Rediscovering Portrait Sketching and Adding Lots of Colour

In my previous post I wrote about urban sketching and how it had come my main art focus (urban sketching post) but without knowing it, this came at the expense of portrait sketching. However as my urban sketching group moved mostly online a splinter group formed focusing on portraits, sometimes live portrait models would sit on a zoom call with us and sometimes from photos, sometimes for 5 minutes a portrait sometimes up to 20minutes. In my own time I tend to use Pintrest for reference photos (portrait references on Pintrest) and love throwing vibrant colours down sometimes more successfully than others.

The group sketching reminded me how as a teen portrait sketching was my main go-to. It was easy to see if you’d “got it right” by whether the portrait was recognisable as the individual (often celebrity). Back then I tended to draw in pencil or charcoal almost never with a coloured medium. The style and technique were never important to me, only ever the likeness.

Here are a few of my favourite portraits from pre 2010

Looking back I’m surprised to find how much my portraits have changed, and in my opinion improved. Although the shapes and colours are vastly different in portraits and urban sketches, the skills used are very similar. The need for observation, perspective and contrast are equally important in both subjects consequently practicing these for any sketch will improve them for all. I think the most notable change is how much quicker and looser my sketches are. Being far more relaxed and confident in my sketching the final products often end up looking fresher and less over worked.

Here are a few more recent sketches using similar supplies.

I’ve also gained the confidence required to incorporate colour. My first memorable attempt was using a handful of cheap alcohol markers (chisel tip no brush tip) and I still enjoy using them.

More recently I’ve experimented with every type of coloured supply I could find:

Gouache

Watercolour

Children’s posterpaint

Felt tip pens

Digital

Markers with felt tip pens (My current favourite)

Other line drawings and 3 tone sketches

I’m glad I’ve rediscovered portrait sketching and with resources such as Pintrest to provide references the possibilities are endless. Here’s a link to a collection of portrait references I use on Pintrest.

Daily doodles – the best of the rest

Way, way back, at the end of 2015 I started a daily doodle challenge. I did complete the challenge however never did get around to posting the doodles for the second half of the year. So here is a best of the rest from that challenge. During this time I discovered Posca pens and thoroughly enjoyed developing a new style which has become integral to a lot of what I do currently (more on this coming soon).

A Long Overdue Daily Doodle 23 day update (June 2016)

It has been ages since I uploaded me daily doodles. Rest assured I have been doodling daily, it just seemed such a hassle to scan them all in, but finally I have managed it, at least for June. I’m still enjoying the use of my tanned scrapbook, and the new Posca pens. In fact I treated myself to set so I now have more than just black and white.

Enjoy this set of doodles whilst you can, because July brings with it  bit of an uninspired spell. But before we get there, appreciate the bright, vivid colours of this lot, because I have. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but it would have to be either the pig, the chicken or the jaguar.

Oil Pastels & Posca Pens, A Daily Doodle Update- 19 Day Update (May – June 2016)

19 more daily doodles lie ahead. A great highlight of this bunch is some new art materials. I got my hands on a 36 pack of Faber-Castel oil pastels second hand (hardly used) for 3 Euro! I used to love working in oil pastels, they give such bold colours, and there is a childish, hands-on feel to them that makes me smile; they’re kind of like a more sophisticated version of wax crayons.

I also splashed on on 2 Posca paint pens. I’d heard such great things about their versatility and thickness of pigment I thought I’d give them a go. I bought a white one about 2 mm thick and a black about 1 mm thick. The black is great, though my scratchy toned scrap book I’ve been using is a bit hard on the nib, but the white is a little disappointing. The pigment is a bit weak and Doesn’t really paint over dark colours as well as I’d hoped. One of my greatest missions in life is to find the perfect white pen/pencil for art highlights, as yet I haven’t found it.

I’m trying to cut down on animations based doodles, but there’s still a few; they’re a comfortable fall back when I don’t know what to do. They’re also relatively easy, look clean and tidy with little effort and I am inherently lazy; they are the easy option. There’s a couple more architectural type doodles,  these are a newly discovered favorite of mine. I have only really started to draw buildings this year so I have the daily doodle challenge to thank for this discovery.

So without further ado, here are 19 doodles, judge for yourself whether the new art supplies were worth my excitement.

