|1. Conté on blue Murano paper|
You get to see how silly you look with a fixed grin on your face (7), for a start. And consequently you eventually figure out how to arrange your features so that you don't look daft. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work with photographs; I had to get a couple of ID photographs done recently, and I managed to pull silly faces in both of them.
Unsurprisingly, smiles are more popular than serious or relaxed expressions.
But mostly, I have learnt things about drawing and painting, some of which are transferable to other subjects.
- Smiles are harder to capture if you take a long time about it. Smiles are fleeting and are made with the whole face; the eyes are particularly important. Working quickly gives you a better chance of capturing the moment before the subject relaxes their face. (1 - a quick sketch that worked, 2 - a longer study that didn't)
- Sometimes, the broad sweeping marks of a quick sketch capture a person better than a more measured study. I think the same applies to any subject - whether it moves or not.
- People are largely monochromatic (this is a lesson carried over from life drawing, where more flesh is visible). This allows you to impose colours on the human form that may not be present. However, it is - unless you are deliberately working in monochrome - a mistake to use shades of only one colour to represent skin tones. At the very minimum, shadows and reflections will affect the colour of the skin.
- The colour you see first isn't always the best one to use. I think it is possible to see a colour "behind" the surface colour - often a brighter colour - and that is the one that I try to find, and to use. Sometimes it gets blended back in, other times it stays resolutely vivid.
- Bright red almost always looks disturbing, especially when associated with flesh. (4)
- Green, on the other hand, often looks fabulous when placed aongside warm flesh-related tones. The strong blue-green of viridian makes a particularly effective shadow colour. (5)
- Things you don't want to mess with (much) in a figurative work include the relative tonal vaues (4 - the darks aren't dark enough), and, especialy in portraiture, the proportions (6 - the eyes are too big).
- Don't overdo the reflection on spectacles; it can look really strange. (3)
- The more you practice, the better you get. You can probably work out an approximate order for the pictures in this post.
|2. Oil on canvas||3. Digital drawing|
4. Conté on red Murano paper
|5. Watercolour on paper|
|6. Derwent drawing |
on black paper
|7. Derwent drawing |
on black paper