Sunday, November 1, 2015

Harvest and Hand Page

Harvest and Hand Page
Tombow dual tip pens in sketchbook, 8 1/2" x 11"

Today tried my second new ten-color set of Tombow pens, the Portrait Palette. I was a little unsure of the pale colors, but very happy with them now. They're quite pale highlight colors. One's yellower than the other, perhaps I should have used that for the overall fill since my hand looks a bit pinkish. But the value range is very nice and I was happily surprised by how well it came out.

I've drawn my own hand from life many times. I get very self conscious of it, sometimes my hands get swollen and puffy from joint problems or other health issues and that irritates me. Today wasn't that bad and at the same time I've gotten much better at sketching - enough that I was surprised at how well it came out after getting true to proportions. On bad days if I drew my hand accurately it looked like a caricature. 

It's also minus a number of errors I used to make on hands. When I got right down to it, sketching my hand was no different from sketching a rose or my cat's leg or anything else. Well, maybe a bit more of an unfamiliar object, my cat's leg and anything else on cats is so easy now because I've done hundreds, maybe thousands of cat sketches first. Still it feels good to recognize all that practice in other things helps in tackling a difficult subject!

Yeah, my hands are funny looking, but I would not trade that for normal hands that couldn't draw this well!

So if you have trouble drawing hands, don't give up! Your best model is the one you aren't using to draw with. The more often you try, the better results you'll get until one day this happens - and your results look like a recognizably human hand! Never mind any sausage fingered successive approximations, the more you sketch, the closer you will come!

Also try to put your hand into a cool pose when you do it. Just splayed flat is a good way to get a blobby starfish with off proportions and weird squiggles for joints. Practice on a lot of different shaped objects just getting the contour line right, then go back to your hand forgetting it's a hand. Don't think of them as fingers and thumb, think of them as shapes of shadow and light, contour lines, overlapping forms. Really don't move your hand till you're done with the outline either, it's hard to get exactly the same pose if you move. Do the contour line first and then any shading or details.

I darkened most of the contour lines to make the drawing show up on a light background but could as easily have sketched a dark background around it. Either way works - and using a background is a way to fix if you get the line a little too wide somewhere. Just carve into it with opaque background color.

Have fun and try this at home!

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