21 August, 2008

Hey, this is my 100th post. Free waffles and gum for everyone!

In celebration I will give you this, my favorite observational sketch of the last few weeks, (yeah, I know the hand could be better). It was drawn a few days ago, on the 18th.


rickart said...

She's not amused, but bemused!

Nice expression... I wonder what the message was...

BTW, do you have a photographic memory or are you really just that fast?!

Davis Chino said...

I DON'T have a photographic memory. I am fast-ish, but it always feels slow--and there are faster, (--much faster--believe me). I have little episodes where images are remembered by me, but it's more of a studied thing, looking at a face and quickly imagining I am drawing it. This really works! Look at a photo and go through the mental process of drawing it, then turn the photo over and draw it from memory--you'll be surprised! Drawings made this way are typically better than the ones made staring at the photo--they have more life and unity.

Not having a photographic memory, I have improved my skills in this area solely through practice and continued careful observation of people/faces, even when not drawing (esp when not drawing). When doing these sorts of sketches, it's less about drawing from a mental photograph than about seeing someone give a look or take an attitude and being able to recognize a few key elements to that look/attitude that I can then reconstruct. Does that make sense? For this girl it was, she's leaning against a wall, head's a leaning lollipop, nose is snubby and lips are drawn up into bemused bow, and with a big gap from the eyebrows to the big eyelids...something like that.

That said, it seldom works!! I try to recreate what I liked or noticed from the model, but too often I just chase fugitive expressions and get squat--or very generic drawings that miss what I was going for. For instance, I'll like the lips, and start to draw them, but by then the model's gone (got their coffee and split) and I haven't even looked at their overall head shape or anything else.

The general amount of time I have to look at a face I draw is between 10 seconds and a minute. 2 minutes is a real luxury. The drawing take longer, maybe three times as long? SO I have to do a lot of looking to start, then do the drawing. With the ink I have to be a little more meticulous, but I try to be more decisive, too.

That's why I don't spend too much time on the flashy stuff--number one because I am without the necessary dexterity, but number two because it can obscure the real value of a drawing. There's a place for the fancy, the stylish, and I should try to add more of it to my sketch work, (I can do it in the premeditated stuff OK, not great).

That's a really long answer but I wanted to be complete and maybe there's something worthwhile in all this babble....

rickart said...

Thanks for the thourgh answer! It's always interesting to hear other people's process.

Your drawings always feel authentic to me... I know that I have a tendency to rely on lot's of tricks and poses that have worked for me in the past. I know that part of that is that I don't spend any time drawing from life anymore (and part of that is that I'm too darn lazy).

At any rate, thanks for sharing... sharing your thoughts and your drawings! :)