I've been recently working on portraits of some of my friends in charcoal, something I almost never use. I want to see what you guys think of it, point out anything awkward so far. I'm working on the mouth right now, and it's the first out of 5.
It seems like you're changing the location of the light source in your charcoal pictures - especially in the middle one. The nose is casting a dark shadow that isn't in the photo (but then again, you can change the light source if you want, just be consistent about it).
In the middle one, the nostrils look misplaced and the mouth is too low. The one on the far right is better, just remember not to place the mouth too low; it should be half way between the nose and chin. You could also consider lightening the background, because right now it's swallowing up the hair.
It often helps in a portrait from a 2D source to draw a grid over the original. It helps your see the proportions better.
I would also advise, if you're going to do portraits of your friends, to actually get them to sit for you instead of using photos.
It goes in order. The one on the far right is the last update I had when I created this thread. I switched the lighting but it will be coming from the right. Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I cannot meet up with all my friends so I'm going to be doing it from photos right now.
Using a flash on the little cameras really flattens the image and makes it far tougher to understand the shapes. That's one of the keys to defining the forms, understanding them. Another critical aspect is accurate measurements (arguably the most important for a likeness). Until you are comfortable/effective measuring by eye, I think Tully's advice of a grid is very sound. You shouldn't accept anything less than accurate placement and angles. Then when you start rendering, you have a solid foundation.
Dogfood, I wish i could not have to use the flash, but in some pictures, my friends took the pictures and they just looked like normal, real expressions. I don't want anything to be extremely exaggerated and I think a little bit of likeness is in each of the pictures. But besides that,
I'm done with the first one. I'm really satisfied with it (even with the embarrassing WIP) I feel as though I'm already better with using these types of charcoal (ground up, vine, willow, pencil, etc...) I also thank you guys for the advice so far, it's helped, believe me. (See the WIP )Tomorrow, onto my next one.
You've got some really gorgeous *cough* attractive *cough* friends!
For your most recent update, the first dude's nose looks flat and his chin looks broad compared to the one in the photo. His tongue is too dark in color. If you were to put that photo in black and white, you'll see that it's lighter than the color you put.
For the 2nd dude, it looks as if you drew him looking...confused and distraught. The hair is actually good.
Ha lol, the first one looks like spock from Star Trek (except Spock ever laughs)
Ear in the first one is too long, ears are usally between the eyebrow and the nose. The hair on the first one is too triangular compared to the photo.
nose in the 2nd one is too small, the pic's left eye (your right) is too low, as with the eyebrows. You can't tell the neck from the T-shirt make one or the other lighter.
you can define the neck better in both pics, i can't telll where the neck begins on the first one
From what I see here, you don't yet understand some very basic things about the language of representational art. We are trying to give the illusion of 3D on a 2D surface. We do this by expressing planes, and changes in the direction and orientation of planes in space. One way to convey this is to throw a light on an object - by imitating the tonal pattern the viewer will feel that the form is turning in space. The head is complex and to render it well you need minimally to understand the skull, the basic forms that come together to create the skull. You can't just copy a photo. I suggest that you begin with simple still life objects and work from life. Try, for example to draw a planar analysis of an apple, a modeled drawing of the apple, and, finally, place the apple on a surface, shine a directed light on it ,and see if you can see , and render it, as a mosaic of shapes of tone ranging from darkest dark to lightest light. Scan and compare and take your time. You'll learn a lot.