Wednesday, 11 January 2012

100 portraits: exercises in drawing

Drawing and sketching is something I've always rather neglected. For me, (rough) sketching mainly served the purpose to outline a subject on a canvas, and no great attention was needed to be given to details, as it was going to be painted over anyway. Even during Art Every Day Month in November, when I started to draw and sketch more, I never took more time than 5, 10 minutes for a drawing. But this year, I want to dedicate more time to the fine art of drawing, and improve my skills. So I went and bought a new sketchbook (it's always good to have an excuse to buy a new sketchbook :) ) and got the basic tools out - pencils, blenders and erasers.

When looking through all my sketchbooks, paintings, and even photographs, I noticed that there weren't many people in them. So this year, I want to focus more on people. There are many photographers on Flickr , for erxample, who are doing great projects like "100 strangers" - taking portraits of strangers in the street. While I'm not planning to ask strangers in the streets to model for a sketch or drawing (not even for a photograph, to be honest), I want to try and draw 100 portraits. Or at least a whole lot, exploring different techniques and mediums. At the end, it doesn't really matter if it's a 100, or less, or even more. The main thing is to practise as much as possible. The new sketchbook will be for people only, and I hope that by the end of the year, it will be filled with them from cover to cover.

So yesterday evening, and the day before, I sat down at my desk and started with the basics. Basic shapes, and some simple faces. I didn't work from a photograph, or anything, just trying to get the basic shapes of the eyes (by way the hardest part!), the nose, the lips, and taking my time to blend, blend, blend. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the results weren't always satisfying (yet). I think it should be a bit easier to use photographs, pictures in newspapers, magazines etc., or even life models, to work with, rather than trying to figure out the exact shapes, shadows and highlights in my head. I will make and take time to seriously practise drawing, especially portrait drawing, this year - along with all the other things. Sketching, drawing, acrylic painting, watercolour painting, photography.... Oh, I just wish I had more time!


  1. I have been thinking about focusing on drawing people too. I used to do my "morning people", where I painted a face from the morning paper almost every day. Maybe I should do that again, but make a drawing instead - 100 portraits sounds good. I like challenges.

  2. Good for you. I love a challenge and I wish you the best in achieving yours.

  3. I am (again) so motivated by your artistic mojo! You are so self-determined. Drawing people is very difficult, and when it's wrong, it's obvious. This is why I am really excited for you to tackle this project!

    Personally, I always loved drawing a live model, and feel like I could capture movement well. Faces, never - and this was a problem for me. If I had planned a task like you have, perhaps I could have moved past that.

    Maybe one day!

  4. It's great to commit to something like this. Looks great so far.