Finished Portrait!

Finished Portrait, 10.13.15

Finished Portrait, 10.13.15

And, the finished portrait of this particular young woman!  I was feeling a bit uneasy about it when I posted it yesterday, but one thing I’ve learned about drawing since I started this blog is not to judge an unfinished drawing prematurely.  I’m more pleased with the outcome of this one than I thought I would be.

That being said, I’m not totally happy with it, ha ha!  I never am.  Next time I do something like this I’ll spend more time laying out the features & trying to get the proportions right – but I don’t think this is bad.  I did end up redoing the lips & I think they look better than they did yesterday, but I still need practice.

Another thing I find tricky is drawing lighter shadows.  I like dark, bold areas, like the left side of the face, but when it comes to more subtle shading, I have some difficulty with that (near the right eye, the ear & that side of the face, for instance).

The whole thing’s not as life-like as I was going for.  I’m not trying to draw super realistically, but it still looks a little cartoonish/illustration-y/stylized.  I don’t think that’s a bad quality!  But I’d like to be able to do both things, if that makes sense.

Things that I like:

  • The dark, bold shading!
  • The eyes – I generally like drawing eyes
  • The hair was pretty fun – not perfect, but I kind of like the messiness
  • The nose is alright – I still need to work on noses, but this one turned out ok

And that’s all!  I’m glad I took the time to finish this one.

20 thoughts on “Finished Portrait!

  1. I completely agree with your assessment about what worked great in this drawing! And nobody does perfect art anyway (some professionals get more of it right than non-professionals, but I think even they make mistakes…maybe only they can spot them, but mistakes nonetheless). 🙂


    • Ah, good! At least it seems I’m good at noticing my stronger points!

      And I think you’re right about nobody doing perfect art. At least in my experience with other artsy things, I’m never 100% satisfied with what I do, which is probably not a bad thing as long as I’m not too hard on myself. Gives me motivation to keep pushing myself to improve.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You and I work similarly but take different paths with shading/shadows. You say you like bold shadows. I tend to dwell in the gray area out of fear of smearing or shading too much. 🙂 But, I too struggle with improving my skills with portraits among other things. It’s vexing. I like cartoons; but sometimes I want to make impressive, lifelike drawings, too. We both need more practice and time with models/photos.

    I would not be surprised if I saw someone’s work as perfect and they still felt bad about some part of it. That just seems to be the twisted curse of creativity.


    • Ah, interesting! Yes, I can understand that fear. I suppose when I start putting down really dark outlines & shading, I’m thinking “Welp, hope I don’t mess this up!” But I’m more timid about the lighter stuff, definitely – harder for me to do it properly. Either way, you’re right. I really want to improve at drawing the human figure, so I’ll need to spend a lot more time practicing.

      The twisted curse of creativity – I know exactly what you mean, ha ha. And I’m sure most artists/musicians/writers/etc could absolutely relate if they’ve ever been complemented on something they did and are surprised because they can see so many faults with it.


      • But, with the “lighter stuff,” you have room to layer it. It’s often the dark, bolder strokes that kinda say, “This is it; like it or not; there’s no going back.” I dunno. I can stress myself out with either one. I need to break this fear of mistakes.


        • I know what you mean, ha ha! I guess I feel like I can’t really mess up a dark line, because the darker the better, but it does take a leap of faith. And it doesn’t always work out.

          With my lighter shading, I’ll try to put it down where I observe it on the object/model/photo/etc, but it never looks quite right compared to the darker stuff. Feels like it’s just sort of floating there, incomplete.


          • I have messed up plenty of dark lines. Especially recently when trying to put a border on something. Just a border I screwed up! I try using a Sharpie with a ruler, and somehow I either go crooked or smear some area. It got so frustrating, I just started stippling and hatching a choppy border instead of trying for the straight, thick line. I am even more nervous using a thicker tip. I’m always working longer than necessary with the finest of tips…..oh, it’s infuriating.

            I envy any artist who can sit on TV and whip up a drawing with a marker and no pencil underneath. I need to develop that freedom of movement.


            • Drawing with ink/pen can be quite stressful, but also freeing in a way. I guess you need to embrace the mistakes, because sometimes they can work out for the better and give a drawing more character. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself, ha ha – I suppose it doesn’t always work out that way. With my recent ink drawings, my lines are never perfect, but it’s cool anyway.

