August 18, 2009

Party in My Crib portrait, part 3, and How to Draw Fluffy Hair

Ah, I love days off of work, when I sit down to draw and look up to see that several hours have flown by.
Small portraits like this are very painstaking work, because every tiny pencil stroke makes a big difference on how a face looks. It's really important for everything to be placed exactly right. In order to capture my brother's slightly-amused-slightly-confused expression, I scanned the image into Photoshop, then layered it over the original photograph so I could compare the two.
So now you know one of my secrets. Actually, this technique is something I only figured out recently so I've only used it once before, on another small drawing. Give it a try sometime.

I decided that the pencil strokes I had used to sketch in my hair were too dark and sharp. In the original photograph, my hair is very fluffy and light. So I used a kneaded erased and dabbed it over the pencil strokes to lighten them. Then I used a dirty blending stump to make nice soft shadows in the hair. Finally I used a pencil again to define some of the darker shadows.
I got this idea after seeing the way the phenomenal R-Becca drew Taylor Swift's curly hair.

If you haven't already, go listen to Imogen Heap's new album, Ellipse. I listened to it twice while drawing today.


  1. Be sure to get your dimple in! I love the dimple!

  2. It seems like your right eye is too low. Or maybe I just have my head tilted the wrong way. What do you think?

  3. Your drawings are beautiful! I'm sure your told that quite a lot, but I just had to say it. I love to draw, but portraits are my weakest area, looking similar to some of those beginners in the other post (beginners vs. advanced). Love the advice about the shading and using the blending stump, a tool I have, but rarely use. You've made me think about trying portraits again!

  4. Thank you very much! Portraits are a difficult subject, because it's important to get the shapes really accurate, but I also think that portraits are very rewarding. I'm glad that you've been inspired to give it another go!


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