Please allow me to introduce myself…
I am a happily mature resident of Frankston. My living room is also my art studio, so when friends call in, they’re often confronted by the latest project. Most recently I designed three life-size murder scenes for The Frankston Theatre Group’s next production, Bloody Murder (a comedy, by the way). Imagine visiting your neighbour and walking into one of those scenes!
Why do I draw? You may as well ask Why do I breathe? Over the years I always found opportunities to create images. Even as a Key Punch Operator at the Commonwealth Sub-Treasury, I joined the holes cut out of the reject cards, as one would join the dots!
At one stage I painted the faces of famous musicians on smooth river rocks and called them Rock Legends! Always fascinated by fleeting and emotional expressions, portraits have emerged as my main subject preference.
And now I have the opportunity to share my drawing secrets with you, readers, and devotees of the Jimmy Hornet Press. I hope you like my presentations!
We see them every day; real, live, three-dimensional, or two-dimensional on TV, or starring in movies, or beaming out from our magazines… Faces enable us to recognise others and to identify the many emotions conveyed by the 43 muscles that exist on the front of our skull. (Not to mention just a few other essentials, such as being able to see, hear, smell, taste, breathe, speak, sing and eat…)
The human face is a fascinating object for budding, and seasoned, artists to study, offering great opportunities to learn how to draw basic shapes, light and shade, texture, and to observe proportion and composition, which are all you need to draw just about anything!
In this new series of articles about making faces, my goal is to show you how I approach the challenges of capturing the likeness of my subjects, from photographs and from life.
We’ll begin with learning how various basic shapes and textures combine on a simple grid, then use this knowledge to create a realistic portrait, then later, we’ll distort certain facial elements to create hilarious caricatures!
After each article I highly recommend practicing, and practicing some more, to enable you to build a memory bank of effective and successful techniques, and to experiment! And to have fun… make mistakes… I often think of drawing as re-drawing!
You will need…
• A rigid board, or tabletop
• Drawing paper, white A3 or larger to begin, preferably unlined • Black lead pencils, preferably 4B to 8B
• Steer clear of HB or HH pencils as they are too hard and horrible! (Bs are Better, I think, as you can make a blacker black in shading)
• A kneadable eraser, because it won’t scratch the surface of the paper or leave little bits of itself to have to clean away, and you can mould it to a point for dabbing unwanted lines or shading off, and it’s fun to play with while you’re deliberating your next line, or area to be shaded • A Stanley knife, or blade, for sharpening the soft lead B pencils. Don’t use the little plastic-block sharpeners because the soft lead will be twisted and will break… very annoying!
You will need a slice of time to yourself, maybe some fine music to calm your mind, enabling concentration and letting the creative juices flow!
When you arrive in this creative zone, adjusting, observing, and judging your work, you will be exercising neurons in your brain, and that’s a very healthy thing to do
So, until next time, begin practicing drawing vertical ovals… that’s your homework.