Write this is one of my favorite drawing techniques ever. It's called drawing from the ground up. That's what I call it, or painting out of the gray. I was wearing a little mask there because I had a cough and there's a fair amount of charcoal dust flying around when I'm toning the paper. So basically, I tell him the paper, it's a soft piece of charcoal, pretty dark and black. So I don't go too heavy handed with it.
But you can cover the whole page. I just covered part of it, thinking about it design shape, that I could sort of sculpt the face into or draw the face into and then I'm going over it with a soft vine charcoal, big hunk of that. And the two of those combined give it an ice surface. And the reason why it's so fun is once you start picking out the highest Light with the eraser. Okay, that's when things get really exciting. It's really 3d.
It always surprises me. It's never boring every time I do it creating the illusion of 3d on the page. here right now I'm taking a shammy and just moving the stuff around kind of getting some brushstrokes, some randomness in there and pushing the charcoal into the paper. So getting, like I said, it's pretty exciting. And basically there's a three step process. You do the drawing with a compressed charcoal pencil, or just a piece of compressed charcoal, and you get the shapes in and then you put in your dark puzzle pieces.
And you look and see if the relationships look right. you design your shadow shapes. You can check your drawing, check everything thing all the time, and then start to put the lights on. Well, this is kind of a subtractive method, instead of putting white paint on a white pencil, it's a step before you do that, and use your eraser, your cheap paintbrush to pull out the highlights revealing the white of the page. And so it's pretty easy, cheap, you don't need to buy paint and you can get an amazing amount of expression from charcoal and an eraser. So I'm creating kind of an envelope here of the silhouette of the head and just getting that big silhouette blocked in as if I am 20 feet away from the person just getting the overall impression Looking for that outer contour, the cuts, go in and out trying to find relationships drawing through as if my drawing was made of glass.
It's not magic. It's just process step by step, building things up. And this is by far the most exciting part of the process. You're jumping in, you're fresh, you're excited, at least I'm excited. And I can't wait to see what I'm going to do. I have all this potential in me and feeling that I can reach it.
I can go higher than I've ever gone. And so it's exciting. It's fun, because later in the process, it starts to bog down, you get more into the details to say During tertiary details that things just go slower. So this is fun. It's exciting. It's fast and into it.
When I look at the reference and I squint down I see, I look for my darkest darks, lightest lights and the Christmas edges and I see under the nose, that's the darkest dark, and the shadow cast onto the muzzle of the mouth. That's the crispest edge. That and the upper lip against the lower lip. Those are pretty crisp edges. There's things on the hairline near the temple on the right side that's kind of crisp. So it's the nose is the darkest dark, a probably in the orbit of the eyes.
Put the next darkest dark or at least as dark as the nose. I'll say my black accents for there. Everything else will be less dark and less light. really thinking of my structure kind of making myself think of that nose as a prism and getting that brow into the Keystone into the prism of the mills, getting that connection finding the tear duct which is like a 45 degree line from the center of the Keystone on both sides and finding the tear duct and then finding the average you know the angle of the eyes because this is we've got to tilt here. So want to make sure both eyes line up on the same axis on both sides. All right, let me jump in here at this point and explain something to you about lining things up and taking measurements.
And it's something that's crucial, but maybe a little bit veiled. So I want to unveil it, clarify it, and explain it to you. All right, when I'm trying to space and place the elements of the face on the page accurately, I'm very aware of my vertical and horizontal axes. Those are the plumb lines, the guidelines by how accurately line things up and space in place things and get them just right in relationship to one another. Now, if this guy's head is straight up and down in a neutral position with no tilt, I'll use the vertical lines to line up for example, the pupil and bring it straight down and that shows me where the fits in and it shows me the ends of the of the lips. Great.
The green vertical line, if I line it up with the tear ducks and drag it straight down, I get the, our facial groove where wings of the nose meets the cheek. And I get the front part of the chin box, and so on. So these are very crucial. And I'm either drawing them on the model or in my mind, I am seeing them on the page and using them to guide me. If the models head is tilted to the right or to the left, then this is where things get interesting and I want to explain this to you. In figure a I'm using the vertical lines to line up the features of the face as he's his gaze is straight ahead.
