View Full Version : Jacqui's people sketches

01-13-2013, 07:03 PM
I have been inspired by the several new threads that people have created with their endeavours in sketching people/portraits. This has been a goal of mine for some time. So I have decided to take the leap and just jump in. I have a new sketchbook that I am devoting just to this (not something I normally do) so I can see my progress, no matter how long it takes. It is A4 hardbound with slightly heavier paper than my normal sketchbooks. It is actually nice to draw in.

Jack Hamm and Andrew Loomis will be my initial guides down this path. Here are my first couple of pages using Hamm as my first teacher. These are just studies for now but I will be attempting several portraits as well, hopefully the study will help me develop my own style.


01-13-2013, 07:52 PM
Awesome endeavor, Jacqui. Good beginning.

Drawing portraits is hard, I think, as being just a littler off can really change a likeness. Its something I have worked on a little but not nearly enough! Good on you for going for it.

01-13-2013, 07:57 PM
Good for you Jacqui. I look forward to seeing your studies.

01-13-2013, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the support and encouragement Rainy and Debby. :)

01-13-2013, 11:52 PM
Portraits are a subject that interests me also, Jacqui. Your page of noses and mouths look pretty good. In my experience, noses and mouths are the hardest parts of a portrait, so it's good to start with those. I'll be following along to see how you do.

01-14-2013, 10:22 AM
Jacqui, this an excellent plan! "The proper study of Mankind is Man", as ole Al Pope said back in the 18th century. I applaud you! :thumbsup:

I also really enjoy people sketching. Don't forget to get a lot of practice 'from life'. If not on the bus or in the cafe, then try sketching from the television at least. My favorite is when I happen to capture a flavor of the individual face in just a few moments of work. Magic! (And very gratifying!) Most assuredly NOT a "likeness" but a touch here and there. (Try not to worry too much about getting a "likeness".)

Don't forget life drawing classes, too! There is no better practice than a weekly drawing class. And use your mirror too! Self-portraits! You always have a live model handy in the mirror.

Excellent sketchbook project. I look forward to seeing your results over time. Bravo to you!


01-14-2013, 03:05 PM
Jacqui, I love the way you are willing to jump into new things.
You are a great inspiration.

01-14-2013, 05:50 PM
I am overwhelmed by the support and encouragement you are all offering me. You guys are the best :) I hope I can live up to it.
Michelle I like doing studies of noses and mouths, something satisfying in it. I really need to practice feet more too.
Jan I do life drawing at school, so when I go back to class I will be doing that weekly. I really learnt a lot from those classes last year, including that I need a lot of work on face and feet. It is fun too. Thanks for the tip of drawing from tv, I don't go out much so hard to do from life otherwise.
Thanks Philip. Gotta give it a go, nothing to lose by trying. I am not expecting masterpieces but it is good to have a goal and focus.

01-14-2013, 07:55 PM
Great start on a good project, Jacqui!

01-14-2013, 10:05 PM
Thanks John

Here are a couple of pages I did last nite. Some more studies and then found a picture in the local newspaper. I did not do a good job on the portrait but its a start I guess. It looks even worse on here... oh no...


01-15-2013, 07:22 AM
Jan is right, working from life is such good practice. What about self portraits if you have a small mirror . Just eye or mouth studies to start with?

01-15-2013, 09:15 AM
This is such a good idea, and a great practice to do! Good work!

01-15-2013, 05:53 PM
It may not be perfect, but you are practicing. That's what will get you better and better.

01-15-2013, 06:23 PM
Vivien doing self portraits in the mirror always intimidates me but doing just the eye or mouth is a good idea. Thanks.
Thank you Jenny and Debby.

01-15-2013, 06:24 PM
nice job on those eyes!

01-16-2013, 05:35 PM
Great job! Andrew Loomis is a great reference. The human head, face and figure is challenging.

01-17-2013, 01:46 AM
Thanks Rainy and Leeanne

A few more pages...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2013/185124-DSCN2574sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2013/185124-DSCN2577sml.jpg
These were done in pen, just quick gesture type sketches.
A self portrait using a mirror. I look very stiff, and much too square...lol. Oh well try again another day.

01-17-2013, 02:27 AM
These look great, Jacqui.
You're getting good practice for the scavenger hunt.

I haven't tried portraits yet, but I guess there's only one way to learn.
Your drawings are encouraging.

