I decided to create a journal entry for Random Tips, which will get re-sent as I update this entry in the future.
(9/13/10) TODAY'S TIP:
I try to draw as small as I possibly can. Why? To save time of course, so I can get to the other 50+ I have lined up to draw, ha! The drawing I just started is Reese Witherspoon. I'm drawing it REALLY small, because her EYES are very are large in the reference photo. When I design the SIZE of EACH drawing, I make several determinations about how large to make it. Since I do not frame my work, my object is NOT to make them as large as I can so they look good on my wall. I keep them in display books, which have plastic sleeves to protect them. I am forced to draw some larger than others, and usually larger than I want, because their EYES are too small, so I have to print a larger ref photo. After all, that is where I spend the most time (eyes), because that is where a person looks MOST like that person? Remember this, a drawing that is even 20% larger will take 50% more time to complete! If you have all the time in the world, have at it! If you are like me, and have a short attention span, and you get bored fast, you want to spend the LEAST amount of time possible BUT be able to get the MOST amount of details into your drawing. Each photo I use as a Reference Photo, has to be considered individually, depending on HOW I choose to crop it, or if it's a close-up, which in turn determines the size of the face you can fit into the drawing space on your paper. To do this, I set my printer to Draft Quality, and print 2 or 3 various sizes that are THE SMALLEST possible, but YET allows me to draw the details I like to draw. I then compare the Draft Prints to OLD DRAWINGS in my display books, because I can remember how long they took to draw, and based on those estimates, I choose a final size. Then I re-set the print settings to a higher quality, and print my reference photo on Presentation Paper, so it is as much like a photo as possible. Of course I print Black and White, so I can more easily "see" the tonal values. (I first convert all of my reference photos to B&W using software). I hope this tip allows you to consider drawing smaller, so you can complete more portraits, or finish in less time?
TO SEE THE STEP SCANS SO FAR OF REESE, go here:tinyurl.com/RWsteps
(8/24/10) TODAY'S TIP:
I always start with an outline! I use different methods for measuring the distance between facial features. I NEVER just guess the distance! It became painfully obvious to me early on in portrait drawing, that there are precise measurements involved? It's a critical part of making a person look like the person that they are! For example, you can guess the distance between the eyes, so can I. But it will save you lots of time, frustration and improve accuracy and proportions if you measure the distance.
You can use rulers, markings on scrap paper, grid paper, etc. There are a TON of methods out there. The outline is not a fast sketch either. If you don't get it right, the whole drawing is off!