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View Full Version : Lauren Neural (Portrait)


MissyX
01-04-2017, 05:26 PM
MY IMAGE(S):
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/upload_spool/01-04-2017/1972758_15732172_940692052697673_2675569916231886874_o.jpg



GENERAL INFORMATION:
Title: Lauren Neural
Year Created:
Medium: Pencil
Surface: Paper
Dimension: 9 x 12
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

MY COMMENTS:
This picture is from many different references with the exception of the hat. The portrait is my main conce<br>.. not the butterfly or the hat.

The light is supposed to be shining on the front of her face.

MY QUESTIONS FOR THE GROUP:
What can I do to improve anything on the portrait? lighting, shading, technique, proportions, hair.. I am looking for help on EVERYTHING about this portrait.

I am shooting for more realism and believe that there is a smarter way to progress.

Would you recommend vellum or smooth bristol for my technique and experience of drawing?

So far I have been using hb 2b 4b and 6b steadler lead (6b koh i knoor) in lead holders for shading.. should use more H types?

No matter what B pencil I shade with, there was barely any contrast with this portrait, what should I change to help with contrast? Is it the paper? This was on mixed media paper from Michael's , Artist Loft

How could I have made her hair more fuller/realistic?

I need helped with bringing out cheek bond and eyes.. any advice?

I know something is off with my proportions but not sure what, might you be able to tell me where the problem is?

How might you suggest me practicing in the future as far as practicing better, more realistic portraits?

Thanks in advance?

Jules Hilliard
01-06-2017, 10:33 PM
I'm not into portraits. However, If I might, I would like to share the concept of composition with you. Notice the space on the right and on the bottom; not good. I suggest that you first roughly outline the space that the subject will occupy on the paper. This will help with positioning, proportions and prevent cutoffs. Good luck.

Mark Szymanski
01-07-2017, 08:49 PM
This really is a nice overall job.

Without something to compare to, I cannot comment on the likeness to the person.

The shading seems to change across the portrait. In some areas it looks blended with a stump and others areas are left as the pencil placed it on the paper. The change in handling doesn't seem to correspond to a change in texture, so I find it to be a break in the unity of the picture.

Perhaps consider how much detail you're placing in the image. I wonder if you're thinking too much on individual detail over the wholeness of the image.

If I remove some of the detail, does it destroy the likeness?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Jan-2017/1765836-face_posterized.jpg

When I look at this, it seems to speak more to the person than all the little details you've placed in the picture. Perhaps you've overstated the small lines a bit and so given more prominence to them than they should be given. Often, as we look at the details we give more attention than we should. Are these details important to the "whole" of the picture? Do they help to convey how we as the artist feel about the subject? Sometimes, they do help to capture an expression, but more often than not, we place them in because they were in the photograph and we thus translate onto paper. The undulation in the skin can usually be simplified and one will end up with something which looks more like the subject than any photograph ever will.

After all, what is required in individual portraiture is, that the qualities and the nature of the subject should be represented to convey to the mind of another those features and ideas by which the artist sees the subject. If a line or area is contrary to those artistic ideas, then they can be omitted, and if they can not be omitted, simplified to their big idea.

I think given the simplicity of materials used, pencil and paper, there is an opportunity for conservation of values. By grouping together values which are very close to one another, there is a power gain to the next set of values. Does the value of darkness you're placing on the paper describe a major change of plane? It appears to me that you worked from one area to another rather piecemeal fashion. One method to counteract this is to place all of the darkest areas in (once you have the underdrawing down), and then work out from there. This allows for one to reach out from the shadows into the half-tones and places the dark areas only where they must be. The lights are then simplified.

Sometimes I think it helps to place a drawing of what I am describing... I simplified and smoothed out a lot of the detail which "I" deemed unimportant. This doesn't mean you shouldn't include some of the information if it is important to you, it just wasn't important to me, so I left it out.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Jan-2017/1765836-girl.jpg

I worked on the eyes a bit, since they are something I feel is important, but the muscles on the cheek I left out because I feel these lines break up the smoothness to the face without adding a feeling towards the whole. You may feel differently. I also simplified the forehead.

As artists we get to choose what we place on the paper, a camera does not - it must record everything it sees. It is mechanical while we feel what we observe. You've done a nice job on placing everything on the paper, and I think it very likely your drawing does look like the subject. Great job!:clap:

billmahler
01-07-2017, 10:19 PM
The key feature of a portrait is the expression and this one is expressive, so it's successful.

Draw a line across the tops of her ears.
Now draw a line through the center of her eyes.
The lines should be parallel and they're not.

Practice will help your eye catch little oddities that detract from the likeness.

Here's a video with some good proportion tips:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EPNYWeEf1U

Keep at it. You did the hard part, now practice and get the easy part.

MissyX
01-08-2017, 08:03 AM
Thank you everyone for your advice! I truely appreciate it.

Jules Hilliard, I agree placement is something I have to work on in general. This picture was more about practicing the portrait than anything but yes I will definitely include placement in my next practice work lol.

Bill Mahler , I knew something was off with the eyes, but wasn't really sure.. proportions for them is usually my trouble spot, ears too. Thanks for pointing that out.. something I will closely monitor next time.


Mark Szymanski, I see what you mean about me blending some and not blending others. I thought blending would help pull the shading together, but after doing it I thought it made it look less realistic so I just stopped in certain areas. I kind of don't even want to used blending tools but I don't know how to pull the artwork together on my own without it.