01-17-2013, 10:42 AM
Great work! I like your self portrait!

01-17-2013, 04:23 PM
Great practice and self portrait.

01-17-2013, 09:10 PM
Thanks so much Philip, Martina and Debby.

Another couple of pages. These were all done using a mirror. Tried to focus on just individual elements. Noses are SO hard. Had another go at a self portrait, was wearing my glasses but didn't include them. This one seems more relaxed and I think a bit more like me. I will keep perservering even just to get used to looking at myself and not feeling so self conscious which I think is part of the problem of the sketches coming out so stiff.


01-17-2013, 10:17 PM
Hi Jacqui. . . great work on those features. And good on you for trying the self-portraits! Nicely done.

01-18-2013, 10:18 AM
These are really good! I especially like the two that are just quick gesture type sketches. Those two faces are very relaxed and lively. Sometimes it's easier to go for a whole figure overall "look", where a nose is just three quick marks. Sometimes a more effective "likeness' is achieved that holistic way. I mean, heck, that laughing kid face is great!

I am enjoying seeing these sketches and am very proud of ya! :thumbsup:


01-18-2013, 03:49 PM
Good for you to keep going. Great studies, including the self portrait.

Joan T
01-18-2013, 04:13 PM
Bravo for working on something out of your comfort zone. You did a great job on the noses but those eyes really came out good. I'll be looking to see how you're doing.

01-18-2013, 04:38 PM
good subject for journaling, can never get enuf practice on portraits, I shy away from doing peeps, bravo you. Just saw the last one in the art from life forum, well done. I'll be back...

01-18-2013, 07:38 PM
I have to say once again what a great bunch of people you all are. It makes such a difference to me to read your comments and feel your support and encouragement. It is so wonderful, esp as I am fairly isolated. I learn so much from you all and truly appreciate the time and effort you all take to even just come look at my work, and all and any comments are treasured. I admire you all in so many ways as artists and people. Thank you.

I am planning on filling this whole sketchbook just with faces and people, so there will be lots more to come. Hope you can bear it :)

01-19-2013, 08:07 AM
Good for you with the self portrait! You will learn a lot if you keep doing these.

J. Falk
01-19-2013, 12:39 PM
If you haven't already read it yet, the book Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards has some really good advice/exercises on learning how to draw portraits.

01-19-2013, 04:57 PM
Thanks Viv. Juan that was one of the first books I read and used to start drawing many years ago. I should pull it off the shelf and have another look at it, thanks.

01-25-2013, 08:21 PM
I have still been working on this project slowly. The first is from Anatomy for Artists, then some quick sketches of various faces.

This is a copy from an image by Ian Sidaway, I really liked how he uses simple lines and the representation of the nose and mouth. Can look a bit freaky but was worth a try. The first head looks much better than the other 2, the last looks like a ghost... lol

01-25-2013, 08:28 PM
good to see you are keeping at this! faces are not easy for sure. . . especially getting a really good likeness! Great practice pages.

01-25-2013, 10:44 PM
Great start on your way to mastering portraits! :clap: (My favorite subject.) Studying from your art books is a good way to get the right shapes & proportions of features "in general", and not the little stick figure images from our brain. To stare at the nose samples and go "Aha! that's how the line goes around the nostrils!!" :lol: LOL! Features are funky shapes. Then I swear the live model is better/easier to draw from than photos, tho' not available 24/7 except in the mirror. I just can't see all the 3-D from a flat photo. With regular practice you will be zooming along with good likenesses soon. Best wishes to you!!!:wave:

Deborah Secor
01-26-2013, 11:50 AM
Jacqui, how nice to see you on the same sort of path I'm on right now! I haven't had much time to peruse the threads, but I'm glad I took a look in here. Very encouraging to see your work! I love seeing the studies, as well as the gestural sketches, each for different reasons and with different results. I understand! I'm trying to figure out more about likeness than I've ever cared to take the time to learn before, and it requires reviewing the basics all over again. Trust me, this will stick with you. Have fun! I'll keep poking my nose in to see how it's going... (But don't draw it! :lol:)

01-26-2013, 02:40 PM
Great studies. So cool you are keeping up with this.

01-26-2013, 04:27 PM
Thank you Rainy, Candace and Debby, I can see me doing this for a long time. I need lots of practice.
Deborah thank you. The work you are doing on your grand daughter is fantastic, and an inspiration. I find I need to do a mix of the studies and loose gestures or my brain would explode. Hopefully it will all come together one day. I am enjoying the journey so far.

