Freitag, 29. Januar 2016

Drawing Faces, Part Two

Slay me a Dragon

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on her tuffet
Calmly writing away.

Along came a spider - no, a mouse
And sat down beside her,
And she didn't know it.....

Until she finished and got up and saw something on the floor, and was about to pick it up --
Miss Muffet doesn't have very good eyes --
And realized  the ball was furry....

Stefan!!! Come here!
Put a pan over it!

He did.
Then Miss Muffet called Saint George,
"Please, Slay the dragon!"
He gallantly galloped home from the construction site in the City and slew the monster. Miss Muffet is glad she married him.

We have not had a mouse in the house for years, but a couple of days ago the haulers of wood left the side room door open, and Mom neglected to do her nightly rounds of door checks, so in the night in crept the intruder. Too bad for it.

Drawing Faces, Exercise Two

Some people like scribbles, some don't. It feels disorderly to them. They like one line at time. So, to keep trauma to a minimum, this exercise is for them; but everyone should try it - even I did it. It was trauma to me: "Only one line?! That isn't enough. The first line is for warm up. The second is for practice, and the third is maybe where you want it." Well, I did it anyway.

So this time we try doing single-line shapes.

Gather your mark-maker, with no eraser! - so make that drawing implement a black marker that makes lines  that stay down where you put them - and paper, and carbon/graphite/tracing paper, and colored pencils.

Resources: a large face picture from a magazine advertisement, preferably with some shadows.

Process: will be in several steps.
1. On a sheet of paper, draw a closed curve-line shape in each quarter. Then make more around it. Don't fill them in and don't get too detailed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Set these papers aside for a bit.

Closed line shapes
Filling the space (upper left above) with more shapes
Another space (lower right of above ) with shapes

2. Trace the face from your magazine onto your paper, using single black lines around all the features and areas of shadow and highlights. It will look something like a map when you are done. (You may need to do it in pencil first if you are using graphite paper, then trace over with marker.)

3. On your first set of drawings, fill in the bigger shapes with smaller closed-line shapes, at first randomly, then more decoratively. Don't try to make a recognizable picture.

Same shapes (above), with detail added

Details added

Details on lower left form

4. Make copies of your face drawing. Organize four or five colored pencils (not skin tones!) according to value (lightest to darkest).
On the first one,  color each shape according to the approximate value you see in the photo. Don't shade; only flat color.

Flat color  
On the second one, use one color (or your marker) and  make marks like dots, cross hatching, squiggles, and stripes to indicate value. The closer together the marks are the darker will be the value.

Varied marks for value
On the third, fourth and fifth ones have fun and make pretty Zentangle fillings in the spaces to indicate value with more or less lines filling the area.

Resource picture

Drawing with value area marks

Main lines in thick lines

Detail lines in thinner lines
All Tangled

Goal: To make control people happy and annoy scribblers. No, no. For equality and world peace. No, no, no. Actually it is to make you think with your brain. Some people do that; others of us think - when drawing - mostly with our hands. Ultimately, what you want to achieve is a happy balance between brain and hand. Meaning, scribblers should find their lines getting very close together, indicating the brain is ruling the hand, but the hand is still free to play. For single-line people, they will find that their lines are not so tense and rigid, but can be floating and even wobbly without collapsing the universe (i.e. - needing to be erased and done over).

Most experienced drawers of faces will use this technique of outlining areas of lights and darks all the time that they intend to make a shaded drawing, and sometimes even when they don't, just to physically indicate the contours of the planes of the face (which, for a simple drawing, will mostly get erased afterward).

So this is a very necessary skill to learn: first note the shape of a value, then mark your paper. Brain and hand coordination.


  1. That must have been one sick mouse if Stef could catch it in a pan. The only good mouse is a dead mouse, though, so yay for St. George.

    Interesting drawing method in this post - it took me a while to realize where you were going with the examples. I prefer scribbling too - a multitude of lines cover a multitude of sins.

  2. Actually it had probably ingested some poison previously, so it was easy to capture. But I am glad it didn't die in some hidden corner.

    Thanks for the comments - "interesting"... as in, "I can't see a use in that; but actually finding those value shapes is extremely useful. You probably do it without thinking about it.

  3. Oh, this looks fun! And I like the Zentangled one...