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Thread: Pencil Portrait

  1. #1

    Pencil Portrait

    I am trying to develop my "shading" skills. As I try to improve my drawing skills, I thought I would first learn how to apply shading to a drawing. The image below was created by using the tracing feature of AR to trace the basic outline of a picture I saw on the of Ronald Regan. Once I had the basice outline and a very rough outline of some of the areas that would need the most shading, I switched the image from a tracing image to a reference image. With the reference image loaded, I began trying to shade various areas. I actually got better results than I expected. Not perfect mind you but quite better than anything in the past.

    I plan on doing this for some more images until I feel I have a pretty good handle on how to apply shading to an image. I might repeat the process in color also.

    Once I get more comfortable with the process and the tool I expect to try some of the same images "from scratch". One of these days, I am going to learn how to draw. Right now I am experimenting, learning, and most importantly, having fun.

    Your comments and suggestions are certainly welcomed.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Wow, this is really good. I really like the delicate shading around President Regan's eyes.

    One suggestion I can make is that I think the background is a bit too strong. It takes away from the subject by being too bold. I usually make my backgrounds a separate layer so I can make it less opaque, or blur, or completely blank. Being on a separate layer, you can tweak it until you get the look you want.

    You are braver than I am by drawing someone famous. None of my drawings really look like the people I'm trying to draw. That is why I'm sticking with random faces until I get better at it. One of these day I'll graduate to drawing someone people can actually recognize.


  3. #3
    Thanks for the comments. As I said, I kind of cheated by first tracing his outline and marking up some areas where the darkest shading would be. Then I removed the tracing image and went to work. Believe me, there was a lot of ctrl-z operations along the way when it did not turn out the way I wanted.

    As I said, I thought this would be a good way to get started learning how to achieve the shading. When I have tried to draw "free hand" before, the shading has been my biggest downfall which is what helps "personalize" the drawing and give it the detail we want.

    I agree about the background. I should have posted the original image. The flags are red and white and I think I made them too dark and as you said detracts from the primary subject.

    I am going to do some more and try to gradually do more and more of the drawing on my own and not rely on the traced outline but that may be a few drawings away as I build my confidence.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    washington, usa
    I really like the use of dark and light in this portrait. spot on representation of the American actor and president Ronald Reagan as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    This is great and I can see that you will be doing more of theses. Looking forward to seeing them
    Sometimes...I remember better with my eyes closed

    My Gallery

  6. #6
    Thanks for the feedback. As I said, I am just trying to learn. As a little of a "next step" if the learning process, I purchased a book called "Drawing with Lee Ames". I have attached a couple of drawings from that book. (I previously posted these same drawings in the Gallery thread but got no comments at all.

    Let me know if you think I am making any progress (these were done completely from scratch instead of tracing & reference like the Ronald Regan drawing). First I did them in just plain pencil, then I tried "dressing them up" with some color.

    Name:  Ames_Dog_01.jpg
Views: 924
Size:  312.3 KBName:  Ames_Hose.jpg
Views: 908
Size:  359.0 KB

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    washington, usa
    everyone started somewhere.
    you will get more comfortable with the program as you go along.
    I must say that horse sketch is remarkable. just stunning. looks like a classical artist sketch.

  8. #8
    Thanks - wasn't expecting something like your comment about the horse. I have some other drawaings of dogs that I will submit and I think the original of the dog without color is better.

    I am working on another horse that I will submit when it is done. All of these are inspired by the Lee Ames book.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Nice work.
    You should concentrate more on the emotion that comes form the eyes and mouth, especially on the portrait.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    TN, USA


    if you are going to do grayscale portraits, which is a great place to start, try doing this..

    as you draw, shrink the image from 100% down to like 30 or 40% (in the viewer, not the actual image)
    and squint your eyses. This will blur the image and show you contrasts. If the background is too dark
    and detracts from your main focus it will immediately become clear. Also, flip your canvas horizontally.
    This causes your brain to detach from the image and let's you see what's off.
    The human brain is funny, it only needs about 20% of an image to fill in the rest and it will do that with
    a drawing. It will actually trick you to thinking something looks right but it's off.
    Have you ever drawn something, put it away and come back to only realize that something you thought
    was right was actually off? That's your brain detaching from it's preconcieved notions and letting you
    see what's really there.

    Anyway, I hope these suggestions help!

    Last edited by BrettTadlock; 11-05-2012 at 04:31 PM. Reason: (caught a typo)

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