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.

Creature Feature

Browsing the blogs I follow a few days ago, I came across Inari’s post about a pastel painting of Dobby (from the Harry Potter series) she is working on.  Dobby was always one of my favorite characters, so we got to chatting, and we decided we’d each do favorite creatures and roll out our artwork together!

I chose Gollum, because any villain who asks “What has it got in its pocketsesssss” is a friend of mine.    First attempt, in ink:

Second, a different pose, in Polychromos colored pencil:

How can you not love him?!    He’s even got smile lines!

Please check out what I’m most sure will be a heart-stopping version of Dobby over at Inari’s place this morning.     She does such amazingly detailed work; I’m sure you’ll be inspired by whatever’s on her drawing board, be it man or beast!

We’re almost there, y’all!    Hang in a few more days!    Peace and plump pocketsesssss to all.   💜

Draw a Bird Day reminder: Friday, May 8!


Thanks to A-Wing and A-Way letting so many of us know about Draw A Bird Day on April 8, many of us had fun drawing or painting birds on April 8.  Some drew a bird for the first time, and found it be lots of fun!  However, many people weren’t aware of the holiday until it was too late.  So, some of us decided it might be fun to make this a monthly event!   I also want to thank Squirrel Writer for helping to spread the word!

For my friends who may not be comfortable with drawing:  Do not let this sideline you, if you are interested in participating!  Anything goes:  Photographs, stories or poems about a bird, a little sculpture, a nature collage, you are only limited by your imagination.  I think what we’re trying to do here is open the cage door and let the birdies fly.  That’s us!  We all have wings, and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to open them.  Let the spirit move you as it will.

Friday, May 8 is a week from today, and I hope we can all make WordPress fly to celebrate our wing-ed friends.

Draw a Bird Day!


Thanks to this post from A-Wing And A-Way, I recently learned that April 8 is Draw a Bird Day. I needed to make a card for my mom’s birthday, and she’d requested a bluebird. So Monday night, while watching a rerun of the O’s Opening Day win (woot!), I got out my Derwent watercolor pencils and went to town.

I had such a good time doing this, and was happy (for the most part) with how it turned out. It also felt good to dash back into realism for a change. Hehe, a little dose of reality never hurt anyone. Right?  I miss drawing from nature.  Looking forward to maybe having a chance to do some more of that after busy season winds down.

April showers are busy bringing May flowers out my way, and I hope Lady Spring is waving her magic wand where you are, too.

M is for ???


M is the character’s name, nothing to do with the actor.  He looks a bit up himself in this drawing, and trust me, he doesn’t look that way at all in the photo.   I think I’ve flubbed his mouth and chin.  I’m at a place in this portrait journey where I just really want to get (much) better.  I want to, if anything, make people look a bit better than they do in real life, but not worse.  hehe. 

Anyway.  The show hasn’t been the same since this man moved on, and I have to admit to having had a teensy weensy crush (ok, more than teensy weensy) on him from the start.  This is a classic case of a good-looking guy who looks gorgeous once you get to know his personality.  On the show, that is, no clue what he’s like in real life, but … if you know something bad about him, don’t tell me.  I’d rather live in the dream.  🙂 

 This started as a quick sketch, turned into a drawing, then I found out the eyes weren’t straight and had to erase one and move it down. This usually doesn’t end well, but God must have been on my side this time, because it erased fine and didn’t leave smudges. I think this brown ochre Polychromos may be my go-to portrait pencil from now on. It’s proven itself these last several go-rounds! 

 I have another portrait planned for the letter N, but I was up much too early yesterday working, and I feel like I must be bound to crash at some point.  But who knows?  If the right photo calls to me (and several weeks ago, I did find the perfect photo), sleep will stay away, and sometimes I (oddly) have almost as much energy after a good drawing as I’d have got from a nap.  If it bombs though…..oh, one never knows!  Which is why I’d like to get much better at this….and we’ve come full circle! 

 Happy Sunday to you.  Do yourself a favor and do something for yourself today.  Take a day to rest, rejuvenate, and smile, because Mama Spring has finally arrived, complete with her entourage of birds, buds, and beauty.  Enjoy today, and I’ll see you with another portrait *fingers crossed* tomorrow.

Random portrait-ness

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My drawing for the letter K bombed, so … see if you recognize this man. His is one of the first portraits I did. I think the photo reference was fairly recent. He’s a British actor who’s played in lots of films here in the US. I’ll be curious if anyone recognizes him.

The next few weeks will be really busy for me in the office, so I will keep posting, but not sure how many will be portraits….

Enjoy and just think: Spring and Thursday are almost here! I hope you dance today.  Heck, I hope I dance too.  🙂

H is for … ?

H 03042015

This portrait kicked my buttock last night.   It was much harder than I thought it would be.  Maybe because he has a pretty vanilla face, and I’ve been drawing faces with really distinctive features that are easier to get closer to capturing?  I don’t know.  But I hope all my good guessers will weigh in!  🙂    The letter H is for the character he plays, but I drew the actor as himself (no H’s).  So, there’s your hint!

I’ve decided to take a break from portraits until the workweek is over.  These babies take 2-3 hours to do, and as much as I enjoy them, it’s no fun being up late night after night drawing and then working a long day too.  So I think I’m going to zen out for awhile with abstract watercolors at night and try and sneak more portraits in during the weekend.  I have reference images printed out for letters I through N, and I don’t want to skip those faces, so I’ll just stick with the alphabet for the portraits and go with whatever tickles my fancy for the abstract stuff.   I’ll still be posting every day, cause that was the point.  Busy season or no, I will make art every day.  Tonight, I think I need to make a few extra ZZZs, though.

What I learned:

  1.  I need to go lighter when placing my initial guideline marks.
  2.  Thin lips aren’t easy to draw!  Less margin for error?  Probably.
  3.  Dude has an odd nose, yet he is very handsome!   How does he manage this?  (True, this isn’t something I learned.)
  4.  Two late nights in a row do not two good portraits make.

I hope you’ll enjoy some floaty-free watercolor for the next couple days while I make some dates with Mr. Sandman.  Catch you on the flip side.  Oh, and thank  you so much for all of your praise and encouragement as I explore the world of portraits!

D is for … ?

D 02282015

This might be a bit tough to guess….the photo reference is from a 1995 British miniseries.  It’s a remake of a classic love story from the 19th century.   Hub and I watched it over Valentine’s weekend, and although he was lukewarm at first, he and I really enjoyed the experience.  It was the perfect way for us to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I drew him in character.  The name he went by in the film (his last name) begins with a D.   The actor has no D initials, and is still alive (and still dreamy, too!)

The weird brown eyes and shading aren’t an artist statement.  I wanted to sketch him in graphite pencil first, so I could make corrections as needed, but then I liked the sketch so much that I didn’t want to redraw it in colored pencil and risk flubbing it.  So I tried going over the pencil sketch with a polychromos, but I didn’t like the look of the poly over the graphite.  So I decided to stop.  I thought it looked kinda cool this way, so I decided to go ahead and post it as is.  (Plus, I didn’t really have time to redo it.)

I hope you enjoy, and that you’re having a creative weekend, whatever that means for you!  I’ll be back with an American actor tomorrow, one of my faves (and Hub’s also).  See you then!