Joan T
01-26-2013, 08:35 PM
Jacqui - It is great that you are doing this. Like everything portraits take a lot of practice. You go girl!!!

01-27-2013, 06:43 PM
Tried another self portrait with the mirror. I am amazed and frustrated at how different they all look. Who is the real me? lol I think maybe the proportions are better on this one. I have also realised I need to learn to draw hair.


01-27-2013, 06:51 PM
Good for you for keeping up on this project, Jacqui! Self portraits are a challenge for me as well. I think many of them (including from the masters) come out looking stern or 'stiff' as you describe it here partly because of the concentration required to do them. Your 'model' in the mirror adapts that intent/stern look because of the drawing activity and so that shows in the expression of the self portrait. Keep at it!

Deborah Secor
01-27-2013, 06:58 PM
Look at the improvement here, Jacqui! You have form and expression. It's really good!

One little trick you might try is to place your palm over your face, and then put it down on the paper to be able to see and feel the features. I know it sounds odd, but try it. Usually your palm will fit over your chin and reach nearly up to the hairline. Notice where your little finger and thumb touch your face (my little finger is right in the outside corner of my eye, for instance, my thumb points to the middle of my ear), and right where your nose pokes into your hand, and use that as a beginning guide. It's just a rough start, but somehow it helped me see things!

Hair--I'm learning that too. Don't think strands, I've discovered. Think dark, medium and light. Strong light and shadow makes a huge difference. A few strands last... I actually think your hair looks believable here. :)

01-27-2013, 07:12 PM
Great improvement already. Yay, for keeping this up.

02-02-2013, 11:53 PM
Thanks John. I am still to try your idea Deborah, will give it a go with my next SP. Thanks so much Debby.

Working slowly but still plodding along. I haven't given up on this. I actually went and joined a local art society and they have weekly portraiture sessions with a live model. So am hoping that will give me a new perspective and move me along a bit.

Few more pages.... mainly studies and exercises.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2611sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2612sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2613sml.jpg

02-03-2013, 03:42 AM
That will really help you move on. I always tell my students that copying other artists work is ok for occasional practice and working out how they do things - but working from life you learn to make your own kind of shorthand of marks and crucially your observation develops.

02-03-2013, 09:57 AM
. . . . I actually went and joined a local art society and they have weekly portraiture sessions with a live model. So am hoping that will give me a new perspective and move me along a bit.
Excellent! You will have a great time, if you stick with it. And you will also see marked progress in your work. If you stick with it. :thumbsup:

The heads at various angles are very good. Well done there!


02-03-2013, 12:14 PM
I agree, keep at it Jaquip , I can see you're making progress already.


02-03-2013, 04:12 PM
Good for you joining an art society where you can have a model to draw live on a weekly basis. These are more super studies. Keep going.

02-03-2013, 05:03 PM
Thanks Vivien. Jan is that a hint to keep working or just a comment you don't think I will... ? lol. Thanks David but right now it feels like one step forward 3 steps back. Thanks Debby, first session is on Thurs so looking forward to it.

Joan T
02-03-2013, 08:18 PM
You did a nice job on all the heads looking up. Self-portraits are hard to do. I find myself concentrating so hard that I look too serious. I've done a lot of them for the hunts and they have gotten easier and even resemble me most of the time. lol Keep up the good work!

Deborah Secor
02-04-2013, 01:19 PM
Oh good, Jacqui, I just know you'll enjoy the live model sessions. Can't wait to see what comes of it... :D Have fun!

02-04-2013, 03:36 PM
Jacqui, Roz Stendahl's blog posting for today is Reading List: Portrait Painting Books and DVDs (http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/roz_wound_up/2013/02/reading-list-portrait-painting-books-and-dvds.html)

Some of them might be of interest to you! At the very end she links to a few free video demos online.


02-04-2013, 06:31 PM
Thanks Joan and Deborah. I'll have a look at that list, thanks Jan. :)

02-04-2013, 10:53 PM
Nice job on the self portraits! They are so hard to do because if you move even a tiny bit, the whole thing changes so much. The good thing is that you will always have a model.

02-06-2013, 04:42 PM
You will learn so much going to life drawing. Use as many different mediums as you have. I also learned so much, both good and what not to do, by watching others at the sessions I went to. Large newsprint sketchbooks are good to take, cheap and make you work bigger and more gestural. Good luck, and remember to have fun!

