As a very hopeful person, I like to aim for the best possible situation. At the beginning of in-depth, I thought that I would have a greater inclination to draw and create, despite being stretched very thin every day. I am not holding up to the 1 per week schedule, but I am trying to improve everyday. When I last met with Ms. Kim, the meeting was also a little shorter because I was meeting for Juan de Fuca in CL afterwards. I worked particularly hard on this portrait, because it is of someone who we should all know. It looks a little worse digitally than it does in person. The computer is not able to capture the effort poured into the texture of it.


(I apologize for it being sideways; WordPress isn’t allowing me to flip it.)

In my last meeting, I asked the following questions and got the following responses:

  1. How often should charcoal be used?
    1. I showed Ms. Kim two pictures: this one and one where I got the very baseline tones down with a standard HB pencil. The main difference between these was the softness of the blending, alongside the darkness of the tone. It is harder to get the coarse texture of the charcoal into the groves of the paper, which makes out lives a lot more difficult when adding contrast. Ms. Kim explained the importance of using different hardnesses of pencil (instead of charcoal) to add contrast to the soft areas of the face. As someone who got went through art 9 using a value pack of the same Staedtler pencils, I still haven’t used a variation in supplies. Perhaps I will want to do more pencil later on in the busy month of May.
  2. How do you draw hair?
    1. Because of the nature of Noah’s hair, it is very hard to group the strands into triangle-like segments so that the light bounces off of them similarly. I was advised to, perhaps, choose a photo of someone with smoother and more organized hair. In terms of contrast, it is always important to start off with a base layer and then proceed to add the shading and highlights. She explained, that “if the base layer is skipped, then the contrast will be unnatural with the tones of the skin, and not overall dark enough”. Lastly, it is important that effort is put into each stroke to ensure that they resemble hair. If the pencil is dragged back and forth like when colouring in a picture, then there is no way it will look decent.
  3. Where do I start with oil?
    1. I have been very excited to start with oil! I have gathered all the necessary supplies, but simply must make time very soon to dedicate a day to my first portrait. When Ms. Kim practiced painting people back in art school, her class spent some time getting the fundamentals down first. In any YouTube art video, they first start off by mixing the standard oil paints together on something called a pallet. On a pane of glass or pallet paper, this is done with a triangular pallet knife (which I recently purchased). The technique needs to be worked up to an efficient process first. Then, it is important to learn to see the tones for what they are. Ms. Kim used to flip her sketches upside down, so as not to get distracted by seeing the face as a face. This way, all her concentration went into matching the colour of the picture. There are may hassles that come with oil as a medium, yet most artist prefer it. I asked Ms. Kim whether she would paint portraits with something like acrylic or watercolour instead, and she explained that the control that we have over oil outweighs the chaos of the other mediums. To elaborate, we talked about the runniness of watercolour, and how every little change in a face really throws off our perception of it. Acrylic is not friendly in the sense of time, as it starts drying literally as the pallet is being prepared. Drawing people really is a tedious job.

One thing that fascinated me with any experienced artist is that they are able to replicate almost any picture that they are asked to. Just how something looks natural in a photograph, they are able to make it look good in paint or pencil too. I have been struggling a little bit to get good headshots of people that I know, because every little deficit or thing that outside my skill area makes me go to a new one. When Ms. Kim is explaining how to replicate all these things like curly hair, or chins, or highlights, I can really see how she values the balance in realism versus changing something to make it look a little better. I still have a little bit of difficulty knowing what looks better on a person, but will hopefully develop that skill further over the next two months.