This was another chance to do a charcoal portrait. I did this one at school where I had the opportunity to have a model sit for me for 3 hours. Sadly I didn’t have 3 hours as I was late! I gave myself the challenge of drawing from a donkey. This is a lower bench that you can sit on so that when drawing you can get very close up from underneath the model. This makes it quite a bit harder as the angle is very difficult. The usual way of mapping out a face completely changes here. The nose and eyes and mouth are much closer together and all the shapes change. Personally I really prefer portraits from this angle – there is something rather grand about the pose. It can be really hard to get this right. I wish I had another couple of hours on it. I love the mood of charcoal portraits.
For the last couple of weeks I have been painting a portrait of this women in blue. I thought that it might be a fun thing to show how the process works. It’s often fun to take photos along the way so you can see the all the mistakes you have made and the progression – hopefully!
It’s important to put a wash on your canvas/board first to knock the white away as it can be distracting. Then take your time to draw your portrait in a dark colour making sure you double check your proportions. Then find the shadow shapes and draw them and fill them in thinly. To get the likeness of someone concentrate on the 5 essential darks which are under the eyebrows, eyes, under the nose, top lip and under the bottom lip. Now add skin tone. Start painting in the colour that features the most which would be the middle tone. At this point avoid the shadow shapes as you have already blocked those in. As you go along its alway good to tweak the lines and shapes making sure that all the way along the process you are getting proportions right. Start to add in the highlights and make sure you leave all the details to the last sitting.