Tuesday, February 10

Let's get started

Picking up my pencils again

In a previous post I already told you about purchasing a new drawing kit from J.D. Hillberry, an award winning Colorado based artist with a specialty in graphite (& charcoal) realism. Hillberry also has video tutorials (very convenient for people like me, living in Belgium and not being able to attend his workshops in Colorado, thank you Internet!).
After a pause for a few years on portrait drawing (and drawing in general), I now had this Wall of Fame-project in mind. Stumbling on his video tutorials and website made me realize how much I really missed drawing and ordering the pencil kit and bonus pack gave me a new drawing boost. Just what I needed!

Patience, Iago, patience

The beginning of a realistic portrait takes a lot of time and preparation. It's like knitting a swatch to control your gauge in knitting. It doesn't make sense to quickly cast on and start knitting a sweater that might end up too big or too small. Same rules apply in case of realistic portraits. When your sketch proportions are off, the final portrait could be so off that it doesn't even look like the person you intended to draw in the first place.

Time is a precious gift here too: usually I sketch the outlines a few times, and then I'll leave it for a day or I turn my paper around. That way you'll notice proportions that are totally off. Loading up this above photo made me also realise I have to do something about his ear and lips. And the outer line of the left eye must lower (shadow). So it'll take some improvements before I can start the fun part: shading and building up tone to give it some depth. I usually print the photo to get the proportions right and the overall drawing on paper. When starting to shade I look at the computer screen for details, and I can zoom in on that.

The future

I'm also planning to do a review about this pencil drawing kit. So stay tuned for more drawing posts in the future!

(Linking up with Nicole.)


  1. I've said it before, but this is so amazing! drawing is a medium I know nothing about but I love reading you talk about it (and your drawings obviously!)

  2. what fun, and I love how the internet gives us so much knowledge without leaving the house. You are so talented :)

  3. I have no words- you are so talented- something I think we all wish for.
    Keep on sharing with us - we love it!!!

  4. You are so incredibly talented!! I look forward to seeing more peeks into your work and the process behind it, so interesting!

  5. What a joy it is to delve into other people's creativity and experiments - espeacially when it encourages me to wander into unfamiliar territory. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. This is wonderful thank you so much for sharing. I too am fascinated by the process which is all new to me.

  7. "It doesn't make sense to quickly cast on and start knitting a sweater that might end up too big or too small." And yet I find myself doing this over and over again ;)

    You are amazingly talented, your artwork is fantastic! I'm happy to hear you rediscovered drawing, it must be so relaxing to have a skill like that.

  8. love watching your process. It is amazing and inspiring!

  9. You are so talented - I love drawing, but can never seem to capture that lifelike quality like what you have drawn there!


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