Portrait Practice

Portrait Practice - student project

So, I have been drawing people for as long as I have been drawing, but I noticed my style was starting to plateau a bit, and I clearly wasn't where I WANTED to be in terms of drawing faces. My general style is more cartoony than the final pieces I've posted here, but I am a big believer in understanding how fundamentals work in order to bend them to your own style. 

I watched this class in order to do a piece for a detailed portrait in a sketchbook challenge, I didn't really have time to do much practising of the fundamentals and had to jump straight into it (it was an overnight thing).

Portrait Practice - image 1 - student project
Sketch! Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the basic shapes. This was based off a photo reference of a traveller, and getting those core shapes down really helped me understand how everything connected. 

Portrait Practice - image 2 - student project
This finished piece, painted with watercolours. I am someone who generally prefers sketch layers to final pieces, and I do think some of the energy was lost from that first sketch... but for what it was MEANT to be, it did what it was supposed to. 

As a side note before I move onto the other tasks from the class, the main area of improvement this class gave me was actually in the eyes. They were probably my biggest point of frustration in my style and I couldn't figure out what my issues was. The answer? I wasn't drawing tear ducts. 
Well, more that I wasn't joining the inner corners of the eyes, and I was only joining the outer corners - which is probably a product of drawing in anime style for much of my teenage years. 

Portrait Practice - image 3 - student project
Left - Old Eyes
Right - New Eyes

One day, I had a portrait go wrong, and after a bit of table flipping, I decided to go back through this video and do the exercises that came with it, and found it incredibly rewarding and insightful.

Portrait Practice - image 4 - student project
Portrait Practice - image 5 - student project
You can see that I changed some of the shapes between the 'refining shapes' layer and finally giving them hair and character, but this was SUCH a big help. 

Anyway, finally the other day I decided to give another detailed portrait a go and use lessons from this class to achieve it. Once again, I didn't take an image of me getting the shapes down (sorry) but I have my sketch layer and final piece.

Portrait Practice - image 6 - student project
I chose to do a self portrait, as I haven't done a legitimate self portrait since secondary school... and the class I'd have done it in would have been over 10 years ago!

I ended up being pretty proud of the finished piece, there's still much to learn, but the class has given me a lot of fundamentals to work on, and has elevated my work and understanding on the face in ways I hadn't expected.

Portrait Practice - image 7 - student projectSelf Portrait - Painted with Gouache.