Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Drawing Method

I'm trying, with intermittent success, to make a concentrated effort with my drawing. I'm working on a series of forty or so portraits of people who have been sources for the ideas that make up my worldview, the "Faces of Wisdom Series" ten or so of which I've already published.

Above: three scans to demonstrate my method, a photograph of geologist M. King Hubbert, a pencil copy of the photo, and the beginning lines of the ink rendering. Besides the chance to personify ideas I wish were more common in society, what I get from this series is practice at catching proportions, a skill I need to work on, and practice making clean and meaningful lines with a fairly shaky hand. And, I'm learning a lot about the relief of the human face by making the lines I shade with wrap around the forms.

The real surprise is that drawing from photos is harder for me than drawing from life. I never make pencil under-drawings when I draw from life. I've used snapshots of subjects for my newspaper profiles, to spare my subjects the tiresome chore of sitting still for half an hour or more, but it takes a lot longer for me to get things right. Hubbert's head, for instance, started out about the length of his hair longer, and it still looks a little tall.

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