Drawing Unknown Faces, part 160

23 May

This time no finished sketches, but rather rough sketches without the use of an eraser.

I found a photo of this man who was looking up. I started by studying the photo carefully, search for lines and such. I thought I had figured it out and started sketching…

Drawing Unknown Faces, part 160, sketch 1

This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, so I tried another approach. First I shifted the focus of my eyes back, and by concentration blocked out the details in my mind’s eye. What remained was a clear outline. This was the first time this trick of the mind worked. Normally I only see a jumble of lines, but now I could really see a clear outline around the head.

I started to draw that in quick broad strokes. Naturally, some of it was plain wrong, and had to be corrected later. Next, I found the line through the root and base of the nose. This is the line that divides the face into two equal parts (left and right). Next, I roughly determined where the eyes, nose and mouth were, and following the lower part of the outline, I found the lower jaw and, at the end, the position of the ear.

What I should have done next, is to check the outline more carefully, and see if the masses of the head are in the correct position. Remember, the block of the forehead, the plane of the face, the lower jaw and the cylinder of the teeth. I should have, but instead I drew the eyes, nose and mouth. I was too impatient.

Of course, those features were drawn off model. Once I saw that, I also saw the foreshortening of the part of the face on the left, compared to the part on the right, through perspective. Once I realized that, I could estimate the position of the eyes much better, relate that to the position of the corner of the mouth on the right.

Drawing Unknown Faces, part 160, sketch 2

It is only a rough sketch, but it’s much better than the earlier sketch, due to a better (more refined) process.

I guess, from now on, I need to make several sketches of a subject, trying to hone in on the likeness. Once I have the correct rough sketch, I can use that to create a finished drawing. I have to accept that I can’t draw something at one fell swoop, with some flicks of the wrist, pencilling left to right, top to bottom, like some god of drawing. Drawing from life for us mere mortals is hard work, even if it isn’t really life, but a photo on a computer screen.

That is all.

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