August 31, 2021 at 10:25 pm #1726591
I’m currently taking a full course on drawing the figure and I’m finding it quite satisfying, so I would like to gauge my skill level currently
and would like to know what you think of one of my assignments, It is a pencil drawing of a male. At first I thought it was quite complex
and would be challenging (which it was) but I kept remembering what the instructor said which is to build up the values or graphite so to say
so here it is.September 1, 2021 at 10:19 pm #1728433Leo Di FraiaParticipant
Coming along well. I particularly like the bottom plane of the nose. The values and marks work to create just enough reflected light there. You could work on strengthening the shadows, but maybe that’s just a problem with the photo. If you’re looking for ideas about what to focus on next, I would work to create more consistency in your crosshatching particularly in the light values.September 2, 2021 at 12:40 am #1728555
thank you for your observation 🙂 , looking forward to improving based on your inputSeptember 3, 2021 at 1:42 am #1730072Jack MunnParticipant
The far side of the face is well foreshortened, it turns the head nicely and gives it a good form. Along with the nose, the form immediately reads as three-dimensional – which is sometimes the toughest part of head drawing! You have a real eye for proportions, which lends itself to achieving a likeness, I already know the model as I’ve drawn himself a few times myself. A lot of effort went into the focus point of any head drawing, the eyes and nose. The nose in particular is well structured. 🙂
In terms of areas to improve, it’s worth remembering that there are no lines on the body. Form is suggested by the play of light and shadow as forms face or turn away from the light source; or cast shadows by blocking it. Differentiating form shadows and cast shadows is vital. This is a key principle to understand because what we often think of as lines are merely sudden form changes. The more gradation from light-to-shadow, the greater the suggestion of a soft edge (and vice versa). Think of a cheek or forehead slowly turning away from the light, how their recession into darkness describe the form. Next, think of the hard cast shadow by the nose or eye socket, by blocking the light, describes how the nose sticks out from the underlying form, or the how the socket sinks in. In its simplest form, this can be thought of by depicting a sphere – where the gradual turning of the ball is a gradated shadow, but the shadow it casts on the table is hard. Ask yourself whenever you’re depicting shadow, is this edge hard or soft? Imagine as you’re drawing, that you’re drawing over the form.
The reason I mention this is two-fold. One, is that all of your rendering is hatching. This may be the style you’re after, which is fine. (I’m dreadful at hatching). But line can be very hard to create soft edges and subtle changes in values that you need to describe delicate areas, like the temple, cheeks or ears. That isn’t to say not to use line, only, that for rendering purposes you might want to try slowly depicting shadow shapes, not with line, but by building up tone gradually. Keep it very light to start with – you should almost never need to erase your work. You may want to consider the overhand grip for pencils, if you haven’t already tried it.
Secondly, use line sparingly and purposefully. There are sections of the drawing that detract from the overall effect because of poor line quality. You’ve essentially outlined the entire head/body. Less is often more with line, and lost lines can suggest form without having to depict it. Each line should be considered and beautiful in its own turn. If you’re putting down line after line because of incorrect placement, this is a sign you’re working too dark and without purpose. In places like the back of the neck, top of the head and the body, the drawing looks rushed.
The drawing shows real promise, keep at it!
CheersSeptember 3, 2021 at 10:41 pm #1731326
thank you for the comprehensive analysis Jack, I picked a lot of pointers from your post, I suppose I use line a lot because I was so used to rendering it, cheers!September 6, 2021 at 10:02 am #1738677Jack MunnParticipant
It’s my pleasure. My general advice would be to experiment, see what works and doesn’t. There’s obviously a long tradition of using hatching for rendering, notably with ink, so if that’s the style you’re after there is plenty of precedent. I just think it’s harder to achieve subtle value changes as a beginner.
I’ve copied a page from a book that helped my portraits considerably, The Artists Complete Guide to Drawing the Head by William Maughan. It’s something of a misnomer, as it’s far from a ‘complete guide’. In fact, it teaches quite a narrow approach to head drawing. But I’ve provided it as an example of building up shadow tones gradually. I think it’s similar to the painting approach that Joseph Todorovitch takes in the NMA’s portrait painting course.
Anyway, I’ve overstayed my welcome. Good luck! Do provide more updates as you progress 🙂
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