Thursday, June 4, 2015

Practicing Portraits in Black and White

I've done a bunch of high contrast portraits in the last bit of time, mostly using the brush pen.  I like that style and I am going to do more.  But I decided to try using a fine nib fountain pen to do a portrait, to see what I've learned from my brush pen exercises.

For inspiration lately, I've been studying the photography of Vivian Maier.  You can see her work and learn a lot about it at this website. What a story surrounds that woman's life and work and the discovery of it!  

Though my brush pen portraits have all been quick, the lines thrown down in a minute or two or three, I allowed myself a full twenty minutes for this one. 

This is after a photography found on the website linked above, by Vivian Maier, numbered 19XXwoo577-01-MC.

Do you see what an amazing thing she did there with the X shape between the shadow and the man's extended arm?  I didn't see it until I had drawn it.  Which probably says a lot about who poorly I see things!  But that is why I keep my sketchbook--to help me see things better!!

I have no doubt that the quick brush pen portraits I've been doing have helped me begin to understand the basic shapes and shadows of faces and bodies.

I find I'm looking at people a little bit differently!  It's kind of entertaining to be standing waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, watching the person in front of me unload her cart and think, hmm, how would I draw her in black and white?

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