That works just fine. What about when his head is tilted? Well, we develop a new that aligns it in figure B, because the head is tilted, doesn't mean the relationships between the features change, they remain the same. So I use a new set of parallel, straight lines that are now at an angle to find the relationship between the features. And while that's crucial for getting the features lined up, when the head is tilted, I'm still using those original first vertical lines, usually in my mind and projected on the page to line up the features and find relationships between the parts. Let me show you what I mean.
I'm going to use these vertical lines to let's say, drop that down from the eye to find the edge of the chin. How far does the chin curve in so I'm looking at this curve and I'm looking at this space leftover so I'm using a grid I'll put this horizontal line in green, and I'm using the red vertical line. And then I'm finding the area that's left over. And how far in the chin goes in this way? Right? And what's the angle right here?
So I'm using that all over the place. I'm doing it subconsciously. And automatically because I've been doing it so long, I is very well trained for this. And I find that through all that practice, I don't need a grid to do that work for me. For example, if I use the horizontal, I can look at the outer part of the brow and see how it lines up. Where is the brow on this right eye?
Well, if I have that horizontal, I can create this sort of Hear the area under there, I just need to find this distance. Let's take that out. I just need to find this distance right here. From here to here, how high up is that brown? I can also say well, the brown the left eye right is below the top of the helix of the year. Right so I'm looking I'm feeling for you know, this distance here.
And then I can find this distance here. So the horizontals and verticals helped me measure and find the relationships in within the structure to get the you know, features space and placed correctly. Let's take another quick example. You know, a horizontal line is going to show me that the right part of the neck is longer and higher where the meets the shoulder than the left part of the neck. If I take a vertical tangent right at that brow, and I drop it down, I can see again, how I can see the angle of the left part of the face. I can do it here too.
I can see the jaw relationship compared to the hair, and I can see that it's not on the whole, it's not on the vertical. It's just off the vertical. So all that stuff is really important and I'm using those tools horizontals and verticals. And I'm using the new set of horizontals and verticals. Here recalibrated for a tilt in the head right or left. So I'm using two sets, the ones in figure a.
Right? And the one in figure B. So a just so happens the features are oriented vertically so it works out but when there's a tilt, I redraw those. And I also use the true horizontal and verticals that are always there and always needed to help me find one part in relationship to another is it higher Is it lower? That's all I'm asking myself. What's the angle?
Is it higher? Is it lower. So I hope that clears things up. It can be a little bit tricky if you don't know what to look for. All right, getting back to the demo here, just working on lining up the eyes correctly, the right and left getting that upper lid angle going and then dropping a guideline down from the where the middle of the eye would be the pupil down to the chin and that connects the chin where the chin box fits into the jaw from the front part of the face. It also gives me the ends of the mouth.
Right determinists are the lips so know how wide the mouth is all that good stuff that I just explained in getting that pentagonal shape of the nasal bone on the upper third of the nose. middle third is cartilage and that ball of the nose on the side Final for the nose, muzzle of the mouth pretty apparent on him You can see it get this muzzle of the mouth that the cheekbones definitely was very kind of a triangular shape there being the frontal eminence there in the forehead and just try to keep it very planar not getting into too much detail I have to concentrate. Otherwise I'm going to start drawing details and missed the whole picture but draw a miss the forest for the trees basically. I've been holding the pencil on this kind of overhand grip and I drag the lead along the side and here I've switched the grip, because I need a little bit more, let's say finer control on some of these smaller shapes with the ear, the hairline and stuff, so I need to hunker down just a little bit.
But that wears out the tip of that charcoal pencil, which is a carbon fellow, black charcoal pencil. So I prepared maybe five charcoal pencils, they're all sharpened and ready, good to go. So when one wears down, I just grabbed the next one. And if I drop one, I've got one ready to go. Kind of like when you're playing guitar and you drop your pick. If you have another one.
You just keep jamming. kind of thinking, you know who is this person as well. So I've got the technical things going. You know, sculpting this thing out, finding the planes, finding the rhythms, making sure it's symmetrical and both sides of the face. And then maybe creating a little backstory In my mind as to who this person is and hooked on this person, but I want to capture this person's spirit sovereign being on the page, that's my highest goal. And that's what I'm so excited about.
I want to make it pop off the page and come to life. That's what everybody wants to see is a person emerged from the page. And it's also write a record of me in the marks that I made. Those are uniquely mine. So capturing me and the person on the page and it really takes all my concentration and energy to do that, or to do it well. When I drag, use the overhand grip and drag the pencil along the paper, I get a nice chiseled fine line.
