Journeys in Art and Drawing

I watched Sycra's video on How to Draw Hair. It was quiet informative as I used to struggle with where to start from when drawing hair. He made it quiet simple by breaking it into the following process:

  • Outline the overall shape
  • Outline the hairline
  • Identify the biggest clumps of hair and then identify the smaller ones within
  • Understand the flow of hair which could be one point or a segment where the strands flow from to cover every clump of hair
  • Identify the highlights in the hair and leave room for them to ensure the drawing looks 3D

One #tip he made to make drawing hair more interesting is to avoid symmetric or even lines which I have found to be particularly helpful as I usually try to oversimplify the drawing.

I decided to practice more today by drawing an Emma Watson portrait which took around an hour to finish:

This time I took Sycra's advice and only used two pencils to draw this. 4B to draw the hair and eyebrows and 2B to draw the rest of the drawing which I think worked better than using 4 different pencils as I used to do in the past.

I'm happy that I finally drew and fully shaded a face portrait for the first time #milestone

Three areas that I clearly need to improve on are #recurring_problems:

  • Dimensions: The face turned out a bit wider than it should. I tried to measure the proper facial dimensions but I think I might have slightly overestimated which ended up making a bigger difference than I would have anticipated.
  • Shading the nose: I tried to avoid sharp lines and relied on the stomp tool to shade it but it came out as if poor Emma had a bad plastic surgery to her nose!
  • Outlining the ear: Looks a bit out of place. I hate drawing and shading ears as they always come up really alien-ish. I'll have to watch an "Ear Drawing" video next time. #plan

Curious to get more feedback, tips or missing details to improve this drawing. I would love to revisit it and correct it before moving on to another portrait.

I decided to get back to drawing after almost half a year of break. I continued on the same face drawing book and looked at Chapter 5: Shading. Shading has always been my weakest point but I got a few ideas that helped:

  • See spherical shapes in the face to make shading easier (middle is the brightest and the edges are shaded)
  • Avoid drawing sharp lines and instead trace the shades with the drawing stomp on the darker side. This automatically adds the line by contrast.

I attempted to draw a self portrait but as you can clearly see it didn't go as well as I hoped! #setback The facial hair was a mess under the lips and the outline of the eyeglasses was not sharp enough. I used a variety of pencil thicknesses to draw the face, hair and eyeglasses. The good thing is that I didn't draw a lot of sharp lines as I did in previous drawings and tried to use the stomp tool to achieve that. I think the nose looked better than before so I guess I learned something. The lips and eyes were drawn purely with the stomp tool and were just barely outlined with the pencil. There are some missing details but I was mostly eager to finish the drawing as I spent nearly an hour and a half on it. Not great but I'll try again another day and see what happens.

The ear and facial hair are the worst parts of this drawing but the book has dedicated future chapters for each so I won't try to think too hard about what could be done to improve them and will move on to the next chapter which is about drawing the eyes.


I just backfilled all my previous journal entries that I entered before Mindcrumb was launched #milestone.

That's why the mindcrumb date for all the entries is the same (no it's not a bug!).

What I like the most is how easy it is to filter through #tips and #recurring_problems by just a click of button. I will get back to this journey in the next few months after a long break as I focus 110% of my attention on building and marketing mindcrumb to the world. If you're reading this and you're curious then please look around and send any suggestions, ideas or feedback to support@mindcrumb.com. Thank you for reading and good luck on your journeys!!

6/3/2017

Went over chapter 4 “Shapes” in the face drawing book. The main idea is to teach us to boil down shapes to the most basic elements (e.g. iris as a perfect circle) in order to deprogram our minds from seeing familiar objects. A set of tools were presented but I felt the chapter wasn’t very practical but perhaps might come in handy in the following chapters coming up. Despite that, I was very pleased with my latest drawing as the face proportions looked right and my improvised way of drawing the hair looked great to me!

The idea was to properly sketch out the hair line and draw curves coming from there so it looks more natural and that worked well. In fact it reminded me of the shading concept I learned from the Intro drawing class where the teacher mentioned shading a cone by following the natural curvature of the cone to make it more 3d (pops!). I like that concept of tracing the natural geometry and will use it more often.


5/28/2017

I went through the third chapter in the face drawing book “Site”. It was such an eye opening experience especially when the author recommended we use a baseline tool which is basically a sticky note with an eye-width line in it. The idea is that we can compare the rest of the sub components of the drawing based on the width of the eyes to ensure the ratios are drawn correctly.

It’s unreal how some distances can be deceiving until using the measuring tool for example the distance between the eyes and the head and the eye and the chin are almost the same but I guess the narrowing down of the face towards the bottom makes it seem different but in reality it’s not.

I decided to put what I learned into the test so I grabbed an online picture of a woman (with an angled face as a challenge) and drew it down. I didn’t attempt to shade but I was very pleased with the final work that took around 30 mins.

#tip Properly time how long it takes for each drawing to better track progress.

Also #tip: Next time bring a high resolution image to see all the details as the details of the eyelashes and the ear were not very visible so I wasn’t happy with how they came out.

#tip In the beginning I shouldn’t attempt to draw from memory and I shouldn’t attempt to eyeball relative distances without the baseline tool in order to break my inherent patterns of seeing things but I hope I won’t have to rely on that for a long time


5/26/2017

As I go through chapter 2 in the face drawing book I realize that the major #recurring_problem I’ve been doing are:

  1. drawing from memory often which is problematic since the mind tends to memorize the simplest patterns while omitting the nitty gritty details and angles that apparently good drawings have
  2. not paying attention to the details of which areas need to be shaded strongly than others
  3. not paying attention to the proportions as I look at the pre-instructional drawing I notice that there is no forehead!!

5/20/2017

Going over the face drawing book. I did the suggested pre-instructional drawing of the face. I tried to use some of the intro drawing class tips to better shade it, but looking at it I can spot a lot of issues.

#recurring_problem: The outer edges of the drawing are so prominent and there seems to be something off about the relative dimensions. Also the shading is a bit uneven. I feel like the facial features are not super detailed despite making an attempt to add those in.

In conclusion I hope this book will help me fix those recurring problems in drawing more realistic faces. Fingers crossed.


5/14/2017

After a short break I decided to get back to drawing but this time I would like to focus on simply drawing and shading realistic faces.

I did some research and it seems “Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces by Carrie Stuart Parks” is a good candidate. As much as I liked taking a class to build a good drawing foundation, I did realize that some of the contents learned were boring to me and I believe focusing on one aspect of drawing means I can progress much faster and see results that I can be happy with. 


4/6/2017

#milestone I just finished Intro Drawing class with  Freddie Manseau at smc.edu

In the last session we sat around a large toy pony and are goal was to draw it and shade it from different angles.

I wasn't extremely happy with the end result, it still felt like a childish drawing so I handed over the drawing to Freddie for advice. I observed carefully as he erased some of the sharp lines in my drawing and instead lightly traced the lines in GREAT DETAIL while accounting for even the tiniest nooks and crannies in the pony. He had one eye on the drawing and the other eye on the pony. #tip

Something instantly clicked as I realized that my mind was filtering out the nitty gritty details of the object and that actually made all the difference between a professional and an amateur looking drawing #recurring_problem

Here is my final drawing of the pony after Freddie helped me adjust the pony's hair:


Here is a perspective drawing from the week of March 30:


3/26/2017

Just got back to the “You can draw in 30 days” book. Lesson 9 was about drawing a rose.

One thing that I still struggle with is determining how light and how heavy the shading should be in the various parts of the drawing. I will try to observe a large number of shaded drawing to see if that makes it easier for me to grasp this point. #recurring_problem