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  1. Helium Atom Straight Male
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    Default Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    EDIT: Does anyone know how to make the image sizes smaller? I just realized how huge they come up on here.

    Hey guys, I have been drawing my girlfriend for Art 1 for about a week, and I'm almost done.
    In Art 1, we have an incompetent teacher who hasn't taught us anything. This frustrates me because I have never taken an art class before and really want to learn how to do.. art stuff.
    I showed this to the Honors Art teacher yesterday and she's been helping me on it.

    This was how it started and she's told me to change some things and it's come out like this so far:

    Here are my references. You can tell which one I used primarily.

    I've done a few other drawings in Art 1, but this is my first one where I have really tried to work on shading/dimensions. It's the first time I've used a tortilla (or w/e the rolled paper is).
    So please tell me things I am doing right and wrong so I can improve.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out!

  2. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    Face is crooked, the mouth is to the left. Also, her face is too tall, it's probably the nose being too long. Or consider lowering her eyes.

    The nose looks odd, the nostrils and tip are the same size. Her chin looks too asymmetrical. Make the eyebrows a bit more wider.

    Good job on the hair.

  3. Helium Atom Straight Male
    IGN: SeeMeTwice
    Server: Scania
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    Farm: Wisteria ~ Mississippi

    Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    Ah, dang. I was making the face crooked/mouth to left to kind of match the pose she was doing, but now that I see it, it is really bad. That's upsetting.
    I will work on fixing the nose and eyebrows. How should I change the chin to be better?
    You think there's any way to change the crookedness/mouth to make it look normal without redoing the whole piece? If not, I'll probably just have to hand it to her as is. She probably won't notice, but I will be sure to try and do that better.

  4. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    I can't help with traditional mediums, but I can try to critique at least~! Straight-on views like this are particularly difficult as you're working with something that's fairly flat.

    First, look at the shape of her skull. Think of how the skull has two parts: the cranium and the mandible. The cranium is taller than it is wider, but not by much ― somewhere in the ballpark of 1 width = 1.25 height. The jawline is fairly angular, whereas you smoothened it quite a bit in your drawing.

    When you're breaking down a face, you can divide it into three sections. iirc, they're around:

    1. Hairline to brow bone.
    2. Brow bone to bottom of nose.
    3. Bottom of nose to bottom of chin.

    For your girlfriend, notice how her forehead has the largest ratio in both images. 2 and 3 seem to switch depending on which picture I look at, but you're able to get the best references for this.

    When you're drawing and have references, I hope you keep the reference with you as you draw. It really helps.


    • You've made her face oval shaped with softened edges. The jawline in particular is very off this way. Notice how angled the reference photos are from your drawings.
    • Her forehead is much larger than what you've made it out to be.
    • If you were trying to imitate the same hairstyle as the reference photo, you're a little ways off. I'll comment on this later if that's what you were aiming for.
    • The size of her eye is about the same size as her nose/nostrils area.
    • Her eyes are also wider apart, maybe 1.25-ish width of an eye from each other.
    • For the nose, notice how the bridge dips down and then pops out where it meets the nostrils.
    • When you smile, there's a muscle that pulls up the corner of your lips. How much these corners are pulled affects the cheeks.
    • There's another couple of muscles that help pull the lower lip down, which affect the appears of the lower jaw area.
    • For more specific how2do for the facial features, this guy has pretty nice tutorials.

    I think the biggest thing you need to think about is shape and structure. Once you get form down, it'll be easier to understand future things like lighting.

  5. ᗧ ᗣ ᗣ ᗣ Straight Male
    IGN: Helsinki
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    Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    I'm mostly self-taught in arts (although I'm graduating from an art school now), you should listen to raizoo but here are a few more general tips from the top of my head:

    • Perhaps the most important thing in portraits is the ratio and placement of things. If you're beginning with portraits it would help to have the reference picture in same size that you're going to draw. Nowadays it's easy to change the size on computer. Like raizoo said, have the reference close to you when you draw.
    • Focusing on key areas. These would be eyes and nose, getting those right will make the drawing a lot more recognizable. After those focus on the mouth.

    Resizing pictures can be easily done in many photo editing programs. You could download GIMP and resize the image there. You can also do this in paint but the quality will suffer. See here for more:

  6. ~Thrust Into It~ Straight Male
    IGN: Sn1perel1te
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    Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    I recommend getting a good photo of her straight on without her tilting her head or anything. Start out drawing light, draw a basic idea of the face, outlining it by the hairline. From there, work picking out key features and placing them in the correct positions on the face, such as the eyes, nose and mouth. From there, work on shading to make the face more 3 dimensional.

  7. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    The shading on her teeth makes it look like gaps rather than the gum line.

    Remember when you smile your gums are an upside down triangle only at the top (since in general, flash photography hides the spacing between each individual teeth).

    So only very lightly draw in spacing past the gum line.

