|Portrait Practice #09 - Capturing a smile (Sculpting concept sketches - Girl on Fire series)|
|Reference photo used in my latest portrait drawing practice - a scene from The Hunger Games|
While I have been trying out charocal pencils and willow charcoal sticks in my practice sessions invloving just the drawing of hair, I do not yet feel comfortable enough in their usage to apply them in my latest portrait practice session. As such, this latest portrait drawing was completed using graphite pencils only. In order to get the hair to look darker, I incorporated the use of a Staedler 8B pencil which had very good matte black qualities. To try and simulate realistic hair, I also drew random wisps of hair and paid close attention to how the flocks of hair interacted with one another.
|Not entirely an accurate likeness as I compensated for heavy shadows on the face|
Once when referring to a Games Workshop 'Eavy Metal miniature painting guide in an old White Dwarf magazine, I came across advice which made mention of how a slightest change in highlights can determine a miniature's facial expression. To be honest, I never truly grasp the relevance of this advice until I started drawing portraits using just tonal values. That in essence is what makes getting a likeness in portrait drawings so difficult for me. Getting a shading slightly off for a facial feature and the portrait ends up looking like the sister of the subject matter or turn what was suppose to be a radiant smile into an uncomfortable grimace - in other words, close but no cigar!
|Original photo of drawing, shown here against a high contrast adjustment made using MS Picture Manager|
Without access to a scanner for this drawing, I had to settle for the next best thing which was taking a photo of my drawing using a DSLR camera. Due to the A3 size of my drawing pad, placing the drawing in my usual photography set up is sadly not possible. So without the help of lighting from my IKEA lamps, I relied solely on daylight as my light source to mixed results. On most occasions, the photos I take of my drawings usually end up looking too dark thus negating the contrast in tonal values I had shaded. I made corrective adjustments using the Microsoft Picture Manager program.
|Looking back at my first portrait drawing versus the level I am at currently|
As the saying goes, the proof is in the eating of the pudding, so I referenced my latest portrait drawing against the first one I did late last year to see if I had improved at all. I guess it's safe to say that I am making some progress although there is definitely still a lot I can do better.
Finally, some clay sculpting tools
|Pro Art 14-piece clay tool set with case|
|Inside the set is a mixture of metal and wooden tools|
On the sculpting front, I got a very good deal for a clay tool set from Amazon. Although there are still materials I need for a proper figure sculpting project such as armature wire, I do have the basic stuff which would allow me to try sculpting a head or face. That is a good place as any to start my journey into sculpting as I would love to sculpt a bust in the future anyway. But I am getting ahead of myself ... first I need to find out what each tool is used for. Either that or just wing it and see what I come up with. Who said playing with plasticine in kindergarten decades ago wouldn't amount to anything.