Friday, January 25, 2008

Drawing A Head - 24th January 2008

Drawing a Head - 24th January 2008
pen and ink on Daler Rowney Heavy Cartridge,
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Last night in my 'Drawing A Head' Class, I took a larger piece of paper and set myself a challenge. Three views of the same head - in pen and ink - and no outlining. I had to do all the studies by drawing the value structure using smallish strokes. Here's the result.

I've included an enlargement of one section so you can see how it works.

The trick I find is to stroke in the direction of the contours - if that makes sense and to set up a rhythm so that you can hatch very fast with equal distances inbetween strokes.

I hatch close together for darker values and wider apart for lighter values and then cross hatch only where I need to give more sense to the contours or need a darker value.

I had about 35 minutes for the first one (top), 45 minutes for the second (bottom left) and 30 minutes for the last one (bottom right). However I was sat very close to the model for that last one and was looking up at him and I think as a result I've left an impression of an elongated head!

I was using an Edding 1800 profipen 0.3. This has pigment ink which is lighfast - which means it's feasible to consider selling work done in pen and ink.

I think I'll need a small supply of these with me if I draw a lot more with it as I was beginning to hammer the point by the end given the very large number of very small strokes in these drawings.

You can see other posts relating to my 'Drawing A Head' class by clicking the 'drawing a head' category. in the right hand column


  1. a successful evening :) you are really warming up here.

    Working that way is a great exercise for someone inclined to outline everything .

  2. Thanks both of you - I was fairly happy with the result. It's absolutely nerve-wracking going into the last one as you know you've got 30 minutes tops and it's all on one page!

  3. These are interesting studies and its good to set little challenges for yourself. I think you did very well with this value exercise and in pen and ink too.

    I'm quite partial to using pen and ink as it challenges me to think carefully about line placement, knowing I can't erase.

  4. I think the important thing is to continue to challenge yourself - and not continue to repeat what you know how to do already.

    Pen and ink is absolutely wonderful for making you LOOK and THINK about what you're doing.

  5. Very nice work Katherine! Great way to stretch your art muscles.

  6. Three on one piece of paper is a real challenge! You must have nerves of steel knowing that the last one could bring it all undone. Great to have a closeup look at your hatching too. Terrific drawings.

  7. Excellent heads, Katherine! I am curious about one thing in the head drawing process. How close do you sit, as a rule? In our class I'm probably 10-12 feet away and I'm having a real struggle seeing the features. My eyes just may not be suited for drawing from life unless it's something BIG (like a landscape.)

  8. Cindy, Robin and Karen - thanks

    Karen - good question! OK I moved inbetween each pose so it's three different distances which I estimate to be (going from top right in an antic-clokwise fashion) to be:
    - about 10-12 feet
    - about 7-8 feet
    - about 6 feet (the trick is to not use and easel and then get in front of the people with the easels!)

    Remember I was drawing values rather than detail - which I think makes drawing from a distance a lot easier. Most of the drawings in my 'drawing a head' gallery on my website are done from around 10-12 feet.


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