January 14, 2010

Drawing comparison: 2002 vs. 2009

December 2002..........................February 2009

I've had this idea for a blog post in my head a long time, and I'm excited to share this with you!

This is C.S. Lewis, my favorite author. You probably know him as the guy who wrote the Narnia series. (My favorite book by him is the Screwtape Letters.) Although there's a huge difference between the two drawings, he's still very recognizable. I used two different reference photos for these drawings, but I was only able to find one online.

When I finished the drawing on the left, back in 2002, I proudly taped it to my bedroom wall, a symbol of my greatness. Now the only thing I think of when I see it is, "lazy!" I thought that drawing clothing was boring, so I just sketched in a few lines for his suit and called it a day. As a result, his head looks like an egg floating in space. His head is encased in an outline and his skin texture is lumpy, which I've noticed are pretty typical traits of beginning portrait artists. In summary, Lewis looks kind of sickly.

By 2009 I had realized that dark shadows and bright highlights make a drawing look three dimensional, and makes eyes look deeper and shinier. Most importantly, I realized that taking the extra time to draw less exciting things (like a neck and shoulders) can go a long way towards making the more exciting things (like a face) look good. I had also started using shaded backgrounds as a way of increasing depth. The drawing has much more life!

Moral of the story: patience. That's the biggest difference between the two drawings.

I look forward to doing another C.S. Lewis drawing in a few years. I wonder what it will look like then?


  1. It's always amazing to see how much an artist can progress in a few short months if not years. I think you'll see another huge change when you draw Mr. Lewis again.

  2. Omg!!! I have always LOVED C.S. Lewis!! This is a wonderful drawing. He is one of my favorites, as well. How cool!

  3. So cool to see the difference a few years makes.. how cool!

  4. My mother is an art teacher - in my former HS - she would really appreciate this post. I actually love them both. I like the simplicity of the first and the richness of the second. The first makes you focus in on the face - the man - not his suit. I think that's ok! My mom always taught to fill the space. to show that things don't just float in nothing. The outline does just that. It works. Very interesting. You'll have to contact me in a few years when the next one is up in the series! (you should just do one every year!). k

  5. Love C.S. Lewis books. I am very captured by your artwork. Thank you for sharing.

  6. It's cool to meet so many Lewis fans! :D

  7. Thankyou so much for posting this! Its very much an inspiration to me. I just started teaching myself portrait drawing. I am not even half as good as your first picture yet.It helps so much to see there can be improvement with enough practice. Great post!


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