Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back to Tanna - at last!

Finally I am able to get back to the Tanna Tutorial! There is something that I need to express right off of the bat today. When working through this tutorial, always reference your original reference photo. Do NOT do exactly what I have done. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that you are creating your portrait of Tanna, not mine. The second reason is that I made a few mistakes in this process and I fix those mistakes later. In later lessons I will show you how I do those repairs. The images in these tutorials are here to explain the process, the execution of that process is entirely up to you. :-D

Since it has been a while since I was able to update the tutorial I am going to cover a lot of ground in this post. I will start with fleshing out the area around the mouth. Then we will add some blocks of shade to the face and finally blend it all together. By that time, your image should start to actually look like a real face.

So, without further ado, let's get started.

Drawing with the Tortillion

If you have been using the tortillion to blend your graphite you should have a pretty good build up of graphite on the end. The image below shows the tortillion that am using and the build up of graphite. This is where one of the secrets of this method comes into play. You can actually use the "dirty" tortillion to draw with. Using the tortillion, start to lay in the areas of darkness in the creases of the cheeks. Keep your reference photo handy and refer to it constantly. Looking quickly back and forth between the reference and your drawing will help you see where you need to spend more time to produce darker areas.

Note: If you do not have enough graphite on the tortillion, you can lay down a bit more with the pencil. However, it is important that you do not press down with the pencil. Let the weight of the pencil to all of the work and lay the graphite in small circles or short strokes.

Once you get the area around the mouth worked out, move to the nostrils. Using a pencil, put in the dark areas inside the nose. Then use the tortillion to bring out the shadows that give form to the nose.

Finally, using the tortillion, create the line that separates the lighted side of the face from the shadowed side.

Remember that in all of this, you are not drawing objects. You are not drawing a nose and cheeks. All you are doing is reproducing the light and shadow areas. Focus on that, and forget that what you are working on is a facial feature.

Blocking the shadows

The next step is to lay down the blocks of shadow that define the rest of the face. Like we did above, do not draw these areas. Instead, just lay the pencil on the paper and let the weight of the pencil do all of the work. If you need more graphite in a given area, do not press harder, simply go over the area until enough graphite has been layered in to work with.

Blending it all together

Now that you have the graphite on the paper, pick up the tortillion again and begin to blend. Work the graphite until you no longer see any of the pencil lines. You want all of the dark to light areas to be a gradual change. All you have to do is keep looking at your original and reproduce the lights and darks exactly as you see them.

Once you have the blending done, you should put in the eyebrows. Do this with a very sharp pencil. Use a light hatching stroke going in the same direction as the eyebrow hair. Remember that hair is not exact. Each strand of hair is its own length and thickness. If you do not have much practice in drawing hair, I recommend that you get a scrap piece of paper and practice until you get the results that you are looking for.

When you are done, you should end up with something like this:


In our next lesson we will focus on the neck and I will show you where I made some of my mistakes and how I fixed them.

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