But with a flick of the wrist, I can get a very thick line as well and everything in between. Because it helps kind of stabilize my whole hand and wrist on the page when I hold it that way and I use the other fingers, my ring finger and the other descending fingers to the pinky, just to kind of drag along the paper along the surface. And I can move up and down and modulate the pressure of the pencil on the page. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's what I do. And then again, sometimes they have to go ahead and hold the pencil on a traditional style like a writing style to get some of those details and The angle to that I'm drawing it, sometimes it's better flipping the pencil and using the other grip. So now I'm with at the laugh lines, creating that muzzle of the mouth.
Well, it's the two cylinder. Basically, I've got a couple of C curves that tell me that this is not a flat surface, but it bulges out. I've got the top plate of the chin and the front plane. Everything is just trying to get a good description. It takes a while. It's exciting.
But it takes a lot of concentration. So I have to make myself take each step one thing at a time with patience. Otherwise I'll get into it. And I'll keep going and something will be wrong. It's usually for me The distance between the eyes and the nose, I get that wrong and I get the nose too long. That's one area of kind of weakness for me.
So if I just check it because I know that now, after years of drawing, if I just slow down and check that, then I'm okay. But if I get lazy or if I get too excited and don't check and don't measure, then I'm probably going to be off 50% of the time. Those eyes getting the thickness of the upper lid. We're looking slightly up and we're getting that top plane in the lower lid. Getting those things in there is good because it In the shadow, but I do want some structure in there because when I do put the darks in all that stuff's kind of gonna go away and I want something in there to hold up so I'm putting a thin black line in there to describe the lids and their thicknesses he's got those eyes there, they're in the shadow but the highlights of the cornea are really there some that's gonna be my payoff that's gonna be my icing on the cake.
So I do that last. That's the funnest part. Because that's why I'm going to work the hardest to bring out the, the light from emanating from this being that's all illusion of a flat piece of paper that nevertheless can be captured for all to enjoy. So I've gotten to those secondary details. Now really describing the forums, they're not just prisms and boxes and balls and tubes, they're starting to become actual features. But I still keep and retain the idea of the structure.
As I'm crafting the lips, the nose. I'm keeping the idea of the side plane of the nose. The bottom plane of the nose, the top lip, describing how it kind of pillows out and even the lips themselves are on the tooth cylinders. So that whole thing. Top look is like a cupid's bow with the tubercle in the middle and the the bird wings to either side almost looks like a cupid's bow to me. And now we're gonna get into Step three, putting in the darks.
So we've done all this description, making these architectural kind of sculpting drawings. So that everything, all your connections and architecture are valid and look good and it's time to put the darks in those dark puzzle pieces and separate them out from the light puzzle pieces. And I'm using a very soft by charcoal. A kind of a thick, not super thick but a thick piece of fine charcoal. It's soft and it goes on. It's really to me this is painting this is like a paintbrush.
So this is your real preparation for oil paint really doing this training your eye for becoming expert in value, crucial value distinctions from light to middle and dark and then the application of the medium the charcoal is very Much like painting without color. That's how I think of it. So I'm starting to think of myself as a painter right now. not strictly as a jar that really affects my approach mentally to to this piece makes me more free with the medium. That makes me kind of more put it on more liberally. And the vine charcoal is such that it's easy to modify, I can put it on and take it off at Liberty at will.
And that's a lot like oil paint. It's very flexible. So when I'm putting it on I'm putting it on. In big bold strokes. Like that piece of vine charcoal is a big stiff Fitch to me a paintbrush, an oil painting brush that I can just put the paint on in chiseled strokes. I'm using a big piece to do the work as big as I can stay as big as I can as long as I can, and when I need to go smaller, I'll take a smaller piece of charcoal and break it off and use it for the more smaller shapes and nooks and crannies.
So I'm squinting at the model and squinting at by drawing and really looking for those value distinctions separating out the family of darks from the family of lights. And being careful at this stage has been at every other stage. But since I've been careful in the previous step, I can be a little bit more free with this step. In order to keep things going in the right direction, my eyes bouncing back and forth between the reference photo and my drawings. Constantly bouncing back and forth looking, checking heights with angles and fixing as I go. So it's a process of shooting for a goal and fixing mistakes.
