Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Shadows - Drawing the Face Around the Eyes

The first thing that I would like to do is to thank everyone that has signed up for my newsletter.  I would also like to thank everyone for their patience.  Life has been really crazy these past three weeks or so but things are starting to settle a little bit and I am finally able to get back to getting these lessons created.

Today we are continuing where we left off in the last lesson "The Wet Look - The First Steps to Drawing Eyes."  If you haven't looked at that lesson yet, I recommend that you do.

One of the things that I have been trying to make clear since I started this blog is the importance of drawing what your are actually seeing instead of drawing what your brain tries to convince you is there.  This is the case in almost everything you draw.  In the last lesson it became very important when trying to recreate the highlights in the eyes.  It is just as important in this lesson and as always we are dealing with lights and shadows, nothing more.

This lesson will begin the process of creating the face that the eyes are set in.  When we are done today, you will have created the basic shadows and shapes that make up the upper portion of the human face.  In the next lesson we will expand on this base and add details such as hair, wrinkles, and freckles.

The Lower Lid

Let's get started with the lower lid.  Pay special attention to areas that are in highlight.  It is very important that you get them correct in order to convey the natural look that you are going for.  What you are trying to do here is to get the graphite laid down on the paper, so you need to make sure you get just the right amount.  Do this by taking note of the difference between the whites of the eyes and the skin of the eyelid.

This is also where you take care of a common mistake that many people make when drawing eyes.  The eyelid is not a paper thin flap of skin that covers the eye.  There is definite thickness. This is where you add thickness to the eyelid itself.   Making sure that you get that thickness will go a long way to creating the feeling of depth in a final portrait.

Once you get the graphite in place it is time to bring out the tortillion and blend the pencil lines to create a smooth layer of graphite.
Basic Skin Tone
Now we need to create a skin tone base that we can work with as we progress through the rest of this piece.  We do this by laying down an "extremely" light layer of graphite.  This may be difficult to see in this image, so let me explain exactly what I did.  I rested the pencil lightly in my hand.  I did not provide any pressure at all on the pencil.  I simply allowed the weight of the pencil to do all of the work.  I then used small circular strokes to allow the graphite to transfer to the paper.  Yeah, I basically just scribbled.  Only I did it without applying pressure.
Note: This will likely take a really long time.  All I can say it patience truly is a virtue.  Don't try to rush this step, allow it to take as much time as it needs to take.
Then, using the tortillion again, I blended the entire skin area so that it has a very light and somewhat even layer of graphite.

Shadow Areas
Now that the basic skin tone is on the paper, it is time to add some of the shadow areas.  Continuously use your photo reference.  Especially when adding in shadows.  You want to make sure you get them in exactly the right locations.  For this step I used the same basic technique I used for laying in the skin tones.  However, I applied a bit of pressure to the pencil to create the dark areas.  But, once again, I basically scribbled. 
While doing this step, go ahead and darken in the areas where the eyebrows are going to go.  We are not interested in drawing the hair at this time, just the darkness.  You will find that this darkness is very important when you get to actually drawing the individual hairs.
Finally we are using the tortillion once again to blend the graphite and smooth the shadow areas that you just created. 
As you can see, we are starting to get something that resembles human features.  In our next lesson we will work on the details that will bring more reality to the drawing.


Unknown said...

Awesome lesson! THanks for can I mark your blog to return?

Gaina said...

I am in the second year of an Art and Design degree, and Life Drawing is one of my big challenges, so I was very glad to find your blog!

I will be trying some of these exercises out as self-imposed 'homework'. Thanks so much for posting these lessons!

Anonymous said...

That is awesome! I am just asking if you are going to have a tutorial on how to draw and do the shadows of the whole face?

Lilly said...

I include step by step instructions for the entire face in my book, The Real World of Pencil Portraits.