Thursday, 15 September 2016

One year is a long time not to draw ... that ends now

Just recently I was asked to share a memory of something I posted one year ago on my Facebook. It was a graphite portrait drawing of Emily Browning as Babydoll in the movie Sucker Punch. Point being I had not drawn anything in an extremely long period. Any skill improvements I had made will likely have atrophied somewhat over the course of 12 months. It could very well be a case of one step forward two steps back though I'm hoping I can just pick up where I left off i.e like riding a bike.  

My last graphite portrait drawing was over a year ago

For my first graphite portrait drawing in aeons, I decided on Rey whom Daisy Ridley plays in Star Wars The Force Awakens. I chose a fairly low resolution photo of Rey which depicted her facial features in more of a no-frills variety akin to a photoshopped image with smooth skin tones. This should make it easier for someone like me who is resuming graphite portrait drawing after such a long time. Higher resolution images would've displayed details such as freckles and skin texture.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is my first subject matter in my return to portrait drawing

Based on my experience so far, the most important step of the graphite portrait process is the initial faint line drawings. Bungle the line drawing and no amount of shading and blending will be able to create an accurate depiction of the portrait subject matter. And for portrait drawings, the only thing that really matters is the likeness to the subject matter that you're drawing. As such, I tried spending a longer than usual amount of time on the line drawing of Rey. I'm quite happy with it, to be honest.

Progress so far ... faint line drawing of Rey

There is a subtle difference between Rey in the reference photo and Rey in my line drawing. The latter has her centred irises looking straight at the viewer. But in the former, Rey is staring off into the distance (towards the top right corner of the paper). Perhaps in hindsight this wasn't such a smart thing to do as the rest of her facial features are angled upwards to the side. Changing her irises to stare straight ahead may distort proportions and make everything seem off. I'll have to be extra careful at the graphite shading/blending stage. Without the cue of off-centred irises, highlights and shadows on her face will take on greater importance in the portrayal of the tilt in Rey's head.   

Reference photo of Rey in a scene from The Force Awakens

Unfortunately, the JPEG image I used was smaller than I realised. A smaller file size (or lower resolution) equals less facial details. While doing the line drawing I noticed the shadows and highlights on Rey's face weren't clearly defined as I would've liked. This means I'll have to try and find a higher resolution image as reference for the graphite blending/shading process. But I'll be pushing ahead regardless as I aim to finish the portrait before the month is out. A three day stretch of free time coming up means plenty of drawing opportunities for me. Let's hope I put it to good use.

10 comments:

  1. Your art is always delightful to enjoy, I love every piece you produce!

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    1. What a kind thing to say Suber, thank you very much!

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  2. Great idea, i'm waiting to see your new masterpiece!

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    1. Many thanks Luca. I'm still a bit rusty so I hope it turns out well.

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  3. Very good start my Dear FeM ^^

    Serviteur,

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    1. Most kind of you of Mori Kun. Thank you!

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    1. Merci beaucoup Phil! Just line drawings but it will determine how the final result looks like.

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  5. Looking forward to see this done. Haven't seen a portrait from you in awhile.

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    1. Thanks spunkybass. It has been so long since I last drew that my skills (or lack thereof) has become rusty. While drawing is a bit like riding a back, lack of practice is still a setback of sorts.

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