Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cross-eyed Drawing Techniques...Just kidding

So here's another post on how I practice. I motivate myself to do this everyday at work .Unless I get a non stop crowd, and then I don't get to :(

Mark Simon's facial Expression books, are a fabulous way to practice, in all types of medium. I started out using his book (of adults) "Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists, in 2010. The photo's in this book are in black and white. (He also has one called "Facial Expressions: Babies to Teens :  A Visual Reference for Artists, which is printed in color.

Anyhow this is what I do:

*When I get to work, once I get situated, I grab my paper, orange col-erase pencil, and AD Chartpak marker. Then I randomly open the book to a page and the first photo my eyes lay on (be honest with yourself!) I make myself draw that. No matter how challenging it seems!!

*I set my stopwatch on my phone (or you can use your watch or another method, as long as you're timing yourself.) I start with a reallllllly fast gesture sketch of the shapes that make up the face. THE SHAPES ARE IMPORTANT!!! Everything has a shape, or many. And I do mean everything! Cups, flowers, your phone, your BBQ, food, your car, etc. Sometimes, when a persons face is frustrating me, and I can't "grasp" the overall shape. I "blur" my eyes. It's the same way you'd cross your eyes, lol, only it's not "all the way crossing". You just "out-focus" your eyes, if that makes sense. You know how sometimes you squint to read a sign or something far away? Do that, until what you're looking at becomes a little blurry. Once you've blurred your eyes, you can see more of the overall shapes, and the details aren't clouding your judgement/vision. Just don't go TOO crosseyed when doing this. Either you'll make a kid cry (or even better, they'll laugh) , or make people think you're wierd. lol...And besides, my mom always told me if I kept my eyes like that too long, they'd stay that way. Hardy har har...lol.


*Gesture sketch is REALLLY fast - basic shapes and direction of features (i.e. drooping eyes)
Gestering faces for caricature should only take a few seconds, but no more than 30 seconds, otherwise you're cutting into your detail time with the marker, and your coloring time.

*Do all your detail with the marker. You won't get better at anything you do, if you don't take that first step and challenge yourself. It can be kinda scary at first, you'll think "I can't do that ", but eventually you'll get it as long as you step out , and stick with it!!!!

And remember, you don't trace your lines on your gesture. They are only there as a guide. So if you realize the nose needs to be wider and the eyes droopier, then do it. The more you do practices like this , the easier and faster your gesture sketches will become, and the more detail and freeform exaggeration you'll be able to do with the marker, just on a whim :)

*Quickly right your time in the corner for your gesture sketch with the pencil, then once you're finished with the whole drawing, stop your watch/phone watch , and write down the time, date, your signature, and the page/picture/row number.

KEEP THESE PRACTICE DRAWINGS!! You should keep these drawings for a while. Eventually the stack will start to build. Go through your old drawings. It will help you down the road on those days when you're uninspired, or lacking motivation. Also, it will inspire you to draw them again! "Oh wow, I drew that 4 months ago? Man, I see what I did wrong. I can do that much faster and better now! " There is ALWAYS room for growth.

A while back I went through my "growing-pile-of-caricatures-over-the-last-4 years" and organized everything into portfolios, so they are easier to look back at. And I have a couple specifically for my Facial Expressions Practice.

Here are a few close ups. Enjoy!

As you can see in the two above, there are big differences in the drawings.
All of these are drawn on different dates in 2010 and 2011.
The one on the left is the first one I did, and the lines are pretty rough.
The one on the right is the second, and is OBVIOUSLY better. Better lines and quality,
and actually took less time than

Hope this post will help you in your daily drawing practice!

And dont forget: ALWAYS HAVE FUN WITH IT!
NEVER take it too seriously!!!!!

*Peace Love and Paintbrushes <3