Some fun with ink!

I got a bit fed up with studying the head and face.  So, while working on this portrait and head structure stuff I also took some breaks and played around with ink.

 

 

Generally I find looking at people’s eyes difficult which made the head structure stuff quite demanding.  It’s probably because of my autism but what I loose in some areas of art I gain in others so I don’t mind. At least I understand what is difficult and why.

As a result I often try to avoid portraits and faces. I can do them from photographs, they just wear me out really quickly.  Here’s a link to a full on front facing portrait I managed recently where I just screwed up my courage and went for it.  (Mud Man Link).  In paintings generally, when I can, I often hide the eyes and if I can’t do that I often have my subjects with their eyes closed or at least not looking at the viewer. e.g.

“Looking away”

 

“Eyes Closed”

 

“Eyes Hidden”

 

Faces in real life are a different matter all together.  When I sketched some friends last week I found myself avoiding drawing their faces until the end and then putting in simplified features so that I didn’t have to look at their faces for more than a glance.  It was so much harder than looking at a photograph that it really shook me.  I guess a photograph is really just tone and colour in certain patterns whereas people sitting there are real, whole and alive.

So with the inks I just had some fun…

 

 

 

I did some doodling…

 

And then a bit more doodling while thinking about this really enormous prime number (2^74 201 281 -1) which was discovered on 4th January 2018!

 

Finally I drew a tiny little woodlouse from reference. It was bliss.

 

Head Shape and Proportions #3 Muscle Structure

This week I concentrated on the muscle structures in the head and neck.  Again I did some careful pencil drawings.

Here’s the side view…

 

And here’s the front view…

I found this exercise revealed much more of the final head shape than the bone structure exercise did.  I guess that makes sense since the muscles attach to the bones and build on the bone shape.  They were very relaxing drawings to make.

Head Shape and Proportions #1 Loomis

 

Having worked on a gouache portrait last week I decided to really look into how the human head is shaped.  I tend to learn really well from reading books and then trying out what the book suggests.  I looked at all the anatomy books I had but none of them gave me a quick and dirty basic shape.  So I ordered a book on facial proportions by a guy called Andrew Loomis.

This is the book I ordered…

Andrew Loomis Book from Amazon

 

But I couldn’t wait for it’s arrival so I looked up some of the Loomis Basics online and began to preview what I might learn independently.  (This often helps me make sense of the real thing when I get the book.  I used to do this at university too – pre-read for certain lectures so that I really got a good understanding when I was in them.)

Here’s what I learned without the book…

 

 

This is the basic starting Loomis construction.

Next you can use this shape to place major features in portrait…

 

 

…and profile views…

 

 

(With both of these last two diagrams I drew the head before learning about the proportions so the numbers and fractions are right but the drawing is not quite accurate.  I treated these pictures as rought notes.)

Next I learned to create a “planar head” which is a basic head shape made up of flat surfaces, like a polygon map for a computer game.

Here’s my first try at construction…

 

 

And here are my notes on how to make this construction…

 

 

Finally I drew some simple 3D planar heads…

 

 

I learned loads from this exercise.  In fact, since I learned this stuff I’ve found myself looking really hard at people’s faces in real life and on the TV, trying to find these planes or to see what different planes some faces have.  It’s been a really interesting exercise.    🙂

Mud Man in Gouache – Pushing the Envelope

Following what I learned from the BB8 painting when I ran it through some photoshop filters, I decided to “push the envelope” with this next portrait. It is inspired by one of Kevin Millet‘s brilliant photographs of the model Matt Blouin in his series called “L’Homme D’Argent”. It was a beautifully lit photograph of Matt with paint or mud or some other dark material all over his face and upper shoulders. It had this contrast in the picture between a wild man and a bookish man. Th model’s glasses make him studeous but the mud pushes that image right into wildman territory. It’s a great photo.

So I began with a sketch…

I tried really hard not to worry about the details too much as I wanted the final effect as a whole to work rather than each pencil line.

Then I set out some colours on my palette…

Finally I began to paint – really freely without expecting too much…

At first it looked pretty far from what I wanted but as my mind switched off and my quiet inside self took over it began to come together. Here’s the final painting…

I am pleased with this because it has in it, for me, the free feeling I was reaching for.

I used my canon Powershot camera to photograph the painting as I worked on it but, although it was fine for the browns and creams of the early stages it would not pick up the purple background – at all. I don’t know if it’s failing or broken but everything came out blue and not even french ultramarine but more cerulean blue. So I had to scan the final painting to get anything like my original colours.

PS: If you want to see Kevin’s original photography you can look it up with the search terms “Kevin Millet” and “L’Homme D’Argent”. I’m no longer linking to other websites as there is a possibility of a new European law which will not allow someone to freely link to another artist’s work without legal issues. I would encourage you to have a look though as his photographs are amazing.