The focus of the Let’s Face It lessons changed this week from front facing portraits to 3/4 facing portraits. For the first lesson on the theme, Kara Bullock demonstrated how to map a face at that angle. The assignment for this week was to use pencil to draw a 3/4 face. I am actually fairly comfortable drawing a face at that angle. Where I need practice is with full profile or close enough that the nose breaks the cheek line and also where the head tilts either upwards or downwards. That is not to suggest, however, that I do not need any practice at all because of course I do.
It was suggested that we use a photograph as the scaffolding for our drawings. As I am not comfortable using photographs taken by others, I contemplated looking online for a vintage (and, therefore, copyright free) photograph to use – as I had done for a similar lesson on front facing portrait – but in the end I decided to challenge myself to draw a portrait from my imagination, striving for greater realism than with the faces I drew earlier in the course. I am fairly happy with the face as a drawing but I think I went a bit wild creating the “bohemian” hair and lost the underlying shape of the head a bit in doing so. The face actually reminds me of someone but I cannot quite put my finger on who.
For the third lesson in the Let’s Face It course, I drew a face from my imagination. The nose is rather long, perhaps because the eyes seem quite high. I need to keep practicing this. Back to basics.
I then produced a second drawing using a photograph as a reference. I am a bit squeamish about using other people’s photographs as the scaffolding for my art work without asking their permission first. I, therefore, selected a vintage photo of Evelyn Nesbit to work from. Until I drew Freya a short while ago, I had not completed a drawing in just graphite pencil for eons. The advantage of using pencil was that I was able to work on it while sitting on the sofa watching a movie with my kids. I should keep practicing with pencil ever so often I think. My rust is showing.
The next lesson I tackled in the Mixed Media Mythology course was taken by Sarah Leonard. The subject was the Norse goddess Freya, she who gives Friday its name. She is the goddess of a whole lot of things including love and war. I did not know much about Freya so I had to do some reading up. The things that stuck in my mind about her were that she rode a chariot pulled by cats, had a battle boar, wore a cloak of feathers, had a constellation necklace crafted by dwarves, and cried tears of gold.
The tutorial suggested working on top of vintage manuscript paper. I don’t have any but I could have improvised with a few sheets of book paper. However, I decided to work on watercolour paper so as to have a more consistent substrate to work with. The lesson was also about using pencil and then adding colour with thin washes of translucent media. I sketch in pencil all the time and I use pencil to map out the scaffolding of ink drawings or paintings. However, pencil is not something I particularly use for rendering a drawing. Even when I was attending life drawing classes regularly, I used charcoal or ink. It was, therefore, interesting to work a drawing up using pencil, use it for shading, blending it with a tortillon. When it came to adding colour, I used Inktense blocks and Neocolor II crayons. I wanted to reference the feather cloak, the necklace and the golden tears in my illustration. I, therefore, added some feathers to the hair, and used gold ink to draw the necklace. I almost did not add the gold tears, worried that that final step would wreck everything else I had worked on, but I went for it and I rather like the effect. It is something I might well use again.