Thursday, January 5, 2017

Drawing Julia Last Tuesday Night

I'll be honest. Life has been pretty tough lately. The holidays are always busier than I care for, although they were good. I was especially despondent over the losses of George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds at the end of the year. What a year. It left me in a funk and I ended up skipping out on Drawing Night two weeks ago. On top of the holiday break - no classes to teach two weeks in a row - I hadn't picked up a pencil or charcoal in almost three weeks.

I'm finally starting to emerge from that funk.
Nothing like a new year to put things back in perspective. Being a SAHM who homeschools, I barely remember what day of the week it is, so I was lucky to remember Tuesday while it was still Tuesday. Even once I was in my car, driving on autopilot to our usual location, I realized halfway there that Norfolk State's campus was closed during the holiday break and we were temporarily drawing at the Origin Gallery inside MacArthur Mall. I made it right on time but as usual, on a long pose night, if you're "on time" you're late for staking out a good position. We only get one long pose a month so it tends to be the most crowded night of the month. I was still able to find a decent spot sitting on the floor, close to the model. I had an excellent view of her in profile which is what I'm kind of obsessed with at the moment so it worked out well.

I'm using my Tombow pencils and a white Prismacolor pencil on the backside of Canson Mi Teintes pastel paper. I've been pretty happy with this paper - the texture is much smoother on the back than the front. However, I'm on the lookout now for a pad that's all gray. I don't care much for half the colors that come in the Canson pad.

I didn't do a full block in. Using a B pencil, I started with quick measurements from the top of her head to her eyes, to her nose, to her chin, making small marks on my paper to establish how much room her head would take up, and how she'd be positioned. Although a lot of people work on the full body, I've been concentrating on just heads and faces. I knew I wanted her head and just the top of her shoulder. I also wanted to capture the texture of her hair.

Julia was a wonderful model - strong features that are fun and challenging to draw, and she was able to hold her pose for a full hour before needing her first break.

This is how far I'd gotten at the end of an hour. I'm happy with the overall progress, but I know there's a lot of tweaking that still needs to happen. I'm not happy that I've aged her but that's something I can fix.

Progress after 2 hours. I feel like I've accidentally made her look like Sophia Loren, lol.

This is how far I got by the end of our 3 hours. Of course after finishing it I was thrilled. The next morning I had fresh eyes and realized that there wasn't enough hair and shoulders, making her neck look way too thin.

This is the final. For now - I may tweak it again. (It's always a good idea to live with your art for a week or more and look at it again to see if anything is bothering you.) I thickened the hair behind her head, broadened her shoulder and added a hint of the rest of her back. I still think I aged her a bit too much, but overall I'm happy with the finished product. 

For anyone living in the Hampton Roads area, I can't recommend this drawing group enough. There's no comparison to drawing live models. Keep in mind that this group is strictly for ages 18+, but it's extremely affordable, and a great group of artists ranging from beginners to professors and professionals.