About Drawing Faces

A graphite pencil drawing of one of my sons, from many years ago. I tend to draw mostly woman’s faces, and mother and baby images.

*To enlarge all of the images below, please tap on one of them.

As a child I frequently drew faces, mostly with pencil; mostly female. I don’t think there’s any deep psychological reason for it, though sometimes there are physical similarities of me in them, and sometimes a strong mood or emotion may be attached. Really – I just love drawing faces.

Here’s a quick sketch I did the other day when I had a sinus headache..and I think it shows!

A woman's face
I used pencil and watercolour in the Bamboo Paper” app.

In my teens I favoured drawing faces from magazines. I’ve also drawn portraits for people, usually from a photo, using a fine graphite pencil technique. They tend to be very realistic in style. I like the look of this type of drawing but don’t want to do it all the time – quite time consuming – can get a little boring!

Occasionally, in the past I have sold 20min pencil portraits at markets. People either sat for me, or gave me a photo. Usually they turned out well. I like the challenge of trying to get a likeness in that short time! With this quick type of drawing I tend to use lots of  loose lines – quite like that effect.

Below is a drawing using fine pencil techniques; it’s of one of my boys – I did it many years ago now. I scanned this into my iPad using the “Scanner Pro” app.  Scanned it at night and found the artificial light gave it a sepia tone – which actually doesn’t look too bad…

After I had enlarged it in my “Pages” app, I emailed it to a local office/print place to be laser printed. It didn’t print with the sepia tone, it shows on the screen, but it did pick up the grainy look of the paper, which was a lovely effect. *These days I do most of my own printing. Anyway, up it went in my kitchen; tacked up there with the rest.

It’s a very good sign that I’m pleased with it, and as I talk about in my “About” page, my kitchen is also a gallery for my pictures. Hmm, looks like this kitchen cabinet needs sorting out!

Photo of my art
The two drawings on the right I did on my iPad, had them laser printed and the one on the bottom on the right; I matt laminated. The horse was a pencil drawing that I scanned in, with a little more pencil added to it in “Art Set Pro”; then laser printed it.

Drawing from observation is a often a key element in drawing, certainly in learning to draw. However, many of the faces I draw are taken straight from my imagination; I think poetic licence and experience prevail. Most of the time, I’m happy how they turn out.

There’s a book by Betty Edwards “Drawing on the right – side of the Brain”...Lots of valuable information about drawing, and offers the good reasons why drawing from observation is so important, and how drawing is really a very learnable skill and much, much more… At her website you can see before and after instruction self-portraits, drawn within a five day period – very inspirational.

Why not grab a pencil and paper or an iPad pencil, and do some sketching of a face; perhaps have a look at: a photo, a magazine, in the mirror, or just fly with your imagination….and have fun!

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