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Drawing Forum and Art Community • View topic - Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur
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Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

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carmur

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Post Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:30 pm

Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

Hi all, it is so encouraging to find very informative tutorials (thanks a million Duey) for someone like me who has never drawn in my entire life. I am a bit of a late starter in this field, I have drawn two portraits from photos so far and I am enjoying it tremendously.

I would really welcome any suggestions and advice especially as to why my second portrait (attached) does not resemble my subject photo. The first one I attempted didn't either but I forgave myself being the first time round. I am obviously doing something wrong or I missing something, so any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated to put me on the right path.

Also does anyone know if there is a list of the grade of pencils that you should use for each feature or object you are drawing, ie for dark hair - Mechanical 3B for lines and 7b for shading, for blonde hair ?????????? for skin - H etc.. as it would be really helpful to a amateur like myself, until one gets enough confidence up to start experimenting. Thanking everyone in advance. :D

portrait - http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/202/01042g.jpg/
subject photo - http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/651/kassieresizedkassie2011.jpg/
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Brendan

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Post Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:13 am

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

That's a fine second portrait .. you just need to draw a few more !

You don't need to know what pencil for what body part ... you need to be able to accurately reproduce any shade - from very light to very dark.
That, combined with more realistic proportions (try using the grid technique) and closer attention to detail will make all the difference.

Try thinking that you're painting with graphite, rather than drawing lines with a pencil. :D
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carmur

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Post Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:34 am

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

Thanks Brendan I will keep it in mind :D I have been a bit hesitant to use a grid as I wanted to do it freehand, but it is a good suggestion and it does make sense. It would help to keep things in proportion, thanks for take the time to have a look and post.
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Watcher

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Post Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:34 am

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

Hi Carmur,

I'm relatively new to photorealistic drawing and I'm brand new to this forum. However, I've been drawing other pencil drawings such as cartoons and whatnot for, jeeze, over 30 years off and on.

So I'm in no way professionally trained in school, nor am I anything more than a novice at photorealism. So take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

The difference between photorealism and the way I have always drawn in the past is that with cartoons and whatnot, you outline everything with dark lines. Like the facial features, in the case of your photo the headband, etc.

You don't do that with photorealism. There are not supposed to be any hard lines. Everything is built up with tones.

It looks like you are making this error with this particular drawing. The face is clearly defined with a line, as is the nose, and the creases on the cheeks, the lips, and the headband.

The problem is, is that usually when we think of what something looks like, like say a flower, or a bird, or anything really, we picture it in our head more like a cartoon because our brains have to summarize what we see. We simply cannot contain every tiny detail of everything we see. So our brain filters it out and cartoonifies it. I hope that makes sense.

The trick is, when you look at the reference photo, and you are about to draw something like the nose, don't think "nose". Because then your brain throws out a cartoon idea of a nose. Look at that portion of the face, not as a nose, but simply as shades, tones, highlights, never as a "nose".

Another thing is never, ever rush the drawing. And when you really get into copying these shades, tones, and highlights, you will actually lose track of time and not realize you spent, say, two hours sketching out what turns out to eventually and almost magically to look like a lifelike nose. It's almost like you came out of a trance or meditation.

As for the perspective, there are two things you can do to start learning about this. Either use the "grid method" which I do not prefer, or find a lightbox and very, very lightly trace over the major features, like the eyes, mouth, cheeks, etc. For a reference. But make it very light. I usually take less than 3 minutes doing this on my drawings.

Then as you ever so slowly move along focusing only on shading and tones (and NOT thinking, "I'm drawing a cheek now. I'm drawing the mouth now. etc") you either shade over those light lines or erase them as you go along.

I don't know if that makes sense. But that's what has made a WORLD of difference for me. It's a jedi mind trick on yourself. :lol:
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ajcurly

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Post Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:58 pm

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

"The trick is, when you look at the reference photo, and you are about to draw something like the nose, don't think "nose". Because then your brain throws out a cartoon idea of a nose. Look at that portion of the face, not as a nose, but simply as shades, tones, highlights, never as a "nose"."
This is why...in my opinion learn to graph 1st...then learn to freestyle without a graph. Also when you graph a drawing you draw what is in each little box not the entire drawing at one time. Learn to recreate what you see in each little box. Just keep drawing. :D
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Watcher

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Post Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:06 pm

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

I've tried the grid technique on drawing only detailed images of the eye and other things and I did not prefer the technique. I can understand the idea behind it, but you have to be so careful with creating the grid to prevent indentations in the paper and then so diligent about getting rid of the grid. What a pain.

If it's all about trying to not pay attention to the object you are drawing I've read of just turning the image upside down and drawing it that way. Drawing a face upside down helps prevent your brain from immediately identifying what you are drawing so you are forced to pay attention to shades and tones and whatnot.

I tend to just hyper focus so intently on small, tiny details I don't even pay attention to what it will eventually be a part of.

