This photo looked easy, but it also looked wonderful:
And this is what I made:
Negatives: I went slightly off on the proportions of the spoon and the cup handle. And I’ve made the bird bigger relative to the cup than it is in the photo.
Positives: I’m really pleased at getting the proportions of the bird mostly right, even if they are a bit too big. And that I was able to use three different pencil grades to shade the different feathers the bird has.
I’m still wondering how to achieve bright spots and light reflections with pencils.
I bit the bullet and tried to do faces again. Fortunately, Flickr explore for that day had this mesmerising long exposure photo where the same model is in three different parts of the photo, with a different expression in each:
And this is what I came up with:
I think at this point I’m still in the uncanny valley, but able to see the flatlands on the horizon.
Doing this involved paying attention to where the face was in shadow, and not trying to outline the whole face. It didn’t work perfectly, but I think I’ve got the basics right. I also paid a lot of attention to the shape of the eyes, and copying the small deviations from a regular ellipse that eyes actually are – and I think it’s worked.
Where I did get frustrated was the lower half of the face – it’s again one of those situations where I don’t even know what I’m doing wrong.
I think this was also the first drawing I did with a mix of 2H and HB.
I got ambitious and did two drawings on the 8th. The first was of this pig:
This is my copy:
I think I got his (her?) smile; but I went slightly off on proportions again – my drawing pig is long and more stretched out than the chubby pig in the photo – and my tub has hardly any water.
Trying to use shading to show the way the pig’s hair was swirling around on the body was fun. Between my drawing and the scanner, I don’t think it’s come through properly, but I think it’s more success than failure.
I also tried to do this monkey ape:
Here’s the copy:
The photo has a whole bunch of fuzzy hair that wouldn’t have come across with outlining. I tried using outlines only for the gibbon’s face and ear (and nipple); and trying to replicate the hair with small pencil strokes. I don’t think it’s come out perfectly, but it was fun.
I also ended up making the right side of his (her?) face slightly disproportionate; and onlt realised it once it was beyond the scope of fixing with an eraser.
After two days of copying close up portraits, I wanted to try something different, and found this archival photo of a steam engine:
This is how I reproduced it:
I had watched the two-point perspective tutorial by this time, and tried to apply it, but it didn’t work. I started in on the train, and found out that by the time I had done the engine and two wagons, I had run out of page.
And despite lots of effort trying to replicate the landscape, it ended up looking really, really flat and without the clear presence of depth that the original photo had.
I don’t know if I bit off more than I could chew and that landscapes are really hard (or at least something where I need to learn something I haven’t learnt yet), or if this is a photo that exposed my lack of skill.
Anyway, onward with both practice and with watching tutorials.
On 6 July, feeling confident after the previous day’s cat, I decided to try a human face again, and found this portrait:
And this is what I came up with:
So… it’s not as bad, and less distorted than the last time I tried to do faces, but it’s still in an uncanny valley. Shivani told me that I had made her bald – and yep, there’s a fall of hair on the left side of the forehead and around the ear that I simply forgot about. And the nose is also off in a way where I don’t even know what I did wrong.
But again, I’m excited that I could get shapes across with not too many lines; in the torso and the neck.
I seem to have tilted the subject’s head the other way in the drawing as it is in the photo, while mostly getting the shape right. But again, I seem to have made the head bigger than the body.
I found this photo on Flickr’s explore page and realised that I hadn’t yet tried to draw an animal:
So I drew this:
What do you know, this is my best drawing yet. Cats, it turns out, are easier to draw than humans.
This is in addition to all the other ways in which cats are better than humans – they potty train themselves, they have tails that can swish from one direction to another, and, of course, they can be simultaneously alive and dead.
From Flickr’s explore page, this black and white, full-of-shadows photo jumped out at me:
And this is what I drew:
I drew the two silhouetted people on the left with the umbrellas first, and the lady in the foreground afterwards – and then realised that I had drawn the foreground figure much larger in proportion to the umbrella carrying people than she is in the photo.
That mistake apart, I’m a little pleased with myself for mostly getting her posture right with very few lines and not driving myself furious trying to reproduce exact angles or curves.
The one thing that did throw me off in this photo was getting the angles and proportions of the buildings right. About a day after I drew this, I watched ShaeferArt’s video on two point perspective, and I think having seen that first might have helped me do the buildings better.
This was from the flickr photostream of someone named Denis Cauchoix who’s removed it since then. I’ve contacted him to see if he’s okay with me putting up his photo, and I’ll be taking it down if he says no. His photostream has some amazing animal photos, and I recommend it highly.
This is how I drew it:
This was easier compared to my catastrophe with faces the day before this; and restored my confidence. It’s still off in certain ways – I completely messed up the lock, drawing the outline, erasing it, and then forgetting to do it properly. I could have done better with the bird’s head as well, and I can’t quite grasp just how I’m off with the bicycle’s carrier. But I think this is a step up.
If either the photographer or the subjects ever see this, I’m apologising to them for the terrible mess I’ve made of their faces. I have such a long way to go when it comes to getting faces right. And it only becomes harder when the face is smiling.
I think the Rolling Stones logo from the day before this was so easy, it made me overconfident.