Okay, we've now arrived at step four, which is erasing out the highlights. So here I'll be pulling out my cheap paintbrush, my trusty needed rubber eraser and just start taking off the lead taking off the charcoal separating out. Yes, guess what? The lights from the darks. Sometimes you can just completely erase everything back out to the white of the paper, like everything, separate the lights and darks really starkly. Or you can do what I'm doing here is separate them, separate the lights, but leave some half tones in the lights so that there's a sense of modeling going on or rendering them the form bringing up the form.
And this is my favorite stage. I love this part because it's the light that reveals the form. It's not the shadows, got to do the shadows, but when you start getting into making this thing look sculptural, it's the lights. And so special care is taken here in the lobby, phase in this step four. Try to think about the background as well. Like how this character integrates into the environment, just a hint of environment.
Dark, holds light. So that dark I'm putting holds the contour of the light face near the cheek. And that's an opportunity to be kind of free. Free brush strokey was gonna say in the lights, it's about structure, and color. If you're using color in the shadows, it's about shape and value more than anything else. So that's a way to kind of remember that if you put too much Structure into your shadows.
Then it starts to compete with the lights and what's happening there. And then the shadows don't look as much like shadows because by definition, the shadows are hazy and murky and don't have a lot of clarity. You can't see crisp lines or many plain changes, save those for the lights. So now in this process, I switched back to refining some of the shadow shapes of the lip and under the bottom lip, and now it's going back and forth. And I'll be introducing the paper stump there to move around some of the charcoal on the paper, smooth out some of the light holidays that are peeking through or just to remove some charcoal before I get in there with the eraser and refine the shape or reclaim the light side. Notice using a Tombow was super fine eraser there to get into that small space.
So now it's just refining fixing mistakes, we finding victim fixing mistakes. And I wanted to introduce the concept of teleology. And that's basically a philosophical term and it's the explanation of something in terms of its purpose. What's the objective, what's the goal? What's the reason why it's there? and drawing from me is a lot like that.
I haven't goal I want to draw this face when I make this beautiful portrait how I get there is a process of now that I have a goal and a destination I set off and I start making approximations at what i think you know I make my best approximation my best. Yes, with the training that I have to make that happen. And it's a it's never perfect. The marks that I put down always need some kind of correction. And, you know, if you have an automatic pilot plane, that's the way that machine flies the plane, you put in the coordinates got a destination and then it starts flying and the plane because Because of physical forces against it, when gravity, it starts to veer off course. And the machine does its calculation and brings it back on course.
So it's here's the key, it's always course correcting. Let me say that again, the machines are always course correcting, because they're always going off course. And if that's good enough for machines, it's good enough for me. So I don't mind that. I'm making mistakes and fixing them and making mistakes and fixing them. That's how it is.
Unless you're a genius unless you're perfect. And not even a robot as perfect as they are. Gets it perfect. Right? That's my point. So don't worry that if the process seems frustrating or tedious, well, it kind of is and make allowances for that.
Because that's how it is for probably everybody. So that little Tombow eraser, pen eraser so precise. And it's it's a tough eraser so it gets in there and scrubs off the charcoal, or whatever it is pencil graphite, pretty good. It's not a soft eraser like the needed rubber eraser, so I can chisel out a nice fine edge right there on that left nostril. And then the other cheap paint brush I have is my fingers, my thumb, my pinky, whatever finger can fit into that space. I use it and it's finger painting, essentially, just like you would do as a kid.
I'm just smashing the charcoal around. And it's the way it moves. It is aesthetically pleasing to Me. If I get in there with a rubber eraser, it's gonna just be too heavy handed. So I find that my finger works really good. You know people say not to do that because the oil from your finger will get on the paper and disturb the surface or ruin the surface, but I kinda, I don't mind it.
Okay, coming back in with a smaller piece of fine charcoal and refining that edge on the left side of the face. Outside the contour, I'm trying to just let myself be bold, not tightened down. not be afraid of ruining it to a certain degree, just go ahead and put the strokes down. And you can see I can always push this medium around or I can always remove it and I can be creative. It's pretty flexible. Remember I'm thinking of this like a paintbrush doing these little flourishes and that's the way I'm thinking about it.
Here in the hair, I'm trying to, you know, paint the plane changes, keep it very structural, and then put in just a few strands of hair here and there. So, I'm keeping me keeping me chunky and designing and it's just an overall shape and overall dark silhouette. With interesting cuts in and out along the contour, and then filling it in with, you know, 50% gray or 75% gray and then having dark accents and light highlights. And for the light highlights, I'll just be Pull out, basically individual hairs and I won't pull many of those out. It'll give the illusion that there's strands of hair there. That's the secret.
