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post #1 of Old 07-21-2011, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Progress/Instructional Thread

I decided to share my technique with you. Some of you may find this useful, some may not. Some may be able to offer me some tips. But really its an excuse to get me drawing again. I haven't done a portrait in over a year. My intention here is to go start to finish.

For this first post I am going to show you my technique for laying out a portrait.

The tools that I use are: drawig board, T-square, right angle, compass, and drafting pencil and sharpener.



First I chose a portriat that would be fairly simple in that it's a basic head shot and already in gray scale. If you are starting out in charcoal it is much easier to draw from images that are already in gray scale.



I then chose to crop the image showing only what I am intending to draw and then blew the image up to the actual size that I want the portrait to be in. This is a 1:1 comparison. You will understand what I mean by that a little later.



Next, make sure the t-square is flush against, or square, with the edge of the drawing board and line the image up against the metal edge of the t-square. gently turrning the bottom corners up helps to ensure the paper is flush against the metal edge and doesn't slide under neath.



Then, using a low-tack tape like white artist tape (not masking tape), tape the corners of the image to the drafting board.

Now you are ready to start "gridding" the image.
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post #2 of Old 07-21-2011, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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First to begin gridding the image, you must establish where your vertical center line will be. Simply slide the right angle along the edge of the t-square until it looks right.



I always pick a spot on the image that references to a facial feature. For this image I chose the corner of the mouth and drew my vertical center line off of that.



Now we need to establish our base line. This is always the chin.



Next establish the top line. This is always the top of the head.



Next I draw two more vertical lines. These lines reference the outer most edge of the face or forehead. For this image my left line I reference the hairline, and right references the outter most edge of the jaw line (typically where the jaw line meets the ear.



The face is now "framed".

The last key line that we need to draw is the horizontal center line. This line is alays through the middle of one of the eyes.

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post #3 of Old 07-21-2011, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Now we need to start "boxing" in facial features.

I start with the lips and move my way upard boxing in and referencing every important facial feature including the center of the lips below the nose. You can reference as many areas as you want.



Notice the they eye on the right has two lines really close together. One is the horizontal center line and one is the bottom of the eye. In this image it looks like I drew two lines by accident but it is details like these that help capture a subjects "true" face.

Once complete with this we move on to transferring the "grid" to the actual charcoal paper. NOTE: most charcoal paper has two textures. One side is smoother than the other. My rule of thumb is that when drawing male subjects I always use the roughest side, and use the smooth side for female subjects. It is a very sublte difference in texture on the paper, but it can make a big difference in your portrait. You don't want women looking like they have stubble.

To transfer the grid I first draw a vertical center line and then draw a horizontal center line.



I know it's hard to see. Now I use the compass and reference the lines on the original image and transfer them.









Always mearsure your lines from the base line for horizontal lines and from one of the side lines for vertical lines. But always use the same line as a starting point.

This is a 1:1, becasue I took the exact measurement from the original image and transferred it. If you wanted to double your image size you would simply take the initial measurement from the original image and then place the compass on the drawing and with one tip needle as the starting point. Then "twist" the compass one more time and mark where it lands. You have now exactly doubled the original measurement. Do this with all reference lines and you will have an exact 1:2 scale of the image.

When complete you have the finished grid and are ready to start freehanding the facial features.



This is how I layout my portraits. I know it may be too technical for some. But if you get tired of proportions not exactly turing out right then you may want to give it a shot.

That is all for now. When I return I will have the initial sketch complete and will have started on the charcoal.
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post #4 of Old 07-28-2011, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Ok...I finally got around to finishing the picture. I'm not happy with it. But all-in-all not too bad for not having picked up a pencil in over two years.

I had a hell of a time with this one. There are certain facial features that identify people. For Brando it's his lips and chin, and the lips gave me a fit. I just couldn't get them exactly right.

But you get to a point where you just have to call it quits and move on to another one. So that's what I'm doing. But nevertheless here is the final product. It's not a wall-hanger, but I'll tuck this one away in my portfolio.
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post #5 of Old 07-29-2011, 09:13 AM
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This was nice to follow along to. Your gridding technique is a bit different than mine, so it was interesting to see your process. I think the final result is a great rendition of the photo, good job!

"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere." - Gilbert K. Chesterton
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post #6 of Old 07-29-2011, 10:41 AM
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Facinating instructional thread! Thanks for sharing your process with us. I really like the Brando.
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post #7 of Old 08-03-2011, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I know some don't care for "gridding" but I figured that it may be able to help someone just starting out or trying to learn the craft.

It is really helpful when trying to scale a portrait to a larger size.
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post #8 of Old 08-13-2011, 01:58 PM
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Very interesting techniques Secz!
I have one technique I use somethimes. It is handy when you word from a greyscale print and if you can print it to the scale you want to draw it.
When you have printed it, just rub a charcoal stick all over the backside of your print, then simply hold it over your drawing paper, printside up and just trace over the important lines. the charcoal on the back should leave a nice thin line on your drawingpaper.
This makes all relations perfect (distances between eyes and nose and such) and the thin charcoal lines are easy to erase or smudge.

Just thought I should share something
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post #9 of Old 08-17-2011, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simwa View Post
Very interesting techniques Secz!
I have one technique I use somethimes. It is handy when you word from a greyscale print and if you can print it to the scale you want to draw it.
When you have printed it, just rub a charcoal stick all over the backside of your print, then simply hold it over your drawing paper, printside up and just trace over the important lines. the charcoal on the back should leave a nice thin line on your drawingpaper.
This makes all relations perfect (distances between eyes and nose and such) and the thin charcoal lines are easy to erase or smudge.

Just thought I should share something

I actually have started to do this mainly to save time. The technique here is good to help you practice freehand. But since I have started to do this more frequently and have taken several orders for people, I needed to save time.
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post #10 of Old 10-27-2011, 04:29 AM
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hey Mr Big
man i've tried all those things u told us in this post it was great. man, i haven't draw a simple sketch ever a time in my entire life i tried first time as following your given instructions and i made a beautiful drawing. just because of you.
i.ve used everything your written
drawing board,T-Square,right angle,compass,drafting pencil and sharpner and finally i had it done
so thanks thank you very much
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