First there was some hard work. I’d work on the curves and the lines and the proportions while drawing a model with the head to my chest, ears to my chest, feet to my hips, and face off to my neck. I think it takes about 5-7 minutes for the model to look in the mirror looking a bit weird. Then it was figuring out what muscles to use and how to move and look and look and look.
At that point, the final drawing was always going to need a lot of fine-tuning.
The next part was really simple – finding colors. I started the whole process with a lightbox and looking up colors online, but the results were never quite the same. After a couple of tries at each color on the reference photo, it became much more natural for me to experiment with different light sources on the model while the drawing was in progress. I found the color yellow to be the most versatile.
The “eye” and the backside of the face
I ended up using a few neutral colors – black and white, but I think I always got away because I kept seeing the same things in the same locations as I did on the photo. I started with a soft, flat skin tone – I didn’t want to do a lightened up version because I wanted the backside to be “full” and be defined by the outline of the neck.
I tried several different lighting solutions, including direct sunlight, indirect sun, moonlight, and a bit of “highlighted” light, which made me want to yell “What the hell am I doing??!” I ended up using ambient light and using a combination of the two. The ambient light on the model was very difficult at first because the color was going to always be “un-set” (there wasn’t a gradient to follow) and it would look really blue, but the other colors were the perfect compliment.
When the model was complete, I added details and started to add color to the skin and then draw eyebrows. I used a lot of green on the forehead to make it glow a bit. I’ve tried to stay away from using light and shadows on the face, because it’s usually much easier to draw them on the model itself than it is when it’s in the camera. This also means the shadows on the face don’t really stick to the skin, but just disappear under the skin, which is great for blending out the flesh
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