Quick Quest (Five-Min. Head Studies)

Recently, I watched this video by Joy Thomas called “Five-Minute Head Studies”, and I have to admit, the idea of drawing a human face in five minutes intrigued the heck outta me.   During the video, she describes the process as addicting, which made me think “Maybe if you’re crazy.”  Well.   Maybe I’m crazy?   Because she was completely right.   Here are a few of the studies I completed.   They were all taken from stills of a DVD of a popular British drama.   (We’re all hooked on the show and own every season.)

5-min. head studies (graphite)
5-min. head studies (graphite)

The aim, according to Joy, is not to achieve a likeness in five minutes, but instead, to prepare for a longer study or, in her case, a commissioned portrait.   Once I got used to the steps and process, it was actually a lot of fun!   I think it’d be easy to get hooked if you’re interested in drawing people.   And I do believe it is sharpening my drawing skills, so in my opinion, it was worthwhile.   Joy also wrote a book, which I’ve borrowed from the library entitled “The Art of Portrait Drawing: Learn the Essential Techniques of the Masters”, which can be found here.

5-min. head study (Micron .02)
5-min. head study (Micron .02)

This one ^^ was closer to six minutes, by the time I drew in her hat and coat.   But I’m definitely interested in doing more of these.   As the author says, once you get used to the method, it’s amazing what you can do if you draw it out to twenty minutes….or even ten.   I’d also like to learn to do pet portraits (which Thomas does as well), but I have a feeling that will be much more difficult.   I love animals, but I don’t find fur the easiest thing to draw.    Maybe if I could master the fineliner pen!

Can’t believe it’s Wednesday already!   Counting down to fall foliage!  😀  Peace.

49 thoughts on “Quick Quest (Five-Min. Head Studies)

  1. Maybe you could draw furless animals. The sphynx cat, or the mole rat. 😉 I bet not many people draw mole rats, the poor little things.

    I am quite amazed that those portraits took you five minutes. Now that’s impressive. Maybe you could go down to the high-street or library and draw people you see there. You could charge people a dollar for a picture if they want to keep it.

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    1. Good idea, furless animals lol! I’ve tried drawing people at the library. I should try again, I think if I got a better seat I’d feel less obvious. Before I was obsessed with art, I think it’d kind of creep me out if I saw someone in the library and knew they were drawing me. Would that be creepy to you?

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      1. I don’t know. Maybe not once i find out they were only drawing me! I think in libraries, well at least for me anyway, i don’t really notice what other people are doing so probably wouldn’t see if someone was drawing my portrait.

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  2. wow, the art you create in only 5 minutes! Striking! I mastered the fineliner pen by simply following the clearest sketchlines (if that makes sense) or by making loose borders after coloring my work. When I use it in sketching, I let the work rest for a while to ensure it is dry and than erase my sketches. And I ma with you in counting towards fall;0) xo Johanna

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  3. I’ve tried 5 minute studies before when I took an art class in high school! I should try it again. My studies are either much shorter or much longer. I’d say that my Arnold drawing probably took a total of 10-15 minutes because I could only draw as he was on screen (and could only do a few strokes at a time as he was constantly moving). 🙂 Thanks for the book recommendation!

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        1. Definitely not too late! I’ve been thinking the same thing. Wouldn’t it be cool to do people and pet portraits. Idk. I start to wonder if I’m having a midlife crisis or something but for some reason, portraits do call to me. Well, along with watercolor and so many other things, I’m a little art ADD lol. Wouldn’t it be cool if you wrote and illustrated a book for kids, then you could offer a quick portrait to a “lucky winner” at your book signings! Hehe! Or maybe one of your characters could draw other animal portraits. 💛 You definitely have a knack for it! That video was very inspiring.

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  4. Wow! You did these sketches in 5 minutes?! Very IMPRESSIVE Laura!!! I will have to check out that site! There is an online site called poisemaniacs.com that has quick poises you can draw from. Not sure if they have people you can sketch but I’m sure there are sites for drawing people. I was sketching gestures so this site was great for that! 😊🎨

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    1. You’re quite welcome, Charlie! Understand drawing real life people – strangers – I think we’re the same. I would want to get someone’s permission, particularly if I don’t know them. But to draw people from the TV or photos – do you have the same issue?

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      1. I’m currently just scared of the entire act of drawing people as I think I’m not very good at it. But yes…the thought of sketching strangers like I often see done feels a little intrusive to me. Though I guess people appear in photos we take all the time so perhaps it’s less intrusive. I could guarantee at least in my sketch that it would look nothing like them. 😉

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        1. I was afraid to try people too until I went to Open Studio and they had a model. The first one, I worked with the project I brought instead, but the second one, I thought I would try. Wound up loving it! I hadn’t tried drawing people since high school (didn’t work out back then), but for some reason it worked better after many years passed. Maybe it’s a hard lines/soft lines thing again. You are really good at buildings but I am bad at perspective so I tend to shy away. I feel like birds, flowers, people, the soft lines, are better for me. But I don’t see why we can’t cross back and forth. One thing that has really been good for me with my soft lines work is Polychromos colored pencils and the Hand Book and Stonehenge papers. The Strathmore mixed media journal, also excellent. I’ve found sometimes that the key is combining the right medium, paper and subject together. Not sure if that helps, but I hope you give it a try.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I did quite a few back in the winter. MLK was my first, on his birthday; I did Pope Francis not too long ago. I really do enjoy them! But if you draw a bird…..a lot less pressure, as a cardinal is a cardinal. So I stopped doing them as often. I still love them though! Yeah, you might start seeing more of them again. I’m glad you enjoyed this post! Thanks for your encouraging words, as always! 💛

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  5. Wow! 6 minutes is fantastic. They look great. I think I even recognize the top female character. I tried drawing faces some years back, but nothing stuck. I can’ t draw them without the book in front of me guiding me through it.
    I wonder if I’ll ever be able to put what I see in my mind’s eye on canvas/paper?

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