Friday, January 7, 2011

Sketching Faces~ A Fun Craft Article by Hogan Stevens

(Apologies for the blurriness of the picture. LAT has been having some technical difficulties)

When I was told to write a fun article for January, I seriously could think of nothing. Nothing. And that’s weird for me, because I can usually come up with something to write about after a day or so. So I kept asking myself, “What fun things do girls do that I can write about?” And I just could not figure it out. You see, I don’t think I am what is considered a “normal” teenage girl. I hate to shop, and my idea of a fun afternoon with my best friend is reading a book…or talking about books. So I instead asked myself, “How do I have fun? Maybe I can inspire one of our readers to try something new!”

  Here lately it seems I’ve caught the drawing bug. Of course, I’ve always loved to draw all sorts of things, even when I was really young, but lately I’ve grown to love sketching portraits. I really only discovered this talent a couple of months ago, I would like to share it with you. All it takes is a blank piece of paper, a sharp pencil and your imagination!

  I usually use an actual picture for reference when drawing a person. Just follow the details of the picture with your eyes as you draw, paying attention to the shape of the face, eyes, and mouth. Sketch lightly at first, that way you can erase any mistakes (I do lots of erasing the first few minutes).

  When filling in each area of the face, make sure you pay attention to each detail, like just where the eyebrows lay on the forehead or how high the lips are from the chin. These things really help bring out the characteristics of your subject.

  The hair and eyes are usually what I save for the last, since they are probably the most difficult to sketch. I also like to make them as lifelike as possible. With the hair, make quick, decisive strokes--all in the same direction--and be sure to make them all even looking. Don’t want spotted hair, now do we?

  I always pay special attention to the eyes, since they are what give the subject that small spark of life. Each person has a unique shape to their eye, and every eye has a different layer of coloring that is not all that hard to capture. Don’t forget to make the pupils the darkest part of the eye, and you can also add a small catch light right next to the pupil just to add that extra bit of sparkle to the eye. Take your time.

  Of course, you don’t have to be the best artist to do this! It takes loads of practice to get it all right, but I think you will really enjoy it. I know I sure do. I’ve spent hours just sketching out my friends and family, and it really is a joy to see their reactions when I show them a hand-drawn portrait of themselves. They really seem to appreciate it…even when I don’t get their nose just right or forget to add just enough freckles. I can hardly wait to give my parents and my best friend the pictures I’ve drawn of them for Christmas!

  And…if it turns out you just can’t seem to get down a good technique at making your drawings 100% lifelike, just put them off as caricature! No one will know the difference. Hopefully.

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