              But maybe it’s like improvising in music – there are no wrong notes. It’s just how you approach those “wrong notes”, whether you do so with confidence & embrace them, that ends up making them sound like they belong – or not!


              • Freeing if you throw caution to the wind and just draw what your heart wants without concern for perfection. But, when you want to create something “professional quality,” my hand locks up and my brain malfunctions.

                Yes, I am terrible at rolling with/accepting mistakes. I have become so “tight” with playing ROMs of old video games; I can’t let myself make many if any mistakes without resetting. Mmm…I am not sure my mistakes give the pieces I make more character…unless having a flat face or proportions out of sorts is character.

                Yea, positive reinforcement. I see what yer doing. 🙂

                I think the most freeing method of creating just might be working next to someone you love on a project or drawing for a game of Pictionary in which all that matters is you convey a thought from your drawing.


                • I’m also giving myself positive reinforcement in saying all this, heh! I can be super insecure about everything I do. It’s like my brain is my own worst enemy. It’s easy to say “Hey, just let go & be free to make mistakes!” but to actually let yourself do it is a totally different thing. I’m still working on it myself. So I’m trying to tell myself that mistakes are a way to learn! And sometimes they look pretty cool.

                  Oddly enough, working with someone else on a creative project can be even more stressful for me! Then I’m more worried about the quality of my work!


                  • Oh, definitely. My brain can be quite the enemy. But, to say it’s my worst enemy? That seems awfully nice to all the creeps I have and could encounter in this world.

                    I guess it boils down to standing on a ledge and either taking a leap or backing away. Some day, we will feel so high or low and just jump. When you’re high, you feel like nothing can stop you from trying. And, when you’re low enough, you just don’t care if you make that mistake. You just have to put something on paper.

                    What’s just as bad or worse: You work hard enough at something to get it just right; and then someone comes along and points out what they don’t like about your work. [And, sometimes, that critic is me.] Suddenly, your perfection is a nuisance to someone (else). And, while you could blow this off and say, “No, it’s perfect; I don’t care what you think,” you might or should take into account this person is part of a potential audience. And, without that audience, who is admiring our work but our lonely selves?

                    I am not sure I learn from my mistakes…but I suppose it has to happen eventually. One day it’s just horrible, and the next it hits you: You can do something differently next time.

                    I also can’t say I can recall any “cool” mistakes. That may just be because my memory space is flooded with anxieties and my latest project which can seem quite complex when I let the gears spin.

                    It shouldn’t be more stressful to work with someone if you like their company. But, if they make you nervous or disagree on too many points, sure. I prefer to think the right partner–like the Wright Bros. or those ice cream guys or Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston–could speed things along and give you at least one person who’s happy to see your work succeed and actually knows its worth. [Versus those who just support you because they either want a free copy to indulge their curiosity or they live vicariously through people like you who they feel somewhat fortunate to know.] Why would you worry about your work more with a partner?


                    • Hey, sorry for the delay!

                      I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt that anything (creative) I’ve ever done was perfect. Sometimes I’m more satisfied than other times, but there’s always that feeling that I can do better next time, that I want to keep trying to improve. And I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with that – probably a natural feeling for many people & one which keeps driving us to keep doing stuff. I just don’t want to get stuck in the trap of spending forever to perfect one thing.

                      I’m sure you’ve made cool mistakes! Those times when you meant to do something different, yet something else came out in the end & it actually works pretty well. But maybe it’s harder to see when you’re right in the thick of it.

                      I can’t speak from experience working collaboratively with another person when it comes to drawing/painting/etc, but definitely when it comes to music. Maybe it shouldn’t be more stressful, but it is for me. 🙂 Lots of anxiety, ha ha. I get pretty nervous – it’s like I’m being exposed. It’s a very vulnerable thing for me. Even if I really like & respect the person, it’s quite scary! I’m working on it, though!


                    • I think I’d be just as creative/productive–if not more–if I could finish something to satisfaction and then move onto another piece. Not being satisfied kinda wears you down, I think.

                      How are you sure I make cool mistakes? How? 🙂

                      Well, the best cure for anxiety, I think, is collaboration or group therapy. Occasionally exercise helps.


  3. @ writingbolt : I’ve run out of nested comments space. 🙂 Yeah, I force myself to collaborate with other people. Slow progress, but it helps. I need to do more of it.

    I don’t know for certain you make cool mistakes, but I think odds are you have, ha ha!


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