This last two weeks of portraiture have been quite a struggle. While I am improving on sketching the facial proportions, blending and smudging decently is a lot harder to do. I only have one acceptable mediocre sketch to show for this, as the other 3 turned out quite frightening.

in-depth-obama

The trouble with blending is the specific technique that it requires. First, it is important to keep a sharp pencil and light hand when first laying down the graphite. Some parts of the face will need to be darker, but it’s also necessary to estimate how much darker the shade will become once blended. The smudging tools that I use are rolled up pieces of paper (for precise and tiny details) and cotton swabs (for the soft texture of the skin). Using the correct material at the appropriate time will refine the texture to what we are trying to achieve. It also helps get an even blend over the entire surface, hopefully without overdoing some areas before others. One of my worst mistakes is that I don’t pay enough attention to the edges of the surface so the middle of the picture looks blurry but the rest is rough. To conclude, it takes a specific type of effort to make blending look good. I’m still not a big fan of how it looks in the end, especially because having stroke likes in portraiture isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In my last meeting with Ms. Kim, I was able to apply some of Edward De Bono’s principles into our short conversation about this singular, low quality work. I exercised the “how to respond” chapter more than “how to be interesting”, mainly because it provided me with more opportunity for direct corrections. I generated interest by connecting matters together when I addressed the hardships that I faced when drawing hair. Ms. Kim searched up some examples of curly hair that could refer to, because it is nothing like the hair I drew the week prior. I still need to get a grasp on this issue as soon as possible, because I don’t want it to ruin the quality of who I’m drawing at the moment. Ms. Kim also pointed out that the shading on the face is relatively patchy, and that I need to paint a full wash onto it before I proceed with the highlights and shadows. I agreed with this because the slenderness of the original face made the tone differences quite angular, so this advice is particularly helpful to me.

Corrections for this week:

  • remember the eye highlights
  • add more detail (sharp stroke) into the hair and correspond the shades to the shape of the head; make the hair fluffy by blending too
  • smoothen and unify the skin by blending initial tone and then shades with another material