This is often that place that phase that I call the Valley of the suck things can get a little murky in the valley in the valley, the sun isn't shining, its shadow, it's cold. And it's just a metaphor for how I feel. When I get into this shadowy Valley into the middle, and start thinking, I started having doubts. And there's that inner critic, that voice that starts talking at me that this isn't working. It could be better, how come it's taking you so long, all that kind of stuff. It's just there.
So it's better now because I know the voices. So they're not so strong. But they're they're yapping. As soon as it gets a little dark, the hyenas come out, the wolves come out. So I have to be prepared for battle mentally when I'm doing art and I'm just that much more ahead of the game, because of that. So I would suggest For you to be mentally ready to know you're going into a kind of struggle and to use your tools, the allies that you have to overcome your enemies.
I've got a great resource for that. It's called the battle for creativity. And it's a little handbook on how to handle the obstacles of the creative process. It's it's really, really great cheap paint brush with the thumb and pinky. I'm going through and drawing through from the background into the person's hair, eliminating the edges, softening those edges here and there. And that's just a technique a lost and found technique.
I find it creates a lot of visual variety that I really enjoy. And I think it's a great tool. Now, when that bind charcoal. If you try to go over it too many times it starts to take the fine charcoal off the surface. So I'll have to go either in a different direction from the initial strokes that I put on. For example, if I went horizontal with my strokes, I'll go vertical, but even that, it starts to disturb the surface.
It looks messy, and it takes charcoal off. So I'll have to go on with some compressed charcoal charcoal pencil, and that'll kind of draw over the top of it. That way I can go darker if I need to go darker. The vine charcoal won't go 100% black like a compressed charcoal will. It'll go you know, let's say 80% black, but that's about it. Let's say 80% grade to be more precise.
Here I remember really working on the left side of the lips and really looking at the model a lot to figure out where the subtle plane changes are of the corner of upper lip. And right next to the lower lip there. There's things going on there but it's in the shadow so really have to really concentrate and look there's a lot of working and reworking there. They are going over with a compressed charcoal, the buying charcoal that's you can see them there. The compressed charcoal goes black in the vine charcoal is gray, dark gray sculpting out a little rim light with my Tombow racer. Great tool.
They're being careful to keep the lights and darks separated because if I go too dark in the lights I start to get a muddy tonal structure. Let me say that again. If the lights get too dark Then they start to become confused because what's on the light side is starting to read something that should be in the shadows because it's too dark. That leads to confusion, muddy looking drawings. Right, that neck I've gotta resolve that design problem because it's pretty unresolved that point so I keep going back to it to try and figure it out. And I'm seeing what design I can introduce into the background.
Trying to be a little too clever maybe. But now I've got that plastic eraser that used to an exacto knife to cut the sides. So I have the ability to Go Chisel Hard with that thing and sculpt out nice structural shapes with that eraser. You can see I could use it to get these nice lines as well can use it for hair for hair. I haven't done the eyes yet. I'm deliberately holding back to do that at the end.
I think I mentioned that. So want those eyes to be set up. I want to set everything up. All this work that I'm doing is really in service to the teleological goal. Remember the goal is to make this a beautiful portrait. So I'm setting up the values setting up the structure, sculpting each thing so that when I get to the eyes and I pull out the catch light, the highlight coming out from underneath the shadows, it's gonna look like it's gonna be the centerpiece, it's really gonna pop.
And the only way I could do that is to just sneak up on it. I'm just sneaking up on it slowly, little by little. So it takes patience. You've got to have patience for this. Learn to develop your patience and you'll be you'll be okay. I mentioned this but the video is sped up Two times.
So it's twice as fast as normal. Think the whole demo came to three hours or three hours and change. Up to the right just to the side of the drawing, you can see that I'm using it as a place to make some marks to test out the tool before I actually draw on the portrait itself. Sometimes for many times I need to know where that flat surface is on the vine charcoal so I can lay down and nice even tone for a shadow passage or background, Dark Passage also called Clean off the paper stump there. Because if I want to use it on a light area and it's got a bunch of charcoal on it, it'll just create a black smudge right there in the light area. So I'll rub it back and forth on the paper to remove the charcoal.