Of course what works for one person doesn't work for another. I think everyone should try every technique just to see what works best for them, but I for one, the grid thing is not my cup of tea. :wink:
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Kirby

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Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:35 pm

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

I think that is a great second attempt at drawing a portrait. =D>

When it comes to what pencil to use, there are really no rules. I only have a few suggestions of what I do, which you don't even have to follow if you don't want to. I always start of with a 2H pencil to do the grid and the outlines. I find the 2H pencil to be the lightest of my pencils, even lighter than say some 4H pencils I have. I don't know why exactly but I think harder pencils than 2H scratch the paper, or maybe because my drawing pencils are the cheapest ones I could find. For adding shading to drawing, I quite often start with my 2H pencil and then build up darker layers on top of it with softer pencils, such as HB or 2B. Only for areas I decide are going to be the darkest, I directly go to a 6B pencils and work it pretty hard into the paper until I get complete coverage in that area. Building up layers of graphite is a good way to help fill in the tooth of the paper (the little indents on paper, especially the rough kind). Another way to get smooth coverage is to blend the graphite. I advise against using your finger to blend just because of the oils on your fingers. I use a tissue. Blending will fill in the tooth of the paper and will get you more medium tones from darker pencils. Also, try to keep areas with highlights free from graphite because erasing them in after is very difficult. These are just suggestions based on what I do, feel free to follow them or disregard them. I am also guilty of using whatever pencil I have that is sharp at the time. I can spend 20 hours on a portrait, but I'm too lazy to sharpen my pencils. #-o I'm so glad I now have some 0.5mm mechanical pencils in 2H, HB, and 2B.

I find using a grid to be the best way to achieve photo realistic drawings. It can be done without a grid (Zindy is a good example of an artist who doesn't use one), but that takes years of practice. Like I said, I use a 2H pencil for the grid, and a draw it really light. I hold the pencil very loosely and let gravity be the only pressure on the pencil. This results in a grid so light that I can easily work over it, and my paper doesn't get indented. Or you can use Graham's Method which can be found here: http://dueysdrawings.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3372
His method results in an accurate outline without having the grid left on your paper. I use that method to get an accurate outline for drawings and paintings done in mediums other than graphite. The only thing I do differently is that I don't print out my reference photo.

The best way to learn how to draw realistically is to practice and experiment. Most importantly, have fun. :D
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carmur

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Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:46 pm

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

Hi Kirby,

Thank you for all your wonderful pointers and advice and I will definitely follow it. Your drawings are absolutely amazing, you are a very talented lady. If I can achieve a quarter of your standard, I will be a very happy woman.

I have not drawn anything since I was 10 maybe 11 years old and I am now 52, so every aspect of drawing is all new to me. Another thank you for also sharing what pencils to use, your post is a great reference for me to work with and thanks for taking the time to reply.
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carmur

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Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:23 pm

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

Hi Watcher,

Thank you for you feedback, it is very much appreciated and yes you are absolutely correct, one of my problems is very much the defined outlines. I will have to practice lots on learning to build up with tones. I have never drawn anything in my life before then I go rushing trying to draw a portrait, but I did have fun and it is helping me lots with trying to give up smoking.

You are also absolutely right in the whole brain trick, when I read your post, I realised that, that is exactly what I was doing. Instead of focusing on the details of my reference, my brain had taken over to what it thought it should look like. So thank you for raising it and it all makes perfect sense. This will help me know to be more aware. Yes, I have read that theory on turning the photo upside down to trick the brain, but it didn't work for me, everything was more out of proportion.

I am so appreciative of everyone comments as I feel that everyone is teaching me so much and believe me I need it as there is so much more that I still need to learn and lots and lots of practice to go yet.

I will have to give in and try the grid at least until I have a lot more experience behind me. Excuse my ignorance but what is a lightbox? it sounds more interesting than the grid method. Well thanks once again for all your great tips and advice. :D
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Watcher

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Post Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:24 am

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

A lightbox is a box with a translucent surface on the top that contains a light inside of it. Using it you can put a drawing or picture on top of the box, then place a sheet of paper over it, and the light shows the image clearly through to assist you in tracing.

Some are very pricey, but this one is, in my opinion, the best one for the price:

http://www.dickblick.com/products/artograph-lightracer-light-box/

If you look at my drawing of the owl here:

Image

You can see the right side and the body of the owl where I roughly traced the overall image of the picture to give me the basic reference of where everything is. I traced that using a light box.

After I make the trace I put the lightbox away and slowly start filling in all the details. This is my preferred way instead of using grids.

On this next image of this drawing pay attention to the area I surrounded with a red circle:

Image

Do you see the border between where I've finished filling in detail and the undone portion where I originally traced?

If you notice there is a thin area where I've erased the traceline, I haven't put any detail in yet, but I've started shading or building up the tone. As I work following the traced area I erase it and begin building up the shading, preparing it for the final detailing work.
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Kirby

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Post Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:19 pm

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur

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Post Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Please help Newbie - Extreme Amateur


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