Portraits 01 - A New Journey

Updated: Apr 21

Wait...portraits? I know this may seem kind of out in left field in relation to the sci-fi fantasy art I've been doing, and every marketing book in the world would probably tell me not to bring these onto the website with my other art, BUT, this blog is meant to be a way for me to share the things I'm learning and exploring with like-minded people, and the portrait art is where a lot of my time and attention is going right now, so... here they are.

These originally began as practice. I have historically been terrible at drawing faces, and I recently reached a point of frustration with it and started researching alternative ways of drawing the head. I came across this awesome video from Robert Marzullo, which very clearly and succinctly describes how to use the Loomis method for drawing heads. I spent an hour afterward practicing in a sketch pad and my face drawing was instantly 10X better.

I don't know the specific name of the method I'd been using before, but it involves drawing an egg on its side for the cranium and then a "mask" for the face and splitting the mask into fourths and going from there. That was the method I learned as a kid and it was reinforced by a book I bought in college on how to draw heads. Turns out, that method does NOT work for me. Kind of at all.

This approach gets me in the ballpark of the subject much faster and allows me to get the various features into their proper places in a reliable fashion, and instead of it feeling like a guessing game, the drawing process on these now feels like an exciting puzzle to solve.

Spurred on by the initial excitement of those early sketches using the Loomis method, I wanted to do some more formal attempts at portraiture. However, I was busy on other art projects and wasn't excited at the prospect of drawing celebrities or stock photos. But then, the inspiration struck in a major way when I discovered a gold mine of portrait reference photos on the Instagram account @earthsworld.

Some combination of the photographer's subjects and how that person edits the pics makes them extremely drawable, and the account owner has also cultivated a friendly artist community around the portraits, which is amazing.

That's all very exciting to me, and so I tried drawing a few images using earthsworld pics as a reference and was happy with the results. The images I've shared here are the first four I tried, and though they're a bit rough, I'm still stoked on them in light of the fact that I've basically never practiced portrait drawing before.

Also, this last one is a self-portrait.

One of the most exciting things to me about doing these is that I now have a legitimate excuse to step up my game on watercolors / mixed media so I can create finished, analog pieces of art from these. I plan to make them as gifts in the future and even open up commissions if there's enough interest.

I also have a new Instagram account for these @penandinkportraits, follow me over there to see work-in-progress pics, timelapse vids, and regular updates on these.

PS: I will still keep progress rolling on my other art, so expect updates on that going forward as well.

New post in two weeks, until then be good to yourself and make art!