Remember that knowing your tools and taking time to shape your tools is really important part of this because it's really the difference between you know, making mistakes right in the middle, where you have to halt everything and fix that. Versus you've got your tools pretty well shaped ready to go. And you can just keep moving, you know, so it's a real time saver. And it's basically less of a struggle when you actually put the marks down because they go down the way you want. them and the tools working for you and not against you. sneaking up here on the eyes, getting that lower lid go on and getting some of the lightness into the sclera or the covering the white covering of the eye.
It's very glossy because it's moist. And I'm just going to sculpt out against sneaking up on the iris. See if I can get something going in there. So I've set it up. It's got a nice house to live in. It's got the the structure, the orbit of the eye.
It's got the lids really described well that whole Have over the eye. And so I can go in there and just start to go into the next level of the iris pupil, the sclera. And then again, jumping around some, I'm just jumping to everything that needs attention, I'll spend a little time on it and try to bring everything up to that next level, all over the whole painting. And now that place where the side plane of the nose meets the cheek, that's something that's really tricky because it's doesn't jump out at you and bite you. And you have to look in there and see Is there an edge because there is an edge, it's just a very soft or last one. But there is a plane change in there somewhere.
And it's usually can be gradual, so I have to make that a gradient to kind of transition Oftentimes the nostril on the far side of the nose in this position, it's very tangental but it's there. And it takes a little more detailed work to, to see it and describe it on the paper. I guess it's the structure on the nose can be very elusive. Sometimes that might be a good way to put it. Just like the side plane of the nose into the cheek, it's elusive. When I was a kid, I would draw these Famous people or models, there might be TV show actors, singers models.
And I pick up a magazine around the house. We had a lot more magazines back then, because it wasn't the internet. And I just look and draw something and I was able to have I had a knack for getting a likeness. You know, somewhere around 13 years old, maybe 10 to 13 I could start to do that. And I don't know why. It's just that I was really good at seeing the light and dark puzzle pieces and putting them together in a way proportionally they related to one another that they looked like that person from the photo Some people, they can't see shape relationships well, like the shape part of their brain is very.
They struggle with seeing the heights and widths of certain geometric shapes and how they relate to one another, or even just one shape on its own is difficult. And so that takes for them. That's an area where they have to work that practice it. So some people have other areas they have to work on. That wasn't an area that I had to work on. And I just used my eyes to measure to concentrate, measure and translate what I saw onto the paper.
So I never used a grid and didn't know how to use a grid for a long time. I felt like using the grid was kind of a crutch. And so the best way was to develop my eyes, my own eyes as a tool for measuring. So I got really good at it. That's all that it is. It's not anything special or magic is just using it like a muscle in the gym.
That was working that area on the cheek called the infer orbital triangle. And it's right there. It's a triangle, your triangular shape that the front plane of the orbit of the eye basically is the zygomatic arch changes playing from a top plane to a front plane. And then there's the muzzle of the mouth. The nasal labial fold crosses over it. So you have bone, and then muscle and skin right next to each other.
And where it's dark where the dark triangle is, that's the input orbital triangle. And you'll see that as you can describe it as a plane change. You'll see it on people all the time. But until you've really looked at it or described it, or know some of the anatomical terms, that place will be a mystery for you on the face. But once it's unlocked, it's like, oh, that's what's happening. There's some skin going over bone.
That bone is changing from the top plane to a front plane. I get it. That's why it looks like that. It's a real aha moment. It's so fun. Right now I'm kind of dabbling in the tertiary details, looking at that eyebrows and seeing if I could just describe a few hairs in there but I quickly kind of stopped doing that and go back into defining some structure in the shadow.
Basically it's the, the edge between the light and dark. That is the important information for the shadow. The Edge is what makes something look chisels hard, or soft and round. So chisel hardened square or a soft and round edge. Pretty simple. Now I'm getting into the subtle, very subtle gradations in the shadows.
And when I get those correct, I found that I'll have a bunch of tools in my left hand. There'll be a charcoal pencil, a piece of compressed charcoal, and eraser, and a paper Stump, and they all kind of be clutched in that hand and I'll rotate them. Grab them. Put one back and grab another put one back until I'm ready to take a break. And then I just put, there's about, you know, five or seven of them and put them down on the table in a mess. But it seems to be I'll start with one thing and then gradually add the next tool, the next tool, the next one I'll be having in my left hand because I want it for easy access.
