This isn't working but, I can't figure out why

Hi Everyone! Can someone help me see what is not working with my drawing? It looks so strange to me!   😂🙄


  • Allie

    Looking good so far.

    Needs more hair mass at the back of the head to bring the head to proportion.

    Darken the background to make the figure pop. Lighter on left, darker tone behind the figure.

    I think the drawing would benefit from some smoothing and blending, but that is a matter of style preference. Nonetheless, the face needs to be the lightest lights. The photo shows a strong flow of light from left to right. 

    Attend to direction of the long axis of the ear.

  • This might help. The purple lines make up the outline of the original photo. The green lines make up the outline of your sketch. You can see the head is too small on the right hand side as well as a few other things:

  • Hey Allie!

    The values are not there yet.
    Do this,
    Squint and look only for dark and light values.  For the highlights, you should be able to see straight away that the face and the left side of the jacket need more highlights.
    There's also some
    highlights missing on the ear.
    Now for the darks squint again and you will be able to see that your background needs to be darker and the neck as well.  You'll also notice that you have a bigger darker mass at the back of the hair compared to your drawing. 
    When you're done with lights and darks go ahead and deal with the midtones. You should start with the dark values first,  because its easier to erase your dark to create your midtones. Try and deal with your main values first and then with small value shifts.

    Also keep asking your self,  is this what u really see? Sometimes I get tired and I tell my self, its close enough. But the next day I look at the same drawing /painting and I can see things that need to be corrected.
    Hope it helps Allie!
    All the best, happy drawing!
  • @Allie
    This is a fairly simple drawing issue.
    Finding scale and proportion are what happens at the drawing stage of painting. There are ways of finding proportion. Mark's video on the proportional dividers is probably the best. 
    Mark's video.

    Gesture, scale and proportion should be established be for the drawing is brought to finish. The best traditional book I've used lately on figure work. $13.95 on Amazon for Kindle edition.

    I have made a set using CAD and 3d printing. They will be available for free under creative common license on Thingiverse very soon. They have specific proportions baked in.

  • edited May 2021
    In respect of values, @Marinos_88 is right on the money here. "Squint and look only for dark and light values." Go for the most visually important masses first and perhaps position a couple of the brightest highlights as landmarks. Leave detail within the large masses until later.

    Start by marking in some key points with your proportional dividers then squint and go for most important light and dark masses. Then do detail if you think the work needs it. Don't worry about drawing lots of lines. Get those masses in and you won't need lines. Have a look at what @hiragaruben does with charcoal and you'll see what I mean. Here, for example: Charcoal Drawings ★☆★☆★ comp: (April 2021) — Draw Mix Paint Forum .

    Hope you find this helpful.  :)
  • @dencal thank you for the help! I can totally see what you mean about the back of the head. I appreciate the feedback 😊👍
  • @Richard_P that is so cool! How did you do that? A very helpful trick indeed! Thank you for the input! I appreciate it 🙏
  • @Marinos_88 thank you! I have a consistent issue with getting my darks dark enough!! I get a little timid about it for some reason 🤔 Ugh! I will keep working on it. I really appreciate all the helpful feedback! 🙏😊
  • @KingstonFineArt thank you for the info! I have been working consistently on measurement for quite some time now. It is a simple issue but, not necessarily easy! I have been using Yong Chen's measurent approach which I find to be very good. Didn't get it right this time! I'll definitely check out that book! Thanks again! 😊👍
  • @tassieguy thank you for the helpful advice! I'll definitely check out the drawings! This was a tricky one for me somehow! I get timid about filling in the darks when drawing....will keep working on it!! 
  • Thank you so very much everyone for all the helpful feedback and tips!! Here is where I'm at with it currently. Going to step away for a bit so I can "see" it a little more clearly!
  • @Allie
    Mark's technique of finding proportion and angle is pretty flawless.
  • @KingstonFineArt thanks! I'll def take a closer look!
  • Good advice being given. It's all in the values and measurements. I don't worry much about likeness if it's not a commissioned portrait. If the thing works as a whole it's good enough. 
  • Thanks @Leo2015! I like that approach 👍
  • I suggest to make the contrast between the dark outline of the right side of the face and chin softer into the face.  (To make the blend from shadow to light smoother here, and this will keep it more feminine.)  Hope that helps.  Keep up the good work.
  • My only suggestion would be to look at the neck, under the chin, jaw area.   In the photo this is in shadow.   You have a pronounced highlight on the throat, which is barely there in the photo.   It then has an odd look where it meets the more vertical  sternocleidomastoideus  (which you have also highlighted where it is in more shadow in the photo).  Perhaps darkening these would soften them and make them less pronounced as well as softening the tension?  I suppose, it is all about the values, or so we are told!
  • FWIW…I thought the photo showed more plane and less curve in the forehead but @dencal advice is always right 
  • @allforChrist , @BOB73 and @toujours thanks so much for the feedback! I really appreciate the help!! 💛
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