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Thread: Portrait

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
    Posts
    7

    Question Portrait

    Hello fellow forum dwellers,

    This is what I have been working on this last couple of weeks. There is something not right about it and I am sure its something pretty obvious, but I have been too much in it to see it objectively now.

    It was done as an assignment of working from a photographic reference to study facial structure/colour etc.

    All criticism gratefully received!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Atlanta (Georgia) area
    Posts
    968
    The perspective on the planes of the face appear to be subtly off, but that may be an artifact of lens distortion, or he may look like that. Generally speaking, as a study, you appear to have achieved your goal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Milky Way
    Posts
    858
    Far from an expert comment here
    but perhaps you could gently graduate the background towards the left
    Its unchanging nature seems to compete for attention
    while at the same time asking why its there?

    Another idea might be to prototype some liquid draw reconstructions of the cheekbone areas as an experiment.

    To me this face looks great in any case
    Last edited by iceaxe; 01-02-2010 at 11:19 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    601
    There is much to admire here; I like the skin tones and the eyes have a faraway contemplative look. His beard and moustache are very good (areas I've often found problematic). I think you're on your way to creating a riveting portrait.
    To my admittedly untrained eye, the only thing that struck me as somewhat "off" is the jaw structure from just below the nose to the bottom of the chin. It looks (to me, at least) slighly skewed to the right (the subject's left) making the facial bone structure ever so slighly distorted. I'm relatively new to art and drawing, however, so please take my comments with many grains of salt!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    241
    Well, for one, you've made the eyes set at different depth.

    There are subtle plane angle errors all over. For instance, the far corner of the mouth should recede with the cheek, but the texture of the beard there is exactly the same as on the near side, leading to confusion.

    The color is very, very even, not enough difference to suggest a certain lighting. Focus on tone, not on color. The lips, for instance, can't be so evenly red, there should be shadows and highlights somewhere. Same goes for everything else.

    If you did this from a photo, try picking photos that have more distinct lighting for your exercises. Better yet, use live models. Draw your friends, random people... Go to fineart.sk and check books by Loomis there if you haven't yet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Well, for one, you've made the eyes set at different depth.

    There are subtle plane angle errors all over. For instance, the far corner of the mouth should recede with the cheek, but the texture of the beard there is exactly the same as on the near side, leading to confusion.

    The color is very, very even, not enough difference to suggest a certain lighting. Focus on tone, not on color. The lips, for instance, can't be so evenly red, there should be shadows and highlights somewhere. Same goes for everything else.

    If you did this from a photo, try picking photos that have more distinct lighting for your exercises. Better yet, use live models. Draw your friends, random people... Go to fineart.sk and check books by Loomis there if you haven't yet.
    Thank you Arenhaus, I knew it was something but couldn't put my finger on it! The eyes are set all wrong! I may be able to fix that... will have a play tomorrow. The photograph I used wasn't brilliant, I realised this a few hours into the exercise but decided to continue to complete the assignment and learn where I had gone wrong elsewhere too. I need to have my next reference with better contrast. Thank you for pointing out the mouth position with the cheek too, I hadn't even considered that .

    jbyrjbyr1 & Docsmith626: you are both right too, the bone structure isn't right either (curses) but improvement will be seen in the next one.

    iceaxe: I admit to not really thinking too hard about the background. I have missed an opportunity to bring the eye to the subject so I will have a play with this later too. Incidentally what do you mean by using 'a liquid draw reconstruction'? I'm not sure what this is...

    I think I shall work on structure next to get the proportions right, otherwise it doesn't matter how well it is coloured/lit it just won't look correct...

    Thanks to all, updated version en route (so long as I get to it, and it looks better).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    241
    When drawing a head, it helps to think about the skull underneath the soft tissues. Once you learn to spot the bony parts on a living person, it becomes much easier. The soft tissues are pliable, but the bone points of reference stay put to guide you. So when drawing the eyes, think of the orbits' bony rings; when drawing the mouth, think of the teeth curve... and so on.

    Even if you are drawing from the memory, it often helps to sketch the skull first to get the perspective right.

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