Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Want to draw a face?

I've been asked how to begin.     Hmmm......    Lots of free instructions are shown on You Tube, there are dozens of workshops online that are available and books on the subject.      I like to work in a sketch book.    Small, medium and larger.    Any size and all sizes.      Whatever size feels good to you.      And what suits your work space.  Are you going to work on a table, easel, lap?     These are things to consider.        Work on sheets of paper?   Easier to toss away if you don't like them.     Journals and sketch books - easier to see your practice and progress.    Still can tear out and toss if you are totally disgusted with something and never want to see it again.   It can happen.    

Tools.  Pencils and erasers.   Pens if you are braver than me.      I have good drawing pencils, plain old # 2 pencils,  colored pencils, charcoals, and some interesting and somewhat daunting drawing pens.      Basically I find I like a plain pencil.   I usually use a #2 pencil and a separate eraser.  A white eraser.   Always a white one because I've had bad experiences with colored erasers leaving their own color on the page.   And it seems to stick worse then whatever I've tried to remove with it.  That's not good.    Because I get bored pretty easily, I often vary my tools.     If I tire of a #2 pencil, a harder lead gives finer lines.     I actually like the results better.      Smudge sticks or burnishing tools help with shading if you like that look.   I was using them a lot for awhile, but now I prefer the side of my pinkie finger if I want to blend something.      And usually I don't use anything now.   But, one of these days I'll probably go back to experimenting with smudging.

The finer the tool, the tighter the drawing.   That's they way it works for me.   If I want a really loose drawing, then charcoal or paints or crayons work best.     For tighter drawings, the pencil is the answer.    The harder the lead, the sharper the lines will be.     

Whose face to draw?    This is what is so intriguing about drawing faces.   Draw yourself.  Draw your children.   Draw your dog.     What appeals to you in a face?     I like odd angles and interesting planes.   I like skinny faces better than fat faces to draw.   Distinct profiles and crooked noses appeal to me.     Look on the internet.   You will find what appeals to you, or what challenge you want to give yourself.     Draw your favorite actors, find a book of portraits or self portraits and sketch them.      It's all practice and you may be able to use the drawings in some way later.     Drawing from memory.   Lately I've sketched in front of my laptop, looking at a face I've found online.       No need to print them.     Just sketch away.      You can fast freeze (pause) a movie or video to capture a look you want.   Of course you can grab your camera and take a pic - but it is more fun to draw right from the screen.   Plus it give your eyes a little exercise looking up to large and down to your smaller drawing.      Don't forget to rest your eyes occasionally and go outside and look at distant things.      If you spend your day with a little sketch book and tight little pencil drawing - you are not doing your eyes and neck any favors.
Where do you start with the face?     Oddly, this is an old habit I picked up in kindergarden during World War 2.    Someone showed me a picture of Veronica Lake and I was totally enamored of her cheekbone.    I still notice cheekbones and planes of faces.    My tendency is to start with a cheekbone, drawing downward to the chin and up the other side to the temple.  Then to find where the top of the head should be.       I draw a light vertical line between head and temple with a slight curve depending on the angle of the face.       Next is placement of mouth, nose and eyes.     Horizontal lines across the face at the proper angle help me.

From here I suggest you go to a video or book.  They can help you so much more than I can.  I'm still learning.    Northlight Books has a number of good workshops that are downloadable. Watch for their sales too.      Get on their mailing list to get the best prices periodically.    Interweave also has workshops at good prices, but they seem to feature more of the pretty girl kind of faces that are so popular.   Not everyone is a pretty girl.     You may want to draw pretty faces forever and if so, there are dozens of videos on you tube you can study.      If you want to stretch a bit farther and draw or paint mens faces, or older faces, or children's faces - I'd recommend the Northlight Books.     Dick Blick and other art supply companies may have videos that will be helpful.  

I recommend you get a sketchbook, a pencil and eraser and just start.    Practice eyes on one page, mouths on another, noses?  Ears?     Then be brave and try to put them together.    

Now, here is a fun twist for you.      Get a fashion magazine and cut out some eyes and some eyeglasses.    I keep a few of them in an envelope inside my art journal. That way if I'm disgusted with the eyes I just drew, I can view it with sunglasses to see what else needs work.   LOL   Sometimes we focus on one thing so long, we don't see the rest.   

Sometimes we just need a little giggle. 

1 comment:

  1. That was the BEST bunch of suggestions I have ever read in a drawing blog. Love the collages eyes. What a hoot, literally... :)