4. May, 2015

Tricks and Tips - Drawing

This week, I thought I would do a bit of a tutorial type blog, the first of a few I'd like to do.  I thought I would start with drawing, as this is really the basis of any artwork. 

Now, although I've been drawing for over 20 years, I never profess to be an 'expert' at it.  I'm always learning and reading up on other artists techniques and also experimenting to see if I can find ways of doing this myself.  

When I say drawing, I mean in graphite, as I mainly work in this medium.  Graphite is my true love when it comes to art and I go back to it time and time again.  It's so versatile and because of this, can take many years to master.  So, I'm just going to tell you how I do things and a good example is doing a portrait of a person.  

  • Firstly map out your drawing.  Doing a line drawing of the outline with a very faint pencil mark helps you to place the portrait correctly on the page and get your proportions right.  
  • Facial features - It's important to get these in the right place.  There are ways of measuring these.
  1. The eyebrows tend to be in line with the tops of the ears, and the eyes are actually about a third to half way down the face.
  2.  The width between the eyes are in line with the the centre of the nostrils  
  3. The width of the nostrils line up with the inside edge of the iris, if looking straight ahead (about a third way in to the eyes).
  4. The corners of the mouth are usually wider than you think and should line up with around the middle of the eyes ( wider than the nose).  
  5. The bottom of the ears line up with the top of the mouth. 
  6. Draw lines to line these features up to ensure they are level on both sides of the face.  
  • Use a hard pencil lead for these initial stages.  I always use a 4 or 5h, which are my 'go to' pencils.  In otherwords, I use these the most.  
  • Check the light direction on the face.  If necessary draw a light arrow, to remind you of which direction the light is coming from.  
  • Once the light direction is considered, start to put in the shade on the face.  Do this in blocks if you like first, so it looks very basic, but do this very faintly and use close strokes with the pencil.  If you tilt the pencil to the side and shade, you will get less lines and it will blend better.  Using little circular movements is a good technique.  
  • Once the shading is all in, you can use a piece of tissue, a blending stick, a clean finger or a clean stiff paint brush to blend your shading.  This will give a smooth finish and made the face look more 3D.  
  • To emphasise the light areas, use a putty rubber or piece of blue tack and just dab the graphite to lift it off to give the look of a bit of shine where the light hits.  
  • As you finish each stage, go darker, by using a softer pencil.  It's all about layers.  Layering up the graphite to emphasise the light and dark areas makes the portrait look real.  
  • Remember the shadows in the whites of the eyes.  If you actually look at eyes, the whites are never really white, they are full of shadows being cast from the lid, corners and lashes.  But, where there is a shine on the eyes, draw this in as an outline in the initial stages, to ensure you leave this white.
  • Hair.  If you want a really fine realistic look, a good tip is to use a thick needle head and scratch the paper where the light hits the hair.  Then take your hard lead pencil and shade and blend.  You will get really fine looking shiny hair!  For larger areas of hair, shading, blending and then using the sharpe edge of a plastic rubber to create the individual hairs.  Then use a hard lead to define the hairs and the way they over lap each other.  Don't forget to show where the light hits the hair also.  There is usually a large block of light on the hair somewhere.

If it all goes wrong and you're not happy with the finished drawing, DON'T WORRY!!!  Don't throw it away!  It's all practice.  Rub out the bits that need reworking, keep altering it and working on it until you are happy.  At each stage, leave the picture and go and do something else.  If you come back to it after a short break, you may notice something else that needs adjustment.  

Finally, enjoy yourself!  Have fun with it and it will show in your drawing. 

Do you have any other drawing tips you want to share with us??  Feel free to comment and share the knowledge, or share your drawings!!