“Portrait Study – Richard” by Peggy Burkosky
With some basic guidance and a handful of drawing materials anyone can attempt to draw a portrait. It takes determination to keep developing your drawing skills, however there are some simple steps we can take at the beginning. The whole process of getting a likeness is challenging and we generally think that its only for the devoted, skilled artist. I like keeping things simple and “undaunting” and usually take what might even seem like the easiest and over-simplified way of doing things. The rewards of keeping the values (darks and lights) limited and blocking in simple joined shapes is quite surprising, and we can end up with some superior work after all.
The classic method of painting the head in oils is to paint an underlying value study called a “grisaille” which is a careful observation of all the planes and values that build the features, much like a mosaic. Another classic method is called the “wipe-out ” method, whereby one mid value tones the head and lighter values are wiped out while the paint is wet. Further dark values render the details. In the case of charcoal, the same procedure can be used, simply lifting light values of a mid-tone and rendering details with darker values. These accompanying studies show this method which can be achieved fairly quickly. I tend to want to see results without having to labor and wait, keeping things fresh and spontaneous as well as staying focused.