“Although I deviated a bit from the assignment by drawing two portraits from images rather than a ‘live’ self image, I learned a great deal from this exercise: Portraits are difficult! This was my first real attempt, and I have a new-found respect for portrait artists.
It seems even the slightest anomaly in the face will significantly affect whether or not the rendering looks like the model. Moreover, slight errors make the face just look wrong (if that makes sense): an ear too low, sticking out too far, a nostril too small (or large), teeth too white, ears out of place, etc. etc.
I worked on this off-and-on for about a month just trying to correct as best I could these issues. Frustrating, but going through the exercise of trying to identify whats wrong, fixing it, and moving on to the next thing that’s wrong really starts to drive home the anatomy of the face and how sensitive humans are to any imperfections in the rendering. As Prof Lieu mentioned in the lessons, eyes are not white, and the little dot in the pupil is crucial (I left one out, and the image looked like something from a horror movie)
Draw the portrait as large as possible on the canvas. I drew mine far too small and had a devil of a time getting the level of detail I wanted. As Prof Lieu mentioned, bear down with the crayons. A light touch won’t get you any saturation. A lot of layering can be done with these crayons; however (again as Prof Lieu mentioned), there is a saturation point beyond which you can’t lay down any more material. Mine was so saturated at one point that trying to add additional material resulted in me pulling up small pieces of previous layers. (I probably layer too much, though).
There is a sheen in the crayon when the light strikes it a certain way. This might be because I layered too much – not really sure, and I’m not sure how to get rid of it or if it’s just the nature of the material. Anyway, this exercise was frustrating, enlightening, and fun. I recommend it.