Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Portrait Practice #14 on Babydoll (Sucker Punch)

Making time to draw more regularly can be a big ask especially when there is so much to do in the limited amount of hobby time available to me in any given week. In the one and three quarter years since I started drawing seriously again, I have only completed a measly 14 portrait practice pieces. Constant practice is essential not only to improve but also to retain/remember any aha moments learned along the way. So an immediate challenge for me will be figuring out how to be more productive - ideally one portrait per month. Achieving that will up my productivity by nearly 100%.

Portrait Practice #14 on Sucker Punch's Babydoll as played by Emily Browning

On my 14th try at portrait drawing, I made a conscious attempt to prevent any stark lines from showing up by blending out smoother tonal transitions. In addition, I tried to accurately mimic the textures on Babydoll's face namely her lower eyelids (or eye bags), light blonde hair and lips. Each practice piece has thankfully brought a better understanding on how graphite behaves on paper. 

I can't say it enough ... use of an inclined drawing table has improved the proportions in my portraits

To see whether I had actually made any progress, I compared my two attempts at drawing Babydoll's portrait - both about twelve practice pieces apart. The difference in quality is painfully obvious but more of an eye opener is the fact I was pretty pleased with my first try ... then. This is what makes self teaching highly ineffective at times; an inability to gauge ones own work objectively. What looks perfectly fine today will look terrible later as one's understanding of a particular art from develops.

Twelve practice pieces later and there are (thankfully) clear signs of improvement in my drawing skills

Also for this practice session, I took some photographs of the portrait at various stages of completion. Without the benefit of a scanner, there exists some discrepancies between the photos due to the angle of the shots. However, the series of shots below still manage to convey a sense of evolution of Babydoll's portrait drawing all the way from initial rough outlines to the final completed piece.

Various stages of the Babydoll portrait drawing

Being able to see tangible signs of improvement in my drawing skills, no matter how small, is always a huge confidence booster. It gives me hope I'm moving in the right direction. Steve Jobs once said the only way to do great work is to love what you do. At least I'm already halfway there.

16 comments:

  1. I think you are greatly improving, your progress is wonderful!

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    1. Thank you Luca. I will be happy as long as I can continue to improve with every drawing I make.

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  2. It looks fantastic ! Great work !
    Greetings

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  3. Great portrait! And I love that movie, it's great gaming inspiration.

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    1. Thanks Ryan. I liked the movie too. Not for the disturbing issues it dealt with but more for the art direction the movie took.

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  4. Wonderful work. Drawing is quite a skill set to have, as it will improve every aspect of whatever art you do. Keep drawing, and keep practicing. Every line makes you better!

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    1. Thank you Greg, much appreciated. I love drawing and hopefully every line will make me better.

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  5. Looks pretty darned good to me!

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    1. Many thanks Colgar6. I'm glad you like it.

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  6. Ok, I know I write this all the time, but really your portraits are every time better, and, you know, you were good at the beginning too.

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    1. Thank you very much Fed. Honestly speaking, I thought I didn't do too bad in my early tries but looking back now they look pretty awful. I guess that's the danger in trying to self teach yourself something. It's hard to be objective about ones own work. Sometimes we want it to look good so bad that we fail to see how bad it really is.

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  7. Love your fantastic job...If only I could do this!

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    1. Thank you Phil. Believe it or not anyone can. It's just a matter of thinking of drawings in terms of shapes rather than lines. Finding the correct reference material to learn from is pretty tricky as each individual differs in how they assimilate knowledge but it can be done. Finally, practice, practice, practice.

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