Welcome to the second installment of the Sktchy App #30faces30days challenge – the drawing & oil pastels edition! I wanted to try a variety of techniques during the challenge, which I realized later made the challenge more challenging. Live and learn. If you missed the last post featuring some of the first paintings, you can find that here. The days will be out of sequence because I wanted to keep all of the drawings in this post.
Day 2 – AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
The inspiration image for day two was very appropriate as I began to realize how time intensive this challenge was going to be. I felt like I was already behind with the first day image since I had intended it to be a drawing but had to switch to painting it instead.
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The image for day two was difficult because of the unusual facial expression and the introduction of hands. For any beginner portrait artist, having to deal with both an extreme expression AND hands is just plain mean! OH but wait – I forgot the teeth! Teeth are SOOOOO HARD TO DO. If I were a beginner I probably would have quit after day two or just skipped this image. I applaud any of the newbie artists out there that accepted this challenge!
The “scribble technique” is something I used to do many, many years ago as it can be forgiving and liberating at the same time. I had trouble with her eyes since they are basically rolled back into her head. I also had the mouth off for a good portion of the drawing but got it back eventually. The inspiration photo has two hands. I cut one of them off which is probably why she is screaming.
Day 7 – The Experiment
For the drawing below, I thought I’d try an experiment based on a 4-color intaglio printmaking process I had done in college. I decided to draw this in ArtRage on my iPad Pro using the ink tool (since the pencil tool failed me so miserably on day one). The advantage to doing this in ArtRage was that I could use layers to try to mimic the 4-color process effect. If you’d like to see a weird little video showing the 4-C process in printmaking, you can find it here.
I never use layers in ArtRage because I like painting in the alla prima style and because I end up getting confused with which layer I’m on. For this drawing, I had to have four layers. One for cyan (C), one for magenta (M), one for yellow (Y) and one for black (K). This is the classic CMYK process used for just about any image you see printed.
For the most part I would say the experiment was a success. I think I would have to play with some of the effects on the layers to get the colors to “mix” a little better, but overall I’m happy with how it turned out.
Also, props again to any beginning artist trying to draw or paint an older person. Seriously, Sktchy wasn’t making this challenge easy by any means.
Besides the iPad version, ArtRage also has two affordable desktop versions that are worth checking out. ArtRage 5 is the most feature rich program and ArtRage Lite is the introductory version under $30.
Day 10 – Speaking Of A Challenge!
Holy smokes, when I saw the image for day ten come through I was excited to get started on it until I got started on it! Once I got going I realized how difficult the goggles were going to be. There is a clear molded portion of the mask right below the goggles that’s supposed to cover the nose. Ummm, super sucky to try to draw. Especially for beginners!
I know I keep saying that, but when you get on the app you see all of the novice artists who are taking on the challenge I have to wonder how many of them got discouraged and gave up. I know I would and I almost did on this one.
The other challenge with this image was the water. It’s a tough effect to capture when there are a lot of ripples. I didn’t end up finishing this drawing as I ran out of time. Speaking of time, I probably spent at least four hours on this one.
Day 15 – Scribble Pipe Man!
The inspiration photo for day fifteen of the #30faces30days challenge was really cool and I wanted to paint it, but didn’t have time. So I decided to scribble this dude out. And, for once, it was really fun! For so many of the inspiration images there were things that tripped me up. This image – even though he had a beard (challenge), glasses (challenge), and a pipe (not a challenge) – I enjoyed every minute of it. Some days artists are just more in a state of “flow” and everything comes together easily. “Scribble Pipe Man” found me on one of those days.
Day 17 – A Bald Head With A Big Vein
To be honest, I was going to skip this image. He looked dark and somewhat evil and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to paint or draw him. But this image had really nice contrast which is great to work with, especially in drawings. I decided to try out the charcoal feature in ArtRage to see how much control I would have. Since I don’t have much luck with real life charcoal as I end up smudging it and breaking the sticks quite often, I thought this would be a good option.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the tool. It wasn’t a smooth ride by any means but it turned out better than I had anticipated. I was trying not to do my scribble technique in this drawing but I couldn’t help myself and worked a little in here and there.