If I put it on the table next to me, then it's just gets mixed up with all the other stuff and I don't know which thing to grab right away. But if it's in my left hand, I can feel for it. And it's all I feel mostly for what's in my head somehow I know what's in my hand. I don't know without looking Okay, I'm using that paper stump to remove the charcoal to describe the whites of the eyes. If I get in there with a razor, it's gonna be too heavy and just take too much off and expose the paper. It'll be too light there.
I find that with the eyes if I just go for it, like draw the pupil and the highlight just doesn't integrate with the rest of the drawing. Somehow. It sticks out It looks wrong. So I just sneak up on it little by little until I'm ready to go for it. Like to remove a highlight very aggressively, or go ahead and put the pupil in. But if I do that before, it's I feel it's ready.
It just suddenly looks wrong. It looks too black or to light and it ruins it ruins the illusion So you can see I'll be working on the eye or the nose and I'll move off, it goes to something else. So I don't know what that process is, I know I'm trying to bring everything up to the same level in the painting. So I'm moving around, but another part of it is maybe just being a little hesitant to go for it, because I want to get it right. So I'm holding back. So I'd taken a little break and done some work and then came back so that accounts for some of the change that you'll see that you saw there.
And so I did get into the left eye and I'm doing the right one and the left one. I put in the pupil and I did that with buying charcoal, just to see the placement test to see if it was right. Then once I got that established, and when head with going ahead with the compressed pencil to lock it in. And this is a further into that with a really dark compressed charcoal. Those are my black accents. I've held back everything until now, to put them there, that's intentional.
And then I'm using my electric eraser to bring out the highlights and it goes right to the white of the page, and it's precise. I love that thing. I think that eraser is made by Sikora, a Japanese company, great for production art, commercial art and even portraiture. It's not cheating to use it in my opinion. Now I made a mistake some covered back up. So I'm gonna have to kind of re approach that pupil and highlight.
I think it just looks slightly off center. So I'm gonna reposition it to the left a little bit. smudge charcoal around so you don't know how I did it. Step back and forth struggle This point, I'm feeling pretty good. I've got out of the valley of the suck. Where everything is dark, you're questioning yourself.
And now I feel pretty good and I'm using that as motivation. That sense of a sense of success is pushing me on here to keep going until I finish up, you've got to use the feelings that come up to your advantage. So if you feel it's sucking in some way, and you're unhappy, use that to motivate you to fix it. Or use that realistically realistic assessment to say I gotta start again. Go ahead and start again. You know, you might have to abandon the thing, halfway or three quarters of the way through, but have the you know, have the courage and use your feelings in a positive way and not in a way to discourage you.
Because you will get there. It's just a matter of time. And your willingness to try and try and try again. That's where the patience and that fortitude of will comes in. You have to be willing to suffer a little bit creating a gradation from the shadow of the upper lip on to the virus. always makes it look kind of moody.
There's still some things bothering me at this point about the piece. And it's the background. I'm not sure. That didn't work exactly how I wanted to some thinking, okay. As I'm doing this, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, how am I going to fix that? What's the process that I'm going to do?
Am I going to erase it out aggressively or am I going to just kind of try to gently smear it around so it's doesn't have so much contrast so you don't look there. So I've got a game plan. It's like the batter on deck and playing baseball there's somebody on deck getting ready to, to hit when it's time is called. So I've got that hitter in the background in terms of a plan and when I call the planner it'll be there are it will help me to have a plan at least even if it fails to go ahead and try to address and fix the problem. So you can see I just drew a couple of hairs pulled a couple of hairs over the helix of the year. So just looks like that edge was a little too Stark and harsh.
So I wanted to break it up in that rubbery racer or really form it to the place that I need to get into and I'll twist it to a very fine tip sometimes To get into really tight places so I can use it very like a thick paintbrush or a very, very thin fine haired paintbrush. So you can see there, right in there at the bridge of the nose I've got, I've got to have a tapered shape. Remember to keep squinting and comparing because when you got your eyes wide open and you start to notice all these details and all these contrasts, and you may sacrifice the whole for individual contrast, instead of the overall impression of of that human base, or whatever it is you're trying to draw. You've got to go for the keep that overall freshness in the first place. in it and squinting and comparing does that and opening your eyes and noticing all the value changes really kind of can start to disrupt.
