Umm…and a hairdryer too. Well, I adore drawing faces! I much prefer to do so from life though. But when I’m unable to draw from life, photos will do. My own photos are more interesting since they are of people I know. But my photography doesn’t always have good lighting, or I’m too far away, etc. So I got this Mary Kay advertisement in the mail and sat down with some of the faces in the magazine. Good training for seeing the shapes of the face, and trying to get proportions and all that jazz. It’s mesmerizing to me. I often put down a mid-line for the eyes and the “center” of the face. But sometimes I draw the line far too curved and off center. I love drawing with a pen. You may wonder why, when I could so easily erase that faulty mid-line if I used graphite, but that is precisely what I like about drawings with pen or ink. YOU CANNOT ERASE YOUR MISTAKES! And they become part of the drawing, showing a history of the artist’s hand at work. Restatements, and re-drawn areas are fascinating to me and are what make artist’s sketches so intriguing and full of wonder. The above drawings were done with a cheapy bic pen, while the following were made with a Prismacolor pen 03. These below are also “from life”, rather than from photos…I think there is a life and vitality to them that is missing in the “based on photo” versions.
Both are certainly valid ways to draw, but “from life” offers a richer experience of drawing in the zone where one’s creative brain is clicking and the analytical brain is shut down more. When I draw from photos, I am analyzing and critiquing everything. There is room for both in any drawing. My self-portrait here also has restatements and bits left out. Leaving lines out of drawings is something I want to improve on. When I draw from a photograph, I am more tempted to draw every line and detail. But when I’m drawing from life, these wonderful non-statements happen more naturally. They allow the viewer to engage more with your drawing and do the “filling-in”. We err to think that “getting better” in our drawing skills means that we put more lines down or more detail in the drawing. We couldn’t be more wrong! The masters knew how to load mounds of information in a simple line, or in lines left out completely…they were poets, not with words, but with drawings! I’m not really interested in writing novels with my art…a simple, meaningful poem in lines is my aspiration.