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Exercises in Portraiture - 1 by OneFreeInternet Exercises in Portraiture - 1 by OneFreeInternet
I have a few things to say so if you would oblige me, please read on -- and it's quite open for discussion, so you are welcome to leave your views on my views so to speak.


Like I was telling Steve the other night, I am TERRIFIED of portraiture.

Cartoon versions of people are tough, yes, but you get so much more leeway with that it's ridiculous. Once you get the general gist of their facial features a lot of the mistakes you can make, even your laziness, can be forgiven and left up to 'Personal Style'.... Let me explain.

Picking an example out of thin air - Inception fanart of say, Arthur. Few drawings here depict Joseph Gordon-Levitt's under eye bags, hooded eyelids, dimples or receding hairline . All very basic physical traits, and signature physical traits people remember him by, that can be captured in a cartoon but aren't, because of laziness, or fear of making mistakes, or simple lack of practise in finer observation. If you changed his hair and clothes he can magically morph into Cobb or Saito because the reality is some artists don't take the time (or lack the practise) of ascertaining the difference between facial features, genetic differences between race, gaits, and physical height and size differences. Many of us settle once we get the hair color, eye color and clothes 'right'. Once the character has two eyes, a nose and a mouth and visually vaguely resembles the character itself, the person behind that character is lost.. but it doesn't matter because it's "Personal Style"... which irks me but it's personal, rather than a rule anyone should be subjected to living by.

But trying to capture who and what they are according to what you see is the toughest, most rigid and unforgiving zone you could ever venture into.. the world of realism is a militant, dogmatic one. One I've been quite afraid of for many years. Apart from brush techniques, chosen media and caricatures there's little you can forgive in a realism portrait. I hid (and still do hide sometimes) inside the saving wings of 'Personal Style'.. a habit I'm determined to destroy.

Portraiture is more psychologically challenging than technically challenging for me. Both are a challenge.. but the mind is certainly far over the matter!

I feel like nothing is more discouraging than trying to capture a human being with your eyes and heart and have them reject your creation for a plethora of reasons, whether it be because your technical skill isn't the best ("Omg you drew my nose crooked / my eyes lopsided") or because their own insecurities cause them to refuse their own images because the artist may depict not only their best facial features but their flaws as well ("MY FOREHEAD IS NOT THAT BIG!"). This isn't too much of a condemnable issue - I can relate. For example, I have dark circles under my eyes. If an artist were to accurately depict that, every wrinkle and sink, or fine line I had on my face, things I've always been deeply insecure about, it wouldn't matter if the artist drew full lips, crazy cheek bones and wide eyes. I would feel self conscious. I would feel imperfect. I would feel pedestrian. Therefore his portrait, regardless of how accurate it was or not, made me 'feel bad' therefore I'd be tempted to reject it. It's natural, it's human. It's also why I've never asked anyone to draw me.

That being said.. I would love to have a portrait of myself done one day because now I'm aging I have excuses for all that... LOL, and more importantly, I have learned to love me not just in spite of, but because of how I look and still feel beautiful anyway. Whenever I forget that, Steven's happy to remind me haha :heart:

But for the working artist, I've always seen the learning stages of portraiture as an abysmal pit of discouragement. But discouragement is an emotion, and emotions are intangible... therefore they can only interfere with my tangible actions IF I LET THEM.


Long story short, eff that, I'm facing my fears. Exercises... starting wiiiith..... who do you think this is? You tell me.

P.S: Sorry about the phone pictures fellows.. I'm usually sneaking these in between work and I don't have the time to scan small sketches but for the more detailed ones I'll try later, I promise you'll get better quality pictures.

This picture is a few days old but I already see mistakes which means I'm learning.. which is excellent news. Please feel free to leave your critiques too!

Monolith box, 0.3.

Exercises in Portraiture - 2
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mpz28 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
nice :)

i watch someone that does alot off this type off work, you may watch him but heres his site if you aren't already watching :)

thor-god-off-thunder Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
its Katniss! amazing!!
OneFreeInternet Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:hug:! Yay! thank you!
thor-god-off-thunder Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
your welcome ;) i knew who it was immediately :) i even know which scene in the film... very accurate :)
OneFreeInternet Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awww! <3 I'm so happy!
MurphysDinnerParty Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice, I can tell who is already. :D

Portraiture is a challenge. Not everyone can capture a person's personality through portraiture, which is (to me at least), the overall intention and sometimes even more important than likeless. Capturing personality will automatically cause everything else to fall into place. And rightly so, it is intimidating. But you have enough talent to do it. You definitely should put that aside.

If I were you, I would definitely ask people to pose for you so you can practice. At first its going to be intimidating, but eventually you'd get the hang of how to properly capture a person in portaiture. And even more effective, do self-portraits of yourself. The intimidation won't completely disappear, but it'll be less terrifying.
OneFreeInternet Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you're very right to say what you did, personality is truly my biggest challenge.. not sure if the technical captures that without the .. spirit of it inside. I'm still learning how to find that.

You know.. that's not a bad idea.. scares the shit out of me but worth a shot! LOL I.. will try that! Thank you!
draiad Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Digital Artist
Ohhh this is lovely! I'm going to hazard a guess that this is Jennifer Lawrence. I love the look in her eyes =D
OneFreeInternet Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hooray! :DDD
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Submitted on
January 6, 2013
Image Size
2.0 MB


29 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
1/15 second
Focal Length
4 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jan 3, 2013, 10:36:01 PM
Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer 6.1.7600.16385