Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Joy of First Time : Pen Portraiture

I have always imagined drawing with pen quite hard. Due to multiple reasons, which I would list below, I didn't try to render much in pen.

1. Fear - pen won't erase, so if you make mistake, it can't be corrected and you'll have to work all over again.
I cannot tell you how deep-rooted this fear was! We all learn to write in pencil and gradually move onto the ink. Assuming as we grow, we learn how to write without making mistakes or learning to correct the correct way.
But for the art, most of us don't take the risk of making mistakes. I heard from many experienced artists how they do the first draft in pencil and then switch to pen. Serves some of us well.

2. Myths - pen art is not art. Can you believe that! Some still contest the real art is what painted upon and not just drawn. Well, to me, anything created with sincerity is okay to share with others. Let the debate go on, you focus on wherever your creativity takes you.

3. Lack of value range - this was something that kept me off for so long. What a myth! You and only you can keep yourself from giving the depth to the artwork. There are different techniques but sure a full range of shades.

But it just happened. Because its a milestone for me, I will share my story. Before hitting the bed, I had to choose the best reference picture of the model. One looked more promising than the other but second one has a striking unavoidable appeal. So, I decided to do underdrawing of both. Sleep can wait. This idea cannot! whichever looks better will turn into a final painting.

I had my supplies lying around and I decided to draw the rough sketches before going to bed. Shortly, first drawing was ready and I started the second one. By the time I finished, I realized, I was using pen, inadvertently. Oh woah, I don't use pen, I told myself. But I did and it was a big deal for me because the result was astonishing!  The output was darker, clearer, and bore striking likeness in much fewer marks as opposed to the charcoal, the usual medium for this purpose. Oh my, I had pleasantly surprised myself.

What can I say. This has made me a very happy person. In the days that followed, I am not able to put the pen down. One more, just one more!

My hands are tired, my wrists hurt, but the sketching is very enjoyable. You should try it! Here are some detailed pics of what I made as a full portrait out of this new love.

 Look, Ma!
9 x 12
Pen on paper

Details of above

I am not sure what's making me more happy - breaking the myth, seeing the light or is it pure joy of learning something new.

Either way, I am happy to share it with others. Tired muscles behold! You have a lot to do. :-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Progress Through the Festival Season

Oct 8 - Oct 27 :  63 Days and counting

As far as the series is going, I'd say, its going good. There is progress, learning, and lots of excitement.

Let's just say, we are almost halfway through.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Portraits, Techniques, Likeness, and Life

Oct 1 - Oct 7: Day 49th of Friends Series

I have been drawing, painting, reading, and writing lately. As mentioned earlier, I met many new people during art show. And I cannot describe how helpful other artist have been. They gladly shared what they know and later sent more as promised. I cannot thank them enough for their help.


This is  a bonding process where a person tries to create his own version of how one sees. Its art and it also is science. Its 2 D in technicality and heavily 3 D for the artist. Or 4 D if you add the artist's perception to it. Artist tries to capture the essence of the model over the period of time.


There are as many techniques as there are portraitist. No single one is right or better. Some find realism to be the most disciplined form which may be true in a sense that if that's your goal in the first place. But over time, you learn to immerse in the process, and start to enjoy the process so much and so, that you hardly bother if that highly acclaimed belief of realism is only a way of seeing things.  The artistic license lets you enjoy the journey and the destination. Choose what suits you!  This is what I did for one of the works.

Likeness in Portraits

People find portraiture as hard because they think getting the likeness is not easy. Its true. Its not easy to get the likeness if you don't practice enough. There is a lot of relativity among different angles and shapes and the process requires a lot of swinging back-and-forth while creating a face.

When I do it with pause, there seems to be a harmony in the process. The focus is not on one part but the face as a whole. With this in mind, things just seem to be right. And when its right, you stop and gauge the balance. After a while, the process starts to balance itself.

Bonding Experience

I usually know when to stop. The work starts to speak for itself. It becomes a whole with its own identity and charm. At that point, artist need to take a step back and let the work enjoy its own identity. The bond between the subject and the artist moves on to next level. And that is a marvelous experience. Its too complex to explain in words.