Figure Study – Brittany

Here we have a couple of new figure studies… these were each 40 minute drawings.  The first I am pretty happy with, because I drew it in a completely new manner for me (well actually the same way I do black and white digital portraits).  I first used a light grey colored pencil to sort of make base shadow areas, like big blobs where the eye sockets, shadow under the nose, mouth, and hair are.  Then a second pass with a darker grey to sketch out a little more detail… enough to locate specific features like eyes, eyebrows, nostrils, lips, ears and such are.  Then a final pass with a black colored pencil to crisp the edges and add final detailing.  In the end, the greys are practically invisible.  What is nice about this method, compared to sketching with lead pencils, is that colored pencils are softer and sort of melt away… you do not see the individual strokes and lines.  Also, more importantly, is that you do not get distracted or misled by those pencil marks when you are trying to put in your final dark lines.  The layered approach seems more like building up color or detail as you would an oil painting.  I’m glad to see it worked so easily, and will have to try this method again.

The second drawing is a full body nude, which I scanned, and on a whim decided to add background colors and textures.  It turned out to be a bit of a pain because scans of sketchy drawings have a lot of “dust” and edges are not always crisp or continuous, which makes it much more difficult to use the “lasso” tool to select everything but your main figure so you can color it easily.  I wound up superimposing the drawing over layers of grey and then going in and erasing the greys within the lines, which is time consuming.  In the end, it is worth it as the sketch has a more “finished” look to it, since in my opinion much of the character of a pencil drawing is lost when viewed on a computer.  I suppose the shades of grey do not transfer completely, and you also lose the way light interacts with the paper’s texture and also the pencil’s lead (making it dull or shiny metallic depending on the angle light strikes it).

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