Drawing advice tip #1

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Hi Everyone,

After my recent experience at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con 2015, I had a lot of people coming up and asking “How did I learn to draw,” “what advice can you give me,” and “You are very talented, how long did it take you to become a great artist?”  So after a few weeks, this still was on my mind and I started to ruminate on the questions.  Then I thought about what has been giving me a lot of trouble the past few weeks.  As you know, I LOVE Doctor Who.  There is no confusion on that.  I love the actors.  The stories. The overall possibility of time travel.   In that attempt to show my love, I’ve been working on rewards for a GoFundMe project and drawing Doctor Who related sketches.  As you know, I also strive for a bit of realism or naturalistic art and wanted to convey each character and their expressions correctly.  Some, I had no problem >cough< >cough< K-9.  Others, like Tom Baker or Peter Davison, I had to capture their likeness that said “Ah Ha! That is the Fourth Doctor” or “Yep, that smirk is Peter Davison!”  Believe me, drawing the Fourth Doctor with Tom’s piercing eyes or curls is no easy task.  I then moved on to the next group, the ladies.  At the time I started drawing Romana, they were running the Key to Time series on RetroTv.  I love Mary Tamm (God rest her soul) and captured her near likeness except for her eyes at times.  Other times, it was her nose that threw me off or chin.  Luckily, she has that Alan Davis-esque (Comic book Greatness, Alan Davis) face that once you plug them in place, only a few adjustments needed.  I then moved on to Jenna Colemans’ Clara, and that is where my issues arose.  She also, has that Alan Davis face, with wide cheek bones and curved up, feminine nose, but also a wider jaw and pointed chin. Below is my attempt at Clara (Jenna Coleman) using a photo reference from a Google image source.  As you can see, its not a bad picture but it also isn’t Clara.  I tried and tried again to no available. In other attempts, I get the eyes right but not the nose or nose but not the jaw and when I did, I missed the entire cheek bones and pointy chin.  Even resorting to bring an image into sketchbook pro 7, lowering the image opacity and in a new layer, outline the features, did I still not get it right.

clara wip


clara wip1

So  I moved onto another image to work on rather than being frustrated.  Always a good move.

So I did another Romana and K-9 image based on a Gil Elgren image and happy with that work in progress.  That helps with keeping my spirits up.  I then thought of the next thing to do, something outside of Doctor Who and mind lead to Agent Carter, whom I have been blogging about and love the series.  However, Haley Atwell, is another Clara to me.  Beautiful face but capturing her essence, even with photo reference is tough.  Even tracing over an image, still did not convey Haley well.  But this time, since it was International Womens Day and having two lil girls of my own, did not want to give up.  I like strong women and have been instilling it into my girls since they were born.  So I rolled up my sleeves and tackled her.   First, I wanted to capture the whole character and then put details in afterwards.  I took the head, lassoed it and put it on a new layer in Sketchbook Pro 7, and began my work. Haley’s eyes are tough to capture as the gleam with intelligence and determination.  Also, she doesn’t have think eyelashes so adding too much, took away from her fierceness. I just picked one part to work with and that was her eyes.  Once I captured them to the best of my ability, I checked if they were the correct spacing.  Adjusted as necessary.  Duplicated a layer I liked, hid the one below and continued correcting the duplicate.  Repeat.  Then I moved to the nose.  Then the mouth, where I spent a lot of time because that too, is difficult.  Once that was done, moved to the cheek bones and jaw line.  She has a beautiful face with striking cheekbones and a nice jaw line. Repeating steps above duplicating layers I liked until I got something I enjoyed.  I moved to adding another image to the collage and started the same process.  I only stopped because it was midnight and after an exhausting weekend of early mornings plus late nights, my bed was calling me.  See the image below:

agent carter IWD

So the point of the story is and my drawing advice to you is, persevere and draw what is giving you difficulty.  Draw it until you’ve done it a hundred times or a thousand.  Don’t leave the subject unless you need a break but then come back to it.  If drawing eyes is tough, keep at it.  Find a book on facial expressions and draw a surprised person or a scared person. Use a reference image if you need to but add some dynamics to it than drawing the exact image. Just keep on persevering and get better.  I just pulled out a Steve Rude sketch book and the man practices everyday.  He practices at things I swear he, in my opinion, mastered years ago.  I will do the same as I am not there yet.  The Peggy Carter with the hat, is still off and I’ll keep on dissecting it until I get Haley’s face.  Then back to Clara. It may be a thousand drawings later, but more the better for me and you.










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