Thursday, February 7, 2013

PAINTING - 60 min Head Sketch

I've been continuing with my daily drawing practice as part of my New Year's resolution to draw/paint everyday, but to change things up, I'm posting a study I did the other day. So far my daily studies have revolved around working from imagination, reference, or both. In this case, I looked at a few pictures of male heads but I really wasn't referencing any specific one. 

I was trying to paint more from imagination to 'quiz' myself on my values, plane changes, temperature changes and color changes as they might relate to a head in a strong single light source. This one was a 60 minute study, and it was meant more as an exercise than a final, finished illustration. You can always finish a good start with enough time, but it's getting the good starts that's the hard part.

I decided to snapshot my progress for the benefit of any beginner painters. As I've been performing these studies, they remind me to never forget the basics. It's easy to skip some of the beginning steps of a sketch or painting because you know them so well, and they've become a bit intuitive too. However, even though there's no one right way to paint, there are some logical steps that will make it easier to manage.

 First, I started off with a simple line sketch. I'm not trying to be too detailed or accurate because then the painting becomes more like coloring in the shapes, and this tends to lead to a more stiff-looking painting. This painting approach is more form-based with no line work intended to be visible in the final stage. Paintings where the line work is not only visible but crucial require a different approach because the colors and tones you use must work in balance with the line and not compete with it.

Then I separated my light side from my shadow side in two simple values.

Then I started to break up the shadow side a bit by adding any possible reflected light (both warm and cool) to their respective surfaces as well as a bit of local color to the light side.

Modeled those tones a bit more - pushing and pulling the values.

Continued refining those shapes and forms.

Added final highlights and details.

I'll be posting some more drawing studies, hopefully some process tutorials, and updates on my new children's book. Thanks for looking!


  1. Man, this is exactly the kind of process posts I love to see. I'm certainly inspired by all the work you're doing here and seeing how you push yourself.
    Thanks for the kind words on my storyboarding post. You're going to see more stuff very soon, as it's connected to my brand spanking new facebook fanpage:

    1. I'm glad you liked it! I'm trying to post more process stuff in the future too.

  2. This is such a great post. So helpful for someone like me who still tends to 'color'. *bookmarked*


Thanks for letting me know what you think :)