Categories
Art Drawing Faces People Portrait Sktchy

Aleksandra Again and Again

Aleksandra Final Pencil Sketch
Aleksandra Final Sketch, pencil, 10×8″

I worked on making a portrait of Aleksandra over and over for a couple of months (see the terrible work below). I finally surrendered and chose a different photo of her. The drawing above went smoothly and I did it in one afternoon. (Sktchy photo reference for above sketch.)

What originally inspired me to paint her was the bright yellow-green background in this Sktchy photo. But I learned the hard way that selfies shot close up distort the features and shape of the face.

Our eyes and brains automatically correct for things like photo distortion and lighting, but trying to draw exactly what is there from a distorted photo doesn’t work unless you’re ok with a distorted drawing. Sometimes that can make for a fun caricature, but in this case I was trying to capture a complimentary likeness of a pretty woman.

Below are some of the failed attempts. The first colored image is an oil painting with about 15 layers of failed attempts beneath the final failed attempt. The second colored image is a gouache painting that I put too much paint on, tried to wash some off, then gave up because the sketchbook paper was ruined.

Last six attempts including a failed oil painting (top row) and gouache (bottom row).

Below are the really terrible initial drawings.

Early attempts, some with imposed corrections
Categories
Art

Mx. Moon, Imaginary Society Lady

Mx. Moon from Sktchy, graphite on paper, 10×8″

Mx. Moon’s photo on Sktchy (here) led me to imagine I was drawing a distinguished, fine society lady from the 1800s or would it be 1900s? Or 1940s? I don’t know what era, but the photo transported me to another time.

I originally was referring to her as Ms. Moon but then noticed on Sktchy their pronouns were they/them so I had to look up the appropriate honorific and it’s Mx. I learned something new. (On Sktchy they go by simply “Moon”). I hope they don’t mind that I’m referring to them as a society “lady.”

This wasn’t too hard to draw because for once the reference photo wasn’t a distorted selfie, although the angle of her head with the camera far below her face, looking up made it an interesting challenge.

Categories
Art Drawing Faces Sktchy

Sketch of Zoey K.

Zoey K from Sktchy. Graphite on copy paper. 8 x 8 inches.

My pencil drawing can’t do justice to her bright red hair (see her photo on Sktchy here) but I’m still limiting myself to pencil to improve my portrait drawing skills.

I’m trying to work out how to address the distortion that is in almost every selfie because of the wide angle lens held close to the face. Perhaps the best solution is to just go with it and not worry about realism. Maybe everyone is used to seeing each other via selfies and that’s what we think people look like now anyway?

Categories
Art Drawing Faces People Sktchy

Fun Portrait Sketch of Pulcherie

Pulcherie, Graphite pencil on recycled printer paper, 11 x 8 inches
Pulcherie, Graphite pencil on recycled printer paper, 11 x 8 inches.

This portrait of Pulcherie was so fun to sketch! According to her Sktchy profile, she is a French artist living in China. You can see the original photo reference on Sktchy here.

It’s always such a gift when a drawing just goes well! I was able to do this one in a couple of hours while listening to Barack Obama’s latest (audio) book that he narrates. I never noticed before that he had a slight lisp but I’m sure I’m hearing one on the S-sounds when he reads aloud from his book.

Categories
Art Drawing People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Calm, Gentle Bette

Quick Sketch of Bette G. from Sktchy, graphite on Xerox paper, 11x8 inches
Quick Sketch of Bette G. from Sktchy, graphite on Xerox paper, 11×8 inches

I’m finding myself attracted to sketching people who radiate peace and kindness which is calming in the midst of all the intensity in the news. This was a quick afternoon sketch from last month. You can see her reference photo on Sktchy here.