Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
I'm super excited to share week 2 of my 12-part portrait drawing series, "Whimsical Women of the World!"
I got so into this series, I've decided it's BOOK WORTHY!!! Even better - I'm inviting YOU to join me in this process!!
Simply draw along with me in any video from the Whimsical Women of the World series, and submit a digital version of your artwork here.
This week we are drawing a woman from India, and I've found another gorgeous art reference photo for us to use!
I've found drawing in a series is fun because it gets me out of my comfort zone! I think it's so easy to fall into a habit of drawing the same whimsical types of faces- but if we take a moment to look at all the different human facial features across our ethnicities around the world, it is just gorgeous! Not to mention all the variations of color in our skin tones... it's beautiful to work with as an artist!
I think you'll love our reference photo today as much as I do!
There are a few things I found really unique about this image. I love the lighting on her face. It's rare to find a photo where a highlight goes exactly down the the center bridge of the nose! That calls for some dramatic shading - which I'm a huge fan of, so this photo really called to me.
I also love how huge her eyelids are. They happen to be basically the same shape I love to draw for my Fun, Fab Faces, so I was thrilled to find this in a photo from real life ;)
As I started to draw, I did find this particular face to be a bit tricky because the top of her head actually extends off the page. This makes sketching in her eyeline a bit more difficult. Watch how I do it in the video, and you'll be fine to do it on your own!!
Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't look like mine, if it doesn't look like the reference photo - it's fine! We're working on learning to draw faces that are well proportioned. That is our main goal!!
And, if you already know me, you know I find drawing realistic faces to be super stressful! I prefer to do whimsical drawings so I can just have fun!! I think whenever you add the word "WHIMSICAL" in front of what you're drawing - it gives you some grace if things don't come out exactly right!
As you'll see, I'm drawing with my blackwing pencils again today because I just LOVE how soft and smooth they are. They also have this great, rectangular eraser that makes it SO easy to erase in tiny areas. If you need an excellent eraser for bigger areas of your paper, the vanish eraser if phenomenal!! Links for both of these are in the description box of today's video if you need any new drawing supplies.
I traced a circle for my irises today. Sometimes this is just easier, so if drawing circles stress you out- use a stencil!!
Our model has some simple earrings, but feel free to look around on Pinterest for more intricate jewelry or hairstyles for your drawing. There are so many gorgeous variations you can do for Indian women. I kept it simple because I didn't want to overwhelm anybody with too much detail.
I tried to replicate the model's beautiful bone structure- which is super subtle, but I felt was a really important aspect of capturing her look. Because both the hair and background on my reference photo are so dark, I had to imagine a bit what her hair looks like, so drew in some little bumps to indicate a low bun.
You'll see I pulled my circle template out again to draw the bindi (this is the small dot on her forehead that indicates she's married in Hindu culture). I wanted that circle to be exact, because this is an actual sticker applied to the face and there is depth to it.
I love how this model has other beautiful facial features that are different from what I typically draw. She has very large, dilated pupils (which I used my circle template for again!). Her nose shape is subtly different as well. It dips down dramatically and even has a nose ring! Her lips are parted slightly as well -showing some teeth - which I normally avoid!! She definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit, but I loved it!! It forced me to really study the image.
I believe 50% of being a good artist is having amazing observational skills! Working with the reference photos in this series will help you develop those skills even more!
Skin tone swatching is KEY if you're shading your drawing in color. If you're doing this in colored pencils, copic markers, etc. - swatch them ahead of time so you're not surprised by anything, and know the colors blend into each other seamlessly.
Whenever I'm shading a dark skinned face- I start with my darkest shade first, and work my way through shades until I reach the lightest color. I know it can be scary to START with the darkest shade - especially if you're working dark to light!! Just take your time and continually check in with your reference photo. I'm always asking myself, where are the darkest shadows? Where are the lightest highlights? Then I do my best to replicate this on my own drawing.
Now onto the "ugly phase!!!" LOL...
I believe there is ALWAYS an ugly phase. That's what stage my drawing is in right here...
If I stop working on my drawing right here and come back to it later- it could make me want to cry because she is unfinished- looks like a weird puzzle of colors, nothing is defined, etc. THIS is the ugly phase!! It's guaranteed. We all have it in our work. PUSH THROUGH IT!!!! It happens in every medium, and if you STOP working at this stage because you think your piece is ugly- you're letting the ugly phase win. KEEP GOING.
TRUST ME on this!!!!
You'll notice as I'm working color into the shading of the eyes, there is barely any white left by the time I'm done, because this is what I see in the reference photo. When you're doing a portrait - If you're shading in color, make sure you've got your GRAYS out because nothing is usually stark white, even the teeth! Look for the shadows here to make your coloring realistic by knocking back that white.
When I'm done with my markers, I layer in colored pencil to help ease the transitions between shades. Sometimes I like seeing the marker lines, and sometimes I don't. If I don't want that look showing up - I take my colored pencil and shade in the opposite direction to try and wipe out those lines.
So if my marker lines were horizontal, I do vertical lines for my colored pencil.
I know a lot of people get discouraged if they outline a face FIRST, and then shade with copics. It can be easy to run into your outlines and end up having the outline bleed. You'll notice today I outlined LAST with my microliner to prevent the bleed from happening. You might want to try the same if you're working with alcohol markers!
When it was time to add in eyelashes, I used my pentel pocket brush, or my "secret weapon!" If you struggle with drawing eyelashes, make sure to check out the recent video from my Mixed Media channel, I give you ALL my secrets for how to draw eyelashes !!
I added twinkle in the eyes with my white paint pen. I typically do a different look with those, but love how this one turned out and will totally do it again! See what happens when you step outside your comfort zone?!
For the nose ring, I just used my pencil because the reference photo showed it as being shiny metal.
I added white colored pencil on top of the markers wherever I noticed highlights occurring in my reference photo. To punch those highlights up a bit more - I used my white gel pen or bright white posca pen. This adds more drama and dimension for me!
If you're nervous to add in highlights -start with your white colored pencil to make sure you like where the highlight is going. The colored pencil is soft, and creates a gentle first layer.
Remember, acrylic paint pen markers are awesome to add on top of anything. So if you're using watercolor or another medium- feel free to STILL use the posca on top of your work for additional highlights drama!
I was excited to discover the eyelashes in this photo have "undersided" highlights, and they look SO cool!! Those marks aren't me just being "creative," that's me reading the reference and adding the detail I see in the photo to my drawing. If you feel like you want or need the reference photo for this drawing project, or the entire series - just go to AwesomeArtSchool.com. You can get all 12 of the reference photos (+ all my cheatsheets!!!!) in the YouTube Library Collection.
Remember to enter a photo of your beautiful drawing when you're done by clicking on this link to GET PUBLISHED!
Come join me in the studio for the 40 minute tutorial! See ya there!!!
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
What Fans Are Saying
Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.