(picture at bottom)
Your every other week
In this issue:
This week I'm going to answer a request from member Kristy Wells from Idaho:
Taking a closer look at the individual features. Here's part of what we wrote
back and forth:
Thought I would show you a little practicing I've been doing. I didn't use
anyone for models, just played with what I have been learning from memory.
I am pretty good with criticism... So, Lay it on me Teach'.... Everything is
jumbled together because it is simply a scratch pad. (that would explain the set
if lips in the middle of the face) just a bunch of practice items jumbled together!...
Let me know what you think!
A note: I've added additional editing since I've sent Kristi her email back,
and I added extra contrast to the photo. I'd also like to applaud Kristi for
her courage, willingness and generosity - it can be a little scary to have
your pictures put out on the web for hundreds to see. Thank you Kristi!
I've also included Kristi's email address for those of you who'd like to compliment
her work (with her permission of course).
Also of interest: Kristi has been recovering from a serious car accident
where she broke both arms and a femur in January. But guess what? She's
still drawing! You ARE my hero Kristi. :-)
I'm looking at your drawings in photoshop right now - I really like them!
If you're drawing from memory - even more impressive. Most folks when
they access memory they draw the "stored" version of whatever it is they're
drawing. When I look at the eyes (all examples of the eyes), I see all
sorts of great detail:
Very accurate shadowing over the upper lids, you draw very accurate
"palpebral folds" - i.e. the groove of the upper eye lid; I can see the pupil,
the iris, the highlight in the iris/pupil, very nicely done - and very realistic
lashes too. (Look at the attached picture to match the number to the part
being discussed below.)
1) the eyebrows in the stand-alone pair of eyes towards the middle top are
very, very realistic female brows (nice job!), lots of detail;
2) In the lower middle of the page there's a "3/4" view eye that demonstrates
very astute observation: it's foreshortened - and very realistically done;
3) The nose in the lower right shows a very simplified - and effective rendering:
that's all the more detail you need to know draw of the nose at a caricature
gig - you hit the bulb of nose, the septum, the shadow of the nares, the nasal
philtrum, right on down to "Cupid's Bow" of the central upper lip, and all in
blistering 3-d :-) ...ie very well proportioned)
Speaking of lips, the lips around the page are wonderful! very playful, but
accurate too: you show the difficult shadowing, the vertical "vermilion folds"
( the vermilion of the lip is the actual red, pulpy surface part lip and the folds
are the vertical lines within the lips - they come out looking like contour lines).
There's one big lip drawing in the middle of the right third of the page...
4) ...I really like the contour lines (the curved lines within the bulk of the lower lip)
they bring out the curvaceousness of the lip - especially the lower lip.
5) The full face version: a great right ear (right ear of the character): I can
see the "concha", the helix, the pinna, very accurate, and it too is very
accurately foreshortened. ("the concha" is the cup-shaped tissue that lies
between the anti-helix and the shadow of the meatus - if this sounds like
Latin, go for it and look up the troublesome words in the individual feature
6) The full face was meant to be cartoonish? I'm assuming it was. (If not, the
height of the forehead could be made higher, and remember the horizontal
midline of the eye should be in the approximate horizontal center of the face -
but I can tell this was intended as a cartoon - and from what you've drawn,
you certainly have the observational skills to see that)
The hair: my eyes are pulled right up to the midline at the hair line: 7) it's
true to life the way it has that density right where it grows out of the scalp
and shoots straight up. Some of the curls have a cartoon look about them.
That's neither bad nor good - it's all a matter of "if it was your intention"
(and I like them). I think you intended that (realistic hair is a lot of work :-)
The shading is really working all over the place - you have a great sensitivity
to light and shadow. I think it's marvelous work Kristi!
On a larger note
Notice what Kristy's been doing? She's spotlighted certain features and
she's rehearsing them, drawing them over and over, and look how nicely they're
coming together! Suggestion: spend one week's drawing sessions doing eyes.
The next week, just lips. The next: noses. The next: ears, then the hair, then teeth,
then the shapes of the head ...until you have all the features memorized.
(The individual lesson is go into detail about each of these.)
Here's your assignment: start edging into likenesses. You have a very
strong foundation in all the features. I also recommend learning the deeper
anatomy : so you can look into any face and recognize the subtle influence
musculature, bony foundation, soft tissue etc, exert on shadow, highlight
and contour. (there's a huge file that'll be posted in the next two weeks
on just this).
Keep up the fantastic work Kristy! I can see you have an outstanding
foundation you're bringing to the table. take care, stay in touch
PS - Would you mind if I let people view your work and the comments?
That way people get a quick view terms and language so they can follow
up on their weak areas, and they get inspired by seeing a member's work.
(I also like to leave the email of the contributor so people can contact (in
this case) you. I would understand totally if you didn't want the email address
there. ...amazing thing though, people who step up to this get an amazing
boost in creative energy by taking the chance :-) Let me know.
PSS And a small snippet of Kristi's email back:
"...Whoo Hoo... Ego Boost!! hehe I think it would be an honor to be posted.
I would love to hear what others think! ..."
Q: "...when you say 'deeper anatomy' do you mean life drawing? or just concentrate
on more realistic features?..."
Ans: All the above. Firstly, I mean literally the anatomy: bones, the facial
muscles that kind of thing. I didn't stumble on to Robert Beverly Hale until about
1 year ago, but he says right up front in all his books you don't, won't and
can't do your best drawing until you know the anatomy intimately: muscles,
bones, skin, skin wrinkle patterns, light, shadow, primitive forms, etc. (at first
seeming kind of contrary to what Betty Edwards teaches).
When in Spain 13 years ago I arrived at the same conclusion independently. So I sat
down and took out an artistic anatomy book and spent part of a day just drawing
noses. Then a few hours over 3,4,5 days doing nothing but eyes, then foreheads,
facial masses. Then going over each several more times. Then muscles until I
could draw each from memory: just like you've intuitively done with the eyes.
So send Kristi your comments and praises:
"Kristy Wells" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
PSSS ...Upcoming service: 'Individualized In-depth Evaluations'. But in
the mean time and for any of you who'd like the same courtesy extended to
you: email me a small (less than 100 kb), picture for a quick evaluation - or send
a drawing by snail mail I'd love to do the same for you. And if you'd like a more
in-depth evaluation watch for the upcoming offer on in-depth evaluations of your
Keep on drawing all, and stay safe!
Jeffrey O. Kasbohm