Day 19 – I Had NO TIME To Do This One
I was getting pretty tired by this point in the #30faces30days challenge. When this image came up I decided to do another charcoal sketch since I had some success with day seventeen. This guy was holding a cigarette in the inspiration image and I had no desire to draw that thing. Once I got into the portrait, I was having trouble with his likeness especially on the left side of the drawing.
One of the things with painting and drawing is that you are always making corrections as you go. Sometimes there are more corrections that need to be made. Eventually I got to a pretty good likeness of this guy, but ended up scratching and hatching out around his face to get the drawing finished. It was late and I needed to go to bed!
Day 22 – Let’s Try Oil Pastels
Since I had gotten a little more comfortable with the charcoal on previous days, I decided to try color and work with an oil pastel technique. I’ve always loved the soft look of oil pastels and wanted to give it a go. The only problem was that I didn’t have any oil pastels!
Once again I decided to see what I could do within the ArtRage program. Since the ArtRage app is fantastic for painting in the alla prima style, I thought maybe I’d be able to achieve a good result with the pastels. I’m so glad I tried it out!
It took me awhile to figure out how to paint with the pastel tool. If you are thinking that painting digitally is easier than painting traditionally, you’d be kind of right and kind of wrong. What is easier is that you don’t have a lot of paints, brushes, papers etc. to lug around with you. You also don’t have to worry about lighting, which was a huge factor for me at the time I took on the challenge.
What’s not easier is that you still have to do the drawing, correct your mistakes, get your colors and values right, and paint like you would traditionally. This pastel painting took me well over four hours to complete. Maybe even six or more hours. It was fun to learn and great practice.
Day 23 – Time To Scribble Things Out Again
Since day twenty-two took me so long because I was learning a new technique, I decided for day twenty-three I would go back to my loosey-goosey scribble method.
The challenge with the braided woman was that the lighting for her was coming from below. Because of that, the shadows were not in the places you would normally see them. Usually there would be a shadow under the nose, but the inspiration image had more light under the nose and darkness on top of it.
Again, I can’t imagine being a beginning artist with the #30faces30days challenge. I’ve done portraits for a lot of years and never have had images as difficult as these.
Day 25 – Another Beard!
Every time I am faced with painting or drawing a beard I get a little anxiety. They aren’t the easiest things in the world to capture artistically.
This one had the added challenge of needing to be drawn from a “worms eye view”. Of course, I went back to my comfort zone and scribbled my way through this. I would’ve gone back in with white and added hightlights to increase the drama, but ran out of time. Too bad beard man!
Day 26 – Trying Oil Pastel One More Time
I loved the oil pastel effect of day twenty-two and decided to give it another try. This technique definitely takes much longer than the scribble drawings. I see it somewhere between drawing and painting. I would probably be able to do this faster drawing it out on paper, but my studio table is in the kitchen and little Penelope, my doglet, is afraid of the kitchen and prefers I sit with her on the couch. She’s been sick with congestive heart failure and wants me near her at all times. And of course, I want to be near her too!
With this pastel painting I found the biggest challenge to be in the lighting that was coming through her hair. I didn’t get her likeness exactly but it still looks like her. I have some mistakes around the mouth area. But the thing is, I don’t think portraits need to be exact.
One of the problems with working from photos instead of life is that you always go back and compare the photo to the art. This can be crazy making and for me and usually makes me paint too tight.
I love doing representational art, but I also love the idea of painting more loosely with some abstraction in my art. When we look at people, we don’t see all of their features in full focus like you do in a photograph. Some of the best artists out there understand how the brains “sees” and may paint one area a little more in focus and allow the rest to be less fussy. I’m not there yet but with practice and a little “letting go” I’ hope to get there one day.
Final Installment of the #30faces30days Challenge Coming Soon
I’ll be posting the final ten images of the challenge in the next couple of weeks. I’ve decided to not post one of the images because I can’t stand it. I didn’t like the inspiration image and I don’t like the painting I did from it, so it’s OUT. Sorry, but I don’t want to look at it anymore.
I created a coffee mug, iPhone case and cards featuring some of the artwork from the #30faces30days challenge for myself, but then other people started asking about where to get them. If you are interested in any of these items, you can find them on Zazzle right here.