These are more of my portrait sketches from the Drawing the Head class I took last summer (doesn’t summer seem so long ago?!) I discovered that starting over is easier than correcting bad starts so I sketched most of them more than once. TJ Smith’s sketch took three tries until I felt like I captured what struck me as his very pleasant expression.
I always like to see how artists interpret their subjects. If you’re like me and want to see the reference photos, just click their names below their images to either go to my Sktchy page (if you have the Sktchy app) or to Sktchy on the web. Then click (PC) or swipe (mobile) my sketch to reveal the reference photo below it.
I’m continuing to work with the Loomis Method, which is really helping me. As you can see below, I got a little closer and her nose and jaw got little smaller each time I tried to draw her.
You can see the model I was working from on Sktchy here. I’ve been working on this project since August but got sidetracked by the election and now that I can concentrate again I’ll be catching up on posting my work over the next week or two.
I took a class on Schoolism.com with Jason Seiler about drawing realistic portraits that was very helpful. This was part of the homework for the class, drawing lots of eyes. Above is one from Sktchy app and below are from photos from that class, the web and people I know. The next one below is my son Robin. All are done on the iPad in Procreate.
While my backyard and the entrance to my studio were inaccessible due to construction I did more drawing and painting on my iPad than on canvas. The 12.9″ iPad is just the right size for me and the Apple Pencil makes it just like drawing with a great pencil or pen except so much easier to erase or start over without fear of “wasting” paper. Here are a few of those sketches from TV and photos.
I wanted to improve my people-drawing skills, learn about anatomy and be able to quickly sketch a head with some degree of accuracy and fluency. I was looking for information, instruction, and explanation of how the skull, features, and muscles all work together to make each of us look like individuals.
I began exploring resources for learning online and I found one that met all of my requirements: New Masters Academy. It is affordable ($19 to $29/month), has excellent teachers, an abundance of classes in portrait and figure drawing and painting and more, plus great resources for artists including thousands of high-resolution artist model reference photos and timed portrait and figure drawing sessions.
What initially convinced me to become a member on New Masters was the free, 3-hour YouTube video below by one of their many excellent teachers, Steve Huston. This is just a small part of his Structure of the Head course in which he explains in great detail about the planes of the face, the shapes and functions of the muscles, and each of the features (eyes, nose, etc.) in a very user-friendly way.
The YouTube video by Brandwynn Jones (below) introduced me to the Reilly Method Abstraction, an interesting way of conceptualizing and constructing the head. Mr. Jones is a student at the Watts Atelier, another online artist training program.
Before I found New Masters, I regrettably signed up for an expensive month ($99/month) at Watts Atelier Online, based on what I saw and heard in Mr. Jones’ videos and on fellow artist Chris Beaven’s blog, who was trying out the Watts program too. But after watching the head drawing course “taught” by Mr. Watts, I requested and received a refund for the remaining half month. The course consists of videos of him drawing, while he talks on and on–what he calls “bantering”–with very little actual instruction or explanation and it just didn’t meet my needs. Chris later wrote this review of Watts Atelier Online.
Another great source of figure drawing instruction videos (for free) can be found at Stan Prokopenko’s website, Proko.com and on his on YouTube channel. His sense of humor and high production values makes them fun to watch but I find they fly by too quickly for me to retain the information. He offers expanded versions at reasonable cost. In the video below he clarifies and summarizes the Andrew Loomis approach to drawing the head.
Over the past year I’ve watched several good instructional videos on Craftsy.com but I prefer the comprehensive courses on New Masters. One plus for Craftsy is that the videos you “buy” are always yours to stream on demand; on New Masters they’re available to stream as long as you’re a paying member.
Sadie Valerie offers both in person classes, video and online classes at Sadie Valerie Atelier in San Francisco. Sadie is an amazing teacher, very kind, positive, generous and detailed in her approach. I’ve studied with her and her associate Elizabeth Zanzinger in person and via Sadie’s videos and highly recommend them as teachers.
For quick and detailed anatomical information where you can switch from skin, muscles, skeletal or even organ views, I go to Innerbody.com, where I found the resource for the drawing below. I wanted to know more about the muscles that we see through the skin.
Croquis Cafe on YouTube offers free figure drawing sessions with artist models (mostly nude) posing in real time, just like you are in a figure drawing session with timed poses and music. They also have reference photos to work from and some paid classes, which I haven’t explored.
Pixelovely.com is another source for figure drawing practice that provides timed photo references of nude and costumed models in interesting and unusual poses as well as instruction and tips on figure drawing.
PoseManiacs.com also offers thousands of digital images of figures in motion or still, without skin so all the muscles are visible.
Glen Orbik was another master figure and portrait drawing teacher. Free clips from videos of his lectures are available on YouTube here. The full course is available at Zarolla Academy but is expensive.
Fred Fixler was another of the great drawing and painting teachers who has passed on but on this site you can download his Reilly method handouts and some great drawing and gouache painting tips.
To find figure drawing classes, workshops and open studios in your area, visit ArtModelBook.com.
I just made a big leap in my understanding of figure and portrait drawing so wanted to share previous sketches and paintings before the new work. Above is a photo of the “figure drawing wall” in my studio. I’d covered this wall with black non-fade bulletin board paper to avoid reflected light when I’m at my easel (that stands just to the right of this photo). Then I hung black metal grid panels that I got super cheap on Craigslist and use little magnets to stick the drawings to the grid wall. Now it’s easy to add, move or replace drawings with better ones as my skill improves and I can hang framed paintings from it with grid wall picture hooks.
Below are assorted figure and portrait drawings from past Friday Figure Drawing sessions. Click on any image to go to slide-viewing mode and click through them using the arrows on each side.
Charcoal on paper
Pregnant Mama, conte on paper
Woman with headdress, charcoal on paper
Charcoal on paper
Fallon in Elizabethan Collar, Pencil drawing
Top Knott, charcoal on paper
10 Minutes, charcoal on paper
Hat Guy, Conte on Paper
Conte drawing from first 20 minute session for underpainting
Brian in conte, 1 hour, trying to see the planes of his face