Drawing Lil Marlene
Doing a portrait from a photo is nothing new, but as time has gone on the technology at my disposal has made these easier and quicker. I took the original photo of my cousin Marlene and scanned it into my computer. From there I printed not just an enlarged copy but also focused on "the triangle" of her face... marlene1
marlene2 I take the prints and 1st do a blind contour drawing* very lightly. Then I go back and refine the drawing until I have a clear outline and start shading.
Shading for me is a feel thing. I tend to let the piece dictate what I do, light to dark or dark to light. With this picture I decided to focus on the hair, starting from the top right and working to the left and down. I added shading to the face and clothes. I focused on the triangle, finishing the details in the eyes and mouth. marlene3
marlene4 The only part left was the black blouse. I use circles the cover large areas. It's actually something I learned using colour pencils. The circles overlapping doesn't leave stroke marks and gives the texture I want while, for the most part, completely filling in the page.
Finally, I touch up the piece. If it was a commission I would let the client see it for any adjustments they might want. Thankfully the commissions are over so I have the final word on when a piece is finished.... marlene5
here's the story that goes with this piece: Lil' Marlene
*Wikipedia: Blind contour drawing is a method of drawing widely used by art teachers, where an artist draws the contour of a subject without looking at the paper. The artistic technique was introduced by Kimon Nicolaïdes in The Natural Way to Draw, and further popularized by Betty Edwards as "pure contour drawing" in The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Betty Edwards' and her book hold a huge place in my heart along with people like Bob Ross.

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