Over the last two weeks, I have been able to review and refresh the portraiture skills that I learned in art 9. This hasn’t been a difficult process, but rather interesting because of the complexities of starting to view people in the same way. The tones, textures, and dimensions of the face take practice to comprehend and replicate. I have created two (or three) different portraits recently, which didn’t turn out too bad considering they are the first this year.
I took the second one with me to my CL meeting with Ms. Kim. While it is of rough quality, I really appreciate how she was able to overlook that and provide me with very constructive feedback. I highly agree with everything she commented on, especially the ongoing contrast and shading issue that made the drawing look flat. If the reflections on the skin were lighter, and hair highlights and neck were darkened, then it would bring a more youthful look to the woman. Skin lines, such as the nasolabial folds, should also be blended nicely with the neighbouring skin. I took these notes down as Ms. Kim talked, in order to remember them as well as to encourage her to point anything else that would help me.
One thing that I didn’t disagree with but did differ on is the shading technique that I like to use. In previous experience, I have found that any bad quality shading can be detrimental to a drawing. Lacking the necessary precision, I gave up on the cotton or paper towel shading methods a long time ago. Ms. Kim suggested that spending time going over every crevice and surface (on a new drawing, perhaps) can turn out a lot nicer than an incomplete version of cross-hatching. I was not aware that proper blending includes the irises, lips, and other small details. Additionally, when shading these tiny areas, it is important to use a very tiny tool. I realized that my mentor and I have different opinions of the future, so it is important to consider that this technique is likely something that she was successful with. After coming back home and practicing, I realized that even though the tiny, blended areas aren’t extremely smooth, they are a similar texture to the rest of the drawing. Earlier, my issue was that I didn’t achieve that similar texture in some areas as much as others, which is why the face looked so inconsistent. I am glad that I used her recommendation even if I was a little hesitant with it. Nonetheless, cross-hatching still is my favourite shading technique. In the end, I can only hope that these faces get less funny over the course of the next 4 months.
A summary of this week’s corrections:
- Lighten reflections (especially eyes) + add contrast (use charcoal)
- Blend lines into the surrounding area
- Make hair more natural by softening tones, darkening highlights, and taking away rigid structure
- Age can be reduced by darkening neck, softening under eyes, and blending away the pencil strokes that can double as creases
- Blend or crosshatch; exaggerate whatever technique is used