  8. Helium Atom Straight Male
    IGN: SeeMeTwice
    Server: Scania
    Job: Band of Thieves
    Guild: Perpetual ~ Nocti
    Farm: Wisteria ~ Mississippi

    Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    Okay, from now on I will keep structure in mind (and start out with drawing the 3 seperate parts of the face?). I do keep my references by me, but they were on my phone which isn't really.. the most optimal place to have them. For traditional drawings, would it be best if I looked at a computer image?
    I will harden out the chin, I knew something was up, but now I do see the differences in how I drew it and the references. I think the forehead is larger because I put the eyes too high? I did notice they are closer than they should be. I used the reference hairs roughly, but changed it up to fit how easily I could draw it and to cover up part of the jaw (which is what I thought was wrong with the jaw until now I see it is the chin).
    Yeah, I guess I just need to look up and really study the shape of a face before I try any more of this, because there is a lot I have done wrong here. A lot of it I can't change because it would take starting the whole thing over :x but I will do as much as I can and save this page/the one you sent me so I can try to better what I'm doing in the future.

    Yeah, I think the thing that hurt me the most (besides obviously having no idea what I'm doing) was the picture I chose to reference.

    I will change that asap.

    Thanks everyone for the help!

  9. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    You might need a real picture in form of photo or you can print the picture for your own reference. My lecturer said, if you want to do figure drawing, you need physical reference or physical real photo pictures.

    I agree with raizoo though. Structure is important when it comes to figure art. You need to make sure the important distinctive parts like eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheeks with maintained proportions, based to your references. If I were you, I would do reverse technique drawing, charcoal on boxboard or plywood as for media. Reverse technique is good and easy for figure drawing, as long as you can control proportion, lighting and your strokes.

    I got a trick for you. Try print the reference picture in black and white form. Then you can study more on the lighting and shading, since you made the work in black and white.

  10. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    If you're asking about saving the current work, there's quite a bit to "fix" if you're going for a photo-realistic portrait. That being said, it's already pretty good since I can see the resemblance already. Sorry if I come across as overly critical; I'm just trying to be as honest as possible.

    For future improvement though, here's some comments:

    Print out your reference and draw a grid of 1" squares on it with pencil. Do the same (very lightly) on your drawing paper; use the squares as references for shapes so that you can get the shapes accurately. If you're struggling to get the shapes right with 1" squares, or if your reference photo is small, then reduce the size. If you also struggle with that, then just trace out basic forms directly from the reference. Prevent yourself from consciously/sub-consciously thinking "oh this is the ____ so it should look like ___ " and drawing like that. For example, most people, when starting out with portraits, see an eye and first draw an oval with pointed ends. That's completely wrong.

    The only times you should draw actual -lines- with your pencil/charcoal is when you're either doing fine details, e.g. hair, or when you're lightly tracing out blocks of shadows/forms, e.g. think of making shapes for paint-by-number. Hard lines don't exist in reality. Work on your shading/drawing technique (I can't tell which it is just from your drawings), which looks very "sketchy". It gives the feeling of "I'm not really sure what to do here, so I'll draw several lines here and hope that the composite is somewhere near where it should be." For some shading drills, try making smooth gradients and shading spheres. In addition to tortillons, you can use tissue paper(but no cream obviously) or even toilet paper to smooth out large areas of your drawing, such as cheeks. Fingers work quite well too, but they leave oils on the paper and it's really easy to accidentally transfer graphite to other papers of the paper.

    Use a wider range of tones, i.e. make your blacks darker and make your highlights whiter. Do this by making several passes at shading rather than pressing harder; it's tedious but is worth it in the end. Giving your drawing more contrast makes it more vibrant and lifelike.

    Specific parts:

    Hair: Here's an example
    The video skips a huge part of the long process, but here's the gist of it:
    1. Lay down tones first. Use the direction of the hair as strokes, but don't make your lines very defined or hard.
    2. Smooth out the shading with a tortillon. Repeat step 1 as needed to build up dark areas.
    3. Using a finer tip pencil, work in the details. Don't press down hard with the pencil unless it's a very distinct hair that sticks out; just lightly draw in the direction of the hair, using an eraser to remove highlights and/or errors.
    4. Repeat step 3 a gazillion times.

    Eyebrows: Use the same process as hair. Block out the general shape of the whole eyebrow first, then tone, then put in details. If you compare with the reference, I think it's pretty obvious that you oversimplified the eyebrows into thin black lines.

    Eyes: Some of this has to do with the poor resolution of your reference photo, but the eyes are not pitch black. Even in your reference you can see some subtle shades and several points of light reflecting off. The eyes look outlined. I'm not sure if this is because you outlined it in the first place or because of the eyelashes. If it's the first case, then get rid of that habit. If it's the second, use the method similar to hair and just bite the bullet and draw every single hair as you see it instead of just putting it all around the eye because you "know it's there".

    Nose: The shape is too thin and boxy. Also, there's not enough shading to give it the feeling of roundness. I have a really good drawing reference book which shows that the nose can be simplified into three spheres, but unfortunately I can't get a scan of it right now. Sphere shading exercises will come in handy for this part.

    Mouth: Again, don't outline. Define shapes more clearly (teeth look particularly "sketchy").

