Thursday, October 8, 2015

Drawing Portraits

The past two months everything seemed to take priority over my art work and after what seemed like an eternity, I am finally back in the studio again.  Recently I had the opportunity to take a portrait drawing class taught by Molly Simms.  Molly is a a very talented and well respected portrait artist and a great teacher.  In an effort to learn to draw and paint portraits I bought some books on the subject- Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces by Jane Davenport, Draw Faces In 15 Minutes by Jane Spicer and my favorite Mixed Media Portraits Techniques and Drawing With Pam Carriker by Pam Carriker. While all three books have a lot of useful information they are not a substitute for taking a class.  Pam Carriker's book was the most thorough. She explains portrait drawing using the face mapping technique and breaks it down step by step.  Molly Simms also used the face mapping technique.  Mixed Media Portraits was a good resource to supplement the information presented in class.

In the first class the instructor demonstrated face mapping and then put several pictures on the table and told us to choose one.  I wanted to try a three quarter head view rather than a front view. To draw a three quarter view, I started with a circle in the center of the paper and then drew an oval on the left side of the circle before starting to map out the facial features.

Portrait using face mapping.

The second class was devoted to drawing a portrait from a photograph.  I chose my Son-In Law, Brandon as my subject.  Brandon's classic features would be easier to draw and his glasses and smile with teeth showing would present a challenge.  Unlike some of the other members in the class, I had never attempted a portrait before.  The man sitting in the seat next to me was an accomplished artist and his work was beautiful.  As I struggled with the initial stages of face mapping for the exact placement and proportion of the facial features, I remembered the quote from my Yoga Teacher.  At the beginning of each class she would say " Remember no judgements, no comparisons, focus on your ability." 

This is the finished portrait.  I left the open sketch book on the kitchen table, hoping for feedback.  My husband and Brittany both told me that it looks like Brandon. I mustered up my courage and e-mailed the picture to Brandon.  I was relieved when he sent a message back saying that he liked it and it looks like him.