View Full Version : Donny

10-09-2002, 09:39 PM

Title: Donny
Year Created: 2002
Medium: Watercolor
Surface: Watercolor Paper
Dimension: 11X17
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Hi...I have been doing watercolor for only two months and this is my first drawing to painting portrait...I'v had problems with his right eye...looks a little like one-eyed-jack...this can be delt with later...I plan to do it in Oils. Would like any suggestions on how to punch it up. I think the background is blaugh...but It is taken from a photo...he was on a trail ride and that is suppose to be snow.

Please don't hold back...feelings take a back seat to knowledge.

10-10-2002, 07:08 PM
Work on the hat more than the eye.

It's too monochomatic.
If you want to "punch" it up, contrast is the key.
If you don't want to use very dramatic colors, which for an outdoor portrait wouldn't work real well, you make sure your values from light to dark regarding your subject really stand out.

On your computer, if possible, look at image in simple B&W. This will give you a better indication of what needs to be emphasized.

Without a computer, use a piece of red or blue cellophane, the old style 3-D paper eyeglasses are great for this!

Good Luck!

10-12-2002, 10:18 AM
Looking good, but isn't that a lot of hat? I am of cource guessing, but it seems like the hat is too large for the man; a bit like a boy borrowing his father's hat...

Attached is an image where I reduced the size of the hat, and increased contrast on the face. I smudged the background, and think that works when the details are lost.

The eyes are fine.

10-20-2002, 03:40 PM
Hi, I had an email conversation with Sunny1, and here is the reference photo.

10-20-2002, 03:43 PM
Here is an edited image where the hat is painted in from the photo after scaling it to the size of the face. As you can see I left the original hat in the background.

10-20-2002, 04:00 PM
Now that we have seen the photo it is difficult not to start critiquing likeness, anatomy etc. (I asked Sunny1 if such a critique was wanted as the photo was not originally posted, and got an ok).

In the attched image I have copied more of the face to show some of the problems with likeness.

- the ear is too small
- the eyes are too big
- the nose is too straight/flat
- the mouth is too thin and not wide enough, it also needs to follow the roundness of the face
- his left eye should be higher up - he is tilting his head in the photo, but not in painting.

I hope that is of value; In your mail you said you where going to use a grid for the final piece. Taking measurements using a ruler helps a lot.

Composition wise I think it is better if you keep the raised back of his clothing. The yellow/brown dress creates a pretty strong iupside down U and this shape looks a bit cut out. With the raised back you get a very nice pull from his back up to the face. So, in the edited image I pulled the back up.

10-31-2002, 08:33 PM
Sunny1, I'm not sure if you are still following this thread, but I thought it was worth commenting on. The reference photograph has lots of possibility, and I'm not surprised that you chose it. I wish it were my photograph :)

The painting technique could be improved, but that is secondary to the main problem here, which is the underlying drawing. Henrik has pointed out some things that need to be changed, which I agree with. Those things need to be changed if the drawing is going to look more like the reference photo. It occurred to me that you may need some coaching on how to proceed.

Drawing on a grid is fine I guess, but if you are going to go through that amount of trouble just to get the drawing right, you might as well trace the outlines and save yourself some time. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with tracing (commercial artists do it all the time) to save time, but it won't teach you how to draw. Drawing on a grid won't teach you how to draw either, in my opinion. You have the potential to have very good drawing skills so you may as well develop them by drawing. :)

Judging from your drawing, I can tell that, at least sometimes, you are relying less on the reference photograph, and more on what you "think" you see. The large hat is an indication of this. In your mind you are thinking "big hat", and instead of following the lines of the reference photograph, you draw the "big hat" that your mind perceives. This is a pretty common thing to do.

One way to remedy this is to turn your reference photograph upside down and draw it like that. This makes it easier to concentrate on the abstract lines and shapes in the images. It also keeps your mind from using its prejudices to enlarge or diminish the size of something, like the hat. I rotated the image to give an idea of how this really works:

10-31-2002, 09:20 PM
Another thing you can do is estimate measurements in the reference photo. I attached a series of images to show some of the examples.

a. I tried to reduce the composition to its most basic lines.

b. I colored the top of the hat and the face to show that they are basically the same size.

c. I have drawn some purple lines to show that the hat is actually shorter than the face, just barely.

d. To get an idea of how wide the hat brim should be, I used the face as a measuring device. I divided the face in half (on a diagonal because the head is tilted), and extended the lines. the brim of the hat isn't much wider than 1/2 the width of the face. You don't need to draw the measuring lines; it's just something to estimate in your mind.

e. Angles are also important. As you draw, keep comparing your drawing to the reference photo. Turn them both upside down to compare if you have trouble.

f. With a basic line drawing it is easier to see how the composition is divided into shapes, like puzzle pieces. This is where the angles become important. The angles determine the shapes of the "puzzle pieces". If the angles are accurate, the shapes will also be accurate.

In my opinion, drawing skill can be taught just like anything else. Knowledge of a few simple concepts can vastly improve one's ability to draw. I would highly recommend the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. The first drawing class I took in college used this book as a text. At the time I thought I was pretty good at drawing, and I still found myself learning from the book. It has a series of exercises for improving your ability to see, which can really improve your ability to draw. Blind contour drawing was especially helpful. I guess there is a new edition out. I haven't seen it, but I remember the old one. I always thought it was a very good book.