Shading/value assignment

First of all, let me say I’m really happy with how this piece turned out. Not that it’s perfect – it’s clearly not. But it is SO MUCH BETTER than anything I thought I would be capable of producing before I took this class. And since I’m just getting started with this art thing, it means I can only improve from here – so, yay!

As a reminder, here’s where I left off on Wednesday. Looking not bad, but I was having trouble placing the ear and the neck/shoulder, and I hadn’t even started working the hair. Also, the mouth wasn’t quite right. But I figured I’d sleep on it, and see how it looked when I came back to the studio later.

And for reference, here’s what I was trying to draw. I don’t know if I captured exactly the right angle with my phone’s camera, but close enough that you can see what I was going for. So when I got back into the studio this morning, I spent a little while just comparing proportions of the real thing with the proportions on my drawing. Then I launched in with my eraser (!), white conte and charcoal.

Here’s what I ended up with. This first pic was taken in the studio; the general lighting is better, but you can see a weird rectangular shadow from my phone on the bottom right.

I did try to fix the mouth, but then I started to make it worse. So I stopped. There’s no “undo” in this kind of art, so it’s not like you can try some things, and then revert to a previous version if it doesn’t work out! So I reached the point of looking pretty good, then decided to cut my losses. Looking at it now, I can see a few little adjustments I could make…

But as I said. It’s done, handed in. I think it’s a great first attempt. I might even frame it, just the way it is!

Here’s another picture I took, after hanging it out in the hallway. Honestly, the lighting in the halls is atrocious, even though the walls are clearly set up to display students’ artwork. Maybe it’s a benefit? Kind of how you look younger in candlelight, and more haggard in the bright light of day?

Reflecting on this assignment, I found it useful to use a modified blind contour approach to sketching out his hair – looking really hard at each curl, and trying to make the line with my hand. Then going back in later and doing the blending and highlighting. I also tried to think about drawing spaces, rather than drawing “hair” or “nose”. Where’s the light, where’s the shadow? What’s the shape of each particular area? I found that helpful. I can see how what we’ve done so far has led me to this point. I’m loving this class!

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