Also I didn't reference just one person, I referenced different facial features on different people to make my own person. I even customized certain features to my liking. Do you have any tips for practicing or doing finished work using references? I pull various facial features from the internet to make my own person when I'm not drawing people from real life because of copyrights and such.

How you rendered my portrait in the last picture makes it so much clearer and asthetically pleasing to look at. I guess I always strive to draw more and more realistically with my work so I add every peice of detail I see but am unsure of how to incorporate them in with everything else in the picture and provided a polished, smooth, uniform look. I gusss my overall goal is to have someone look at my pictures and see the person's expression and my overall technique which displays realism.

Although you made the info in the picture more clear, you don't think that the lighting is to bright and too white on her? Shouldn't there be more shading or value to convey realism, even if it doesn't use every little detail for the photo as you suggested?

Also, to all the portrait artists.. do you blend with a stump or something else or do you not blend at all?

Mark Szymanski
01-08-2017, 06:47 PM
Mark Szymanski, I see what you mean about me blending some and not blending others. I thought blending would help pull the shading together, but after doing it I thought it made it look less realistic so I just stopped in certain areas. I kind of don't even want to used blending tools but I don't know how to pull the artwork together on my own without it.

This is a very good drawing already, so I am only offering my opinions on this. It is my experience that people drop onto the stump too early in the picture. Shading has entirely to do with pencil control. Make no mistake, this isn't an easy way to do it, but the shade is entirely under your control. The other thing I like about just using a pencil without a stump is the ability to give direction to your shadow to help describe differing planes. That is my opinion, and it works for me, and so take with the appropriate amount of salt.



Also I didn't reference just one person, I referenced different facial features on different people to make my own person. I even customized certain features to my liking. Do you have any tips for practicing or doing finished work using references? I pull various facial features from the internet to make my own person when I'm not drawing people from real life because of copyrights and such.


That is well and good. I would suggest a bit more anatomical study of the muscles in the face, as well as some study of the eye. I found the roundness of the eyeball, eyelid thickness, and structure supporting the eye to be underdescribed. I think you are well on your way however.

How you rendered my portrait in the last picture makes it so much clearer and aesthetically pleasing to look at. I guess I always strive to draw more and more realistically with my work so I add every piece of detail I see but am unsure of how to incorporate them in with everything else in the picture and provided a polished, smooth, uniform look. I guess my overall goal is to have someone look at my pictures and see the person's expression and my overall technique which displays realism.

Then unity in execution should be foremost in your mind as you are looking for technique to be observed.


Although you made the info in the picture more clear, you don't think that the lighting is to bright and too white on her? Shouldn't there be more shading or value to convey realism, even if it doesn't use every little detail for the photo as you suggested?


I thought I was rather conservative in leaving so many shadowed areas. I wasn't aiming for photo realism, but to give the feeling of a full frontal light. Full frontal lighting is one of the strangest types of lighting in that it actually gives you something near to a line to work with... something rather rare in nature. Your piece reminded me of a Ingres drawing (one of my all time favorite draftsmen). He would often use a full frontal light. Guillaume Lethiere in the portrait below.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2017/1765836-Ingres.jpg
When one observes underneath the chin, there is a series of lines with the paper below shining in between them. This gives a shimmer and translucency to the shadow. The stump negates this effect. Look around the brow ridge on the drawings right eye, the lines of shadow actually follow the form - note the incredibly subtle change in value... I can look at this piece of his for hours on end. Sigh. Sorry for the aside... back to the question... I feel the lighting is the important thing, and the information about texture isn't carried in the light nor the shadow. That information is actually carried in the half tones - or as I was taught to call them the "half-lights". We can stare into the light areas and our pupils will nearly instantly contract to allow us to see these areas crisply - conversely we can just as easily focus in the shadows and see detail there. We don't see both at the same time really - our eyes dart back and fourth to help build a picture of all the areas. If we take the scene in as a whole, there is a pattern of light and dark. This was more readily apparent when cameras used film... old pictures often had large black areas and large white areas. So by putting the grays only where necessary to show form, shows the wide light you've given the picture. (hopefully that makes sense). Others and you may disagree, but I am given to drawing and showing light and texture. Does making the light areas darker give her the feeling you wish to? That is a question for you, not me. Personally, the bone structure, muscle structure and form give her the ethnicity, not the values for the skin. If I take this picture and lighten it, does it change her?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2017/1765836-girl_lighter.jpg
Does that change who she is?

If I darken everything,
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2017/1765836-girl_darker.jpg
has that changed the drawing (well in this case it has since I had to draw over the skin to darken it - the side effect is it smoothed the tone)

The under drawing hasn't changed. Her ethnicity doesn't change just because you choose to have something light or dark. If it matters to you, then you must make it as you wish - it is YOUR drawing, and you need to make the way you feel.


Also, to all the portrait artists.. do you blend with a stump or something else or do you not blend at all?
Stumps - never. Can I? Yes, but I don't like the way it takes the lightness out of the paper. Your mileage may vary.

MissyX
01-08-2017, 09:03 PM
Mark,

Thank you again for your great advice. Also I didn't mean the light might take away her ethnicity but that the picture would look like it's missing value because of lightning emphasis on that erea. But yes I understand now what you're saying about using the grays to show form. Thanks :)