Long Term Goals and Sketch Impulsivity
At the end of my last post, I mentioned off-hand a few ideas for what I might draw next. I talked about finishing a Dallas Cowboys drawing of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot (which I lost interest in when they were bounced from the playoffs by the Rams). I also tossed around the idea of another Dallas Mavericks sketch, since they just had a huge franchise-altering trade. Or some focused practice on scenery or mouths/teeth (both areas of weakness for me). Over the weekend, another idea hit me from out of nowhere – I should work on something featuring my sister and brother-in-law!
Interestingly enough, my artwork’s immediate direction is often impulsively determined like that. I get the urge to draw, something suddenly pops into my head, and I dive in. It’s very spur of the moment, which is strange…otherwise, my personality really doesn’t reflect that sort of spontaneity. I often neglect planned or topical/relevant pieces…the Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliot sketch is a great example. If that random internal spark to work on a sketch doesn’t happen, it’s probably going to collect dust. I do some vague long term planning, but it’s usually just broad aspirational topics (like “I should draw my mom again“).
I’ve actually wanted to work on a portrait of my sister and her husband for quite some time. I’ve drawn her a couple of times in larger family scenes; once was decent, but another wasn’t very good. And the one time I tried depicting my brother-in-law, it really didn’t look like him. So, it was a long term goal to get a more accurate portrait going featuring the two of them. I’m really not sure what made me suddenly decide to accomplish that goal, because I hadn’t considered it at all lately, but into my brain it popped. Who am I to ignore The Random Spark™ ?
My original thought was to draw something featuring my sister, brother-in-law, plus all of their animals (two cats and a dog). Considering I don’t really have an accurate, satisfactory sketch of the two people, I decided adding critters might be too ambitious this time. I also wanted a closer, zoomed-in view since that is more in my comfort zone, and that’s not really conducive to little animals. I figured if I could successfully capture them in my favorite head-and-shoulders style, then maybe I could try to be more adventurous with the pets another time.
Here’s how the final version turned out:
So, as I said, this was very much a comfort zone piece. Predictably, it turned out right along the same lines as similar drawings. This one has decent fidelity to the real subjects – not perfect, but people who know them should be able to tell it’s them. As I mentioned in the previous post, recent adaptations I’ve made to skin color blending (more pink and/or lighter browns) are working well. Relying less on grays to shade seems to be a good trend, and I’m pleased it came together here too.
There are some things that I wish I could have a do-over on though. Although I got it in the ballpark, something doesn’t seem quite right about the shape of my sister’s face. Especially towards her chin – I probably could have done better there. Also, I really need to try something new for clothing. Shading that light blue shirt with grays doesn’t look natural at all. I think there are lessons I could learn for clothing from my more recent skin pigment blending. Less gray, more matching (but darker) colors. Also, I didn’t quite get either of their sets of teeth right; not a surprise, since that’s an area I need to work on (as I’ve mentioned).
I added some rough generic restaurant background stuff…I considered trying to flesh that out more, but ultimately decided against it. I want to send them this drawing, and I’d hate to mess the entire thing up.
Here’s the usual progression .gif:
Well, that’s it for this one! I imagine I’ll have another relatively soon, because I’ve been drawing quite a bit lately. All of the ideas I mentioned at the top are on the table, and the most recent Amdall Gallery custom portrait giveaway is almost over (five days left I think). So that will be another fun new project.