    Everything below the chin: oversimplified. Then again, I get the feeling you were just aiming for the head (important) so I can understand why.

  11. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    The most important thing with art is to keep trying!
    Try not to think of things as "separate". It's hard for me to explain when we're just looking at a face, but that rule of thirds is just to help you see the different ratios of a face. Trying looking at other people's faces as well, like Jay Leno. It's also a tool used to when you're trying to caricature someone!

    It's important to look at the image as a whole and then break it down because everything is related to each other. If you ever do life drawing, knowing landmarks will help understand how things relate to each other better.

    If you do an image piece by piece, say, you spend an hour doing the eye and that's all you have done, your other areas will suffer. Instead, as others have mentioned, lightly go over where you want things to be placed and keep adjusting in this stage. That's not to say you can't adjust things later on, but it's important you create a good base to work on. Try to work on the entire image at once. That sounds daunting, but it just means don't focus on one key part at a time or your proportions will look completely off.
    Yeah, I think her forehead is a little over 1/3 of her face, her brow to bottom of nose is about 1/3, and her bottom of nose to chin is a little under 1/3.

  12. Helium Atom Straight Male
    IGN: SeeMeTwice
    Server: Scania
    Job: Band of Thieves
    Guild: Perpetual ~ Nocti
    Farm: Wisteria ~ Mississippi

    Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    What exactly is reverse technique? And wow. Thank. You. I don't know why I didn't think of using a black and white picture!

    No, I do appreciate all criticism because I know it'll just make me better if I use what more experienced people have told me. Do know this is my first srs bsns drawing, so I can't be expected to be anywhere close to perfect haha.
    I did exactly what you laid out for hair. I am in the process of using the same steps to change the eyebrows. I do not know what you mean by 'don't outline the eyes.' I trace the forms of images and then go over them with increasingly confident lines. Is that what you mean/how should I change that habit? I haven't drawn eyelashes at all. Teacher said to save them for last.
    I don't know what you mean by outlined mouth/sketchy teeth, but today I tried to make the mouth more defined and the teeth separations lighter.
    Under the chin is under simplified, but that's also because I don't know how to draw that well/completely anyways

    Yeah, I've started to sit down in a different room/outside every day and sketch what I see for a good 20 minutes. I'll start looking up correct ways to shape/begin things so that I can build off of that instead of learning to do something the wrong way and screwing myself over.

    I worked on the drawing during class today:


    • Darkened mouth
    • Sharpened chin
    • Lightened lines seperating teeth
    • Tried to straighten and even out mouth/nose so that the face is more balanced. I'll keep working on this.
    • Tried to fix the shading on the nose. I don't know how much it helped.
    • Erased eyebrows and tried to redo them as suggested. They didn't turn out how I wanted them too, so I will try again tomorrow.
    Last edited by See; 2013-05-14 at 10:55 PM.

  13. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    Reverse technique is a drawing that use charcoal as medium to draw on surface like paper, box board, plywood, primed canvas but you start with blackening all the drawing with charcoal, then you start to draw using eraser or white charcoal / white chalk to make lighting. And you don't need to worry about shading, you just focus on lighting and structure for recognized parts like eyes, nose, chins etc.

    That's what I learnt when I studied in Fine Arts for my diploma level.

  14. Default Re: Critique my drawing skills, Southperry

    The teacher/advisor for my portfolio class was extremely "traditional" in that she really disliked it when people jumped to drawing "what a human should/usually looks like" before being able to draw "exactly what the reference shows you, nothing more nothing less." Some of my critique might not be able to apply to you because you started off with two references (if I didn't misunderstand you), so you're not drawing a 1:1 "copy" of your reference. So it's a bit irrelevant for me to point out how some parts of your drawing might not match up to your reference, because it seems like you're not basing it off of just one reference. You can either base your drawing off of what's actually there, or base it off of known ratios in human features, but if you try to mix and match both you'll end up with something that has neither, unless you happen to be really skillful already. Capiche?

    Yes, that's what I mean. Well I can't really comment since I haven't seen you in the process of drawing so I'm not sure what exactly you are doing . Tracing forms is good (might want to work on making it more accurate, too), but only as guidelines. These lines should be so light that you can just dab it with an eraser and it'll disappear. So for example, in the eyes:
    [IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>[/IMG]
    The outer edge of the eye is equally dark and thick in both places where the arrows point (actually almost all around the eye except where the tearduct is). That's not actually what's happening in the reference. Again it's hard for me to point out how it should be because I don't know which reference you're basing it off of. If it's your second reference, if you look closely, there's a small highlight on the inner ridge of the eye, and instead of a line, it's actually a gradient going out from the eye. Bleh, it's really hard to describe without drawing it; sorry if I'm being absolute unintelligible. One artbook I've read described it as (paraphrased) "Almost all 'lines' that you see are actually edges formed between dark and light areas".
    [IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>[/IMG]
    [IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>[/IMG]
    If you look at this drawing, there are no actual lines around the outer part of the eye. It always blends out or forms an edge.



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