Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 3
Finally got a start on this portrait. In the end, I decided to block in the portrait with pastel rather than charcoal. I felt the lighter color would be easier to work with and allow me to gradually darken the figure without having to worry about covering the charcoal. I wanted to start the block in with a color that was just darker than the paper and chose light flesh.
The first thing I did was to estimate what size the figure had to be in a photo such that I could reproduce the figure on pastel paper at twice the size. Even multiples work out nicely. After figuring that out, I printed out the photo I would be working with. Next, I lightly ruled a painting area on the pastel paper 16” wide by 20” high. From the photo I judged where I would place the figure within the ruled area. I lightly drew a short line indicating where the topmost point of the head would be. Using dividers, I marked in the level for the bottommost point of the chin. The angle from the topmost point of the head to the bottommost point of the chin was then lightly drawn in. These would be my beginning reference points. I also marked in the levels of the top and bottom of the nose, and the mouth.
The next step in this block in was to roughly outline the entire figure. Rather than immediately trying to work in the curving lines around the body, I picked out important points around the body where there was an abrupt change of direction. Using dividers and judging angles, I found these obvious points and drew fairly straight lines connecting them. I was not interested in any subtle curves or details at this point, merely getting a somewhat accurate shape and getting the dimensions right. Everything would be refined in later steps.
Blocking in the head proceeded in the same manner. Using the reference points of the topmost point on the head and the bottommost point of the chin, and the center-line, I found the side of the head, the size and shape of the ears, the placement of the eyes, and their width, the shape of the nose and the shape of the muzzle. I constantly checked angles and distances from one point to another as I built in more features. As more feature edges were added I used those to check newer ones, and constantly back checked previous ones to make sure I was maintaining fair accuracy.
This all resulted in rough first stage. From here I’ll go back and begin to slowly refine it.