The 52 Week Illustration Challenge – April and May 2016

Here are 2 months of illustration challenge entries. They are still losing out to my daily doodles for time and effort but some of them turn out well. In fact once more I have been one of the picks of the week! All but one of the entries over the last 2 months I have drawn from imagination, which I consider to be progress. Only the magpie was based on a photo, and even that got suitably altered.

The prompts were as follows: week 14 – camping, week 15- ocean, week 16- mirror, week 17 – collector, week 18- grandmother, week 19 – adventure, week 20 – still life and week 21 – ink.

Week 21 – ink is the week for which my image was selected as a pick of the week. You can check out the 52 week illustration challenge blog here to see the other chosen images for that week and all the other weeks.

Daily Doodle – 19 Day Update (May 2016)

A bit of a mixed bag the last few weeks. There’s been a few practice days and a few sketches that I spent a long time on. I’m still drawing a lot of movie and T.V. based pictures, but I’ve branched out and started trying to use toned paper; it’s amazing, why didn’t I use it before! You may have to take my word for it though as it doesn’t photograph very well.

I have created my very first sketchbook tour video on youtube, so if you want to hear what i have to say about my first sketchbook of daily doodles then click sketchbook tour video.

I have also done my first time-lapse video of a full sketch, in this case it is the peregrine falcon from 07/05/16. You can find this at Falcon time-lapse video.

Check out the videos, like, comment and share if you feel so inclined.

 

Daily Doodle – 21 Day Update (most of April 2016)

I have spent the last several weeks in Spain and consequently I have been working with very limited supplies. I’ve particularly been focusing on line work, and cross hatching which I think suited the available materials better and I think I’m getting the hang of it. You may notice that there are quite a few uninspired pictures in this collection, I just haven’t been feeling it, never mind. There are a few I like, generally those based on animations, but also my attempt at Bellatrix Lestrange.

Daily Doodle – 14 day update (March/April)

I am still out in Spain with limited art supplies; it’s a hard life. Despite this I really like almost all these drawings. I think the word doodle might be a bit misleading or insulting as some these had quite a bit of time and focus spent on them so don’t imagine I can doodle these in 10 minutes flat.

I’ve had a bit more of a focus on architectural drawings, and particularly focusing on keeping things clean and neat, which is not my usual style. There’s also a few drawings based on animated movies which are always nice and easy to draw. My drawing materials this week were mostly my standard gel pens, felt tip pens and pencils probably costing in all about £4. but for the fist time in a long time I used some soft pastel pencils on a picture. I love soft pastels, they’re very forgiving and malleable, this particular set I’d had for many years and just forgotten I had them. I tried to look this set up but it seems they don’t exist any more, anyhow, I wouldn’t have recommended them, they’re a bit scratchy, but that could just be their age.

Without further ado, here are the last 15 days of doodles:

 

The 52 Week Illustration Challenge – March 2016

This month I managed my greatest illustration achievement to date, and that was to be one of the editors picks for the week for the Illustration challenge. I was truly chuffed, you can see my picture amongst the other picks for week 9 – watercolour of the illustration challenge blog.

Below are my 5 entries for March, as usual with me some of these I think are good, others were rushed token efforts. But I am still on time and have not missed a week and I am duly impressed with myself. The prompts were as follows: Week 9 – Watercolour, Week 10 – Animal, Week 11 – Mother, Week 12 – Non-dominant hand and Week 13 – Movement. I am without a scanner at present to the images aren’t the best.

Daily Doodle – 9 day update (middle of March)

I am away on holiday for the time being and have taken only a pen and pencil with me as well as a new sketchbook; I do have a few supplies out here but they are quite basic. You will notice in this collection some bold clumsy colours from children’s felt tip pens, some pale depthless colours from children’s crayons (like trying to colour with plastic) and my personal favourite, gel pen drawings. I love drawing, sketching and colouring with gel pens because it gives such a fluid bold line and colour. In terms of inspiration I’m feeling quite drawn to architecture at the moment and some of the Spanish streets here about provide some great scenes. I actually tried drawing from life for the first time in a long time and rediscovered why I don’t do it often; people do insist on moving.

I am without scanner for the time being and relying on my old faithful digital camera so the photos aren’t at their best. Anyway, overall I like these. As always comments, suggestion and ideas are always welcome, I struggle for ideas often.