I was actually starting to think that I might be getting better at this whole portrait drawing thing. Then today happened. I was just trying to do another one of my portrait studies but today for some reason I just could not get it right. It probably doesn’t help that the only reference photo I have for my subject is a really low resolution scan. Still, yesterday’s photo was quite low res too and I was much happier with the result. I think part of the problem is that I can’t see the subject’s eyes in this picture. It makes it much more difficult to feel the expression and capture the features somehow.
I made several attempt at this study but none of them looked right. It’s quite discouraging. This one is my final attempt (for today at least). It’s not terrible but there’s definitely no likeness and it still just doesn’t look the way I want it to.
My first attempt was just a complete disaster. It doesn’t even look like a woman and the proportions and angles are just completely off. I’m really not sure how I got it so wrong but it was pretty obvious after this one that I was going to have to start from scratch.
Before taking another shot at it I decided that it would be a good idea to do some smaller studies just the get the angle of the head down a little better. Most of these are pretty terrible too but I did make a little progress on figuring out the tilt of the head and the basic structure of the face. Still no likeness at all though.
Next I decided to try a really basic sketch of the negative space in the photo, focusing on shadows and darker areas rather than on the structure of the individual features. It was an interesting and informative exercise but definitely didn’t improve the portrait at all. On a positive not you can at least sort of tell that there’s a face in there. Unfortunately the proportions are even worse than the first attempt.
After that I decided to take one last shot at a proper portrait study. It’s definitely an improvement over the others but there’s still no real likeness there and it just doesn’t look quite right. The really sad part is that I’ve actually tried to do this study once before. I wasn’t happy with the result that time either but I can’t really say that any of these improved on it. Most of them just look even worse.
I suppose today just isn’t my day. I’ll have to take another shot at this another time. Eventually I’ll get it right. At least, I hope so. So far the evidence doesn’t seem to support that theory. Hopefully I don’t just keep getting worse though. I’ll just have to keep trying and see how it goes