02-07-2013, 02:12 AM
Thanks Michelle and Margo.

With being in bed for 4 days with migraine and spending a whole day re-enrolling in my course I have not had time to work on this project. But today I did go to my first portraiture session at the art society. They were a lovely friendly bunch and made me feel relaxed and at home. I am not used to drawing for 2.5 hrs, it was exhausting... lol. Did lots of work, took me a while to warm up and relax but then did a couple that I am fairly happy with.

These are A2 with charcoal, first 2 or obviously the warm ups.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2616sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2615sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2614sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2617sml.jpg

Ran out of large paper so did these couple in my sketchbook. First one in pencil then pen. Some of the women were talking about contour drawing in one of the breaks so decided to throw in one of those too.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2618sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2619sml.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2013/185124-DSCN2620sml.jpg

I think I can see improved confidence as the morning progressed. I am happy with my first session. They have the same model for 2 weeks in a row, as many of the others were doing paintings, so get to try again. I might try pastel or watercolour next week... maybe. But I will be going back.

02-07-2013, 10:56 AM
yes, you can definitely see the progress in these! Great work Jacqui!

02-07-2013, 03:34 PM
So happy for you that this worked out so well. The drawings are great.

Deborah Secor
02-07-2013, 03:34 PM
Jacqui, the third one above, the vertical portrait, is particularly good, I think! All show your explorations, and that's wonderful! Good to have another go at the same face next week. Have fun!

02-07-2013, 07:53 PM
Thanks Jenny and Debby. I like that one best too Deborah, thanks so much.

There is a life drawing session tomorrow so seriously considering attending that too. Will certainly be giving me a good start for my course which begins again in 2 wks.

Joan T
02-08-2013, 08:42 PM
These are great! How long did the model sit for each pose? You got so many done!!! My favorite is the one in charcoal!

02-08-2013, 09:35 PM
Thanks Joan. She stayed in the same pose for the whole 2.5 hrs (including breaks). Same pose again with same model next week. I just kept trying different things to use up the time. I do tend to work quickly. Have to think of some of things to try.

Deborah Secor
02-08-2013, 10:13 PM
If you can, you might try moving around and drawing from different perspectives. That's easier to do in a life class if you just have pencil and sketchpad, rather than moving your easel. I don't know it it would be practical in all circumstances (if the class is crowded, for instance), but it's always fun to see a face from different directions.

02-09-2013, 05:43 AM
That's a great start!

Charcoal (willow or vine) is the easiest and most forgiving medium and I think the most expressive too. It's also very quick, shading goes down fast and errors disappear with a sweep of the hand.

02-10-2013, 07:01 PM
Thanks so much for the support and encouragement Deborah and Vivien. I going to try and get there earlier next week and get a better, or at least different spot. I used to hate charcoal but doing life drawing has given me a whole new appreciation of it, now I love it, but only on big drawings. Hard to handle otherwise.

02-11-2013, 01:07 AM
I see a lot of progress in the last set of drawings as well. Inspires me to get back to weekly live model sessions. Maybe I will this Tuesday...

02-11-2013, 09:00 AM
Another perfectly apropos posting by Roz Stendahl on her blog today: Thoughts on Life Drawing (http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/roz_wound_up/2013/02/thoughts-on-life-drawing.html)

[warning: it's a long one!]


02-11-2013, 11:16 AM
Great sketches, Jacqui. I hope you get to sit in another spot next time though. I would think it would be hard to keep sketching the same pose unless you were doing a detailed finished drawing or painting.

02-16-2013, 05:35 PM
Thanks John, did you go to your session this week? Thanks for the link Jan. Thanks Michelle.

Some studies and another self portrait. Slightly happier with the self portrait.

Went to portrait session, ended up in the same spot but was okay. Did a couple of quick sketches. Those warm up sketches are really important, I can see such a difference in them. Then I attempted my first ever portrait watercolour from life. I'm fairly happy with the result. I really need to look at how to paint and draw hair.


02-16-2013, 06:27 PM
Great to see you continuing this line of sketching. Marvelous sketches. Like the row of ears.

02-18-2013, 07:01 PM
I think the watercolor sketch came out beautifully! And no...I didn't go to the session last week. I may go tomorrow morning if I can finish up an early appointment quickly enough.