I decided to go “old-school” and draw with charcoal on white paper. Well, I forgot to buy colored paper.
Continuing the method by William L. Maughan, I did another two-colored pastel painting on grey toned paper. Frankly, the paper isn’t really taking the pastel pencils, or the pencils are just too hard. It could also be that I need to just work with what I have.
Even though I needed 30 minutes less to complete this drawing, I still think it was much better than the one before, where the instructor had quite some “intervening” to do. The model took photos of all the drawings, except mine. I guess that is to be expected, because the others had spent 6 hours on their drawings, while I had only spent an hour. However, I’m there to learn, not to please the model. I think I learned a lot from the 3 drawings, more than I would have done from a single drawing. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
This time I decided to use pastel pencils, as suggested in the book “The Artist’s Complete Guide To Drawing The Head” by William L. Maughan, where the paper is a middle tone between white and sanguine red, giving you 4 possible tones (white, paper, light sanguine, dark sanguine). The white is using mostly for indicating highlights.
7. I put some extra effort in getting the eyes more expressive. I also had to put on more sanguine pastel, because after applying fixative, it goes deeper into the paper than the white pastel, making it appear fainter than without the fixative.
I must say that, apart from next week, when I didn’t feel so good, each week I see some improvement. If I put all the results from weeks 2 until 10 side by side, I see a gradual improvement in skill level. It seems I’m not paying all those euros for nothing.
And I believe this was the first time I felt somewhat relaxed while drawing. The instructor didn’t give too much critique, because I clearly needed much (well, except the mouth and the width of the face, perhaps).
This week I was a bit absent-minded, so I needed help from my instructor. He redrew the left eye and gave me lots of instructions, because I simply couldn’t see, like my brain was turned into clay. So I didn’t learn much this time, unfortunately. Well, I learned one thing. You need to be on when drawing portraits. You simply can’t phone it in.
I guess everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I’m glad that I had an instructor to help me through, so I didn’t have to deal with the frustration of failure. Yes, the drawing was a success (sort of), but only because I got so much help. Anyway, I’ll get a rematch next week and the week thereafter, because the model is going to sit for us another two times. Hopefully, next time I’ll be more relaxed and able to concentrate at the task at hand.
Thanks for reading and if you’re anxious to try some portrait drawing yourself, please find a good instructor, because he or she will help you through those days you just don’t see it. It is muscling through the hard times that hardens you for when you’re all on your own and want to draw a portrait even though it seems impossible to complete.
I decided to be a little bit more light-hearted and not take the portrait drawing course too seriously, yet work hard to get it right.
0. As a comics artist I couldn’t resist the opportunity to draw this quic sketch of the model, comics style. After this, the serious drawing started. Some thought this was the best drawing of the two.
1. The first initial setup was done in roughly 30 minutes. The rest was lack of skill, and trying to make small changes, and see if it works.
2. After 1.5 hours of nett drawing time, I still wasn’t done fiddling with the features. The hair is nice, though.
3. Final version. I discussed with the instructor to do color, but he said that I first need to be more confident in drawing with charcoal. When I asked what he meant with “more confident”, and asked if he meant the finishing touch on the features, he said: “Yes.” Don’t I know it. So I’ll be doing charcoal for now, unless I get a breakthrough in my skills.