depends on what you're drawing with - get hold of a thick piece of charcoal, it's hard to do fiddley lines with that and maybe a white conté crayon for highlights.
    Then again that could all happen later on...

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    *shudder* ick...charcoal, I cant erase it, lol. In the long run I'm really just aiming to do conceptual characters/comics/illustrative character design and so on. I'm doing these portraits to help my understanding of the face. I figure if I do enough of them I can add some more realism to my characters that I design. Maybe I should do more of both.

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    look at your drawings in the mirror every now and then, so you can spot mistakes easier. i do this usually after i draw the first light lines, mostly i'll see some tilted wrong lines

    good luck!

    -a

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