They can they can be at odds with each other. So just be careful about that. Erase and smudge to smooth out. That's the technique. pulling a few hair eyebrow hairs there. Okay, there's my plan happening with the background is basically to take the Shami and just pull off a lot of that charcoal and start kind of again in the shammies grade because you can just crumple it up and move the vine charcoal around and look like you put a paintbrush through it.
And that's why it feels like painting to me. So the shimmy isn't something I use a lot but it when I need it, it's there is a great tool for applying for moving modifying lots of charcoal. So now I'm going to try and connect to that light shape on the right, that curve going behind his head, extended all the way to the left. So it kind of makes more sense than a diagonal like I haven't before. And then the kneaded rubber eraser again, acts kind of like a shammy because it can look like a paintbrush that you're applying white paint on a middle grade background, it looks a lot like Brush, brush work can start to bring in some value here. Still not entirely sure how it's going to work.
And that can be a bummer. If you've got your drawing up to a certain level. It's looking great and then you have to fix something like the background that you haven't really planned for. That can be a recipe for disaster. So try not to do that. They haven't resolved the neck either.
I'm thinking I know what I want to go for but I don't know if I can get pulled off. I'm getting a little tired at this point. So I'm really needing energy and encouragement to push through to fix these design problems. The neck was didn't look like a cylinder. So I've pulled some charcoal using my thumb around the cylinder type shape that I imagined the neck is that I'm imagining is to be how I want it to be. And then getting the gradation to go the right way.
Game using that championship charcoal to give the hair some treats It's been lagging behind I've neglected it. So I'm using a pretty black, compressed charcoal to go ahead and describe some plain changes and or give it graphic ties it a little bit with these kind of low resolution. brushstrokes that are chiseled brushstrokes, very squared off at the edges going for the background one more time once something there, that's shows that it's part of the whole piece. In other words, it has some thought, but I don't want it to upstage The, the star of the drawing, which is the character himself, the person himself getting that connection between the draw the jaw and the chin to look more convincing. It's another area that's a little murky in the drawing. Because it's murky in the reference.
But as that jaw turns away, To an underplaying and meets the chin. There's something called the die gastric muscle. And it goes from the back of the jaw to the front and really makes it pretty clear plain underneath the jaw. So it's the top part of the bottom of the mouth, basically. And it takes these muscles that are there. And it's kind of like a tie, you know, it just collars them in and groups them together under that chin.
So it's, it's a, it's a definite anatomical kind of landmark. But if you don't know what to look for, in terms of anatomy, it can be elusive. Not only forming the needed rubber eraser into a shape that I can use but I'm refreshing the surface so to speak so that the you know the dirty parts of it are sort of recycled back into the needed rubber eraser and I suppose a more cleaner side cleaner surface that will be more effective Still squinting and comparing and seeing where edges go from hard to firm to soft or lost. Instead of thinking about and the anatomy of the neck, I'll just say what looks dark, what looks like what's a hard edge. What's a soft edge. I think real simple like that.
Otherwise it can be way too overwhelming to think of the collarbone or the clavicle. The hyoid, Mio high low hyoid, sternocleidomastoid all that stuff. It's just No. It's good to know it's there. And I can call it up if I need it but just keeping it simple. How am I going to make that neck look like a cylinder and yet like a neck So we're in the homestretch.
I'm excited because I see things coming together and yet I'm tired. So I'm having to really keep it together. So I can make it through to the finish line. And the fact that it is coming together is giving me that energy to do so. These areas in the shadow where they have this bounce light can be very difficult. I find there's these kind of ambient light bounced light.
You see planes but you don't see planes and get to put something there otherwise it just looks like there's not enough information there. And then sometimes, you know, you put something there, it looks like too much information. So it's calibrating it, putting it in dialing it back. Maybe you dial that back too much, so you got to put it back in again. And that can be a little messy and a little struggle. It's not, you know, great to have it at the end.
When you want to be just putting the beautiful cherry on top. It's kind of No, it's at the end, you want to have less and less work to do instead of still struggling because your energy's going down. But basically, we have pretty finished piece here or a study. We've gone through four distinct phases of toning the paper, doing the line drawing, filling in the darks, pulling out the highlights with the needed rubber eraser. And then modeling the half tones, refining the darks, making sure everything sculptural, and then attending to the secondary and tertiary details to come up with a final portrait. All right, I hope this was helpful and I'll see you in the next video.