Practicing Sketching Faces—6th MCBA Visual Journal Collective Portrait Party Tomorrow Night

January 19, 2014


Click on any of the images in today's post to view an enlargement.

Today I've thrown up three mugshot sketches I did one evening in December, practicing of course for the 6th MCBA Visual Journal Collective Portrait Party (Dick isn't always available to sit still for a sketch). (Click on the link for party details.)

I don't have much to say about these sketches except that they are smaller than what I've been doing most of the time (at the end of last year and the beginning of this year)—all are on 5 x 6 inch pieces of Richeson Recycled watercolor paper that I happened to have cut up and handy.

131213_BMugshotI thought I'd better get used to working smaller because the pages we sketch on at the portrait party are not 9 x 12 inches!

I used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen with the first two portraits. I used gouache washes with the second. 

On the second portrait the ink of the PPBP hadn't quite dried when I added the wash. (The paper's sizing kept it floating a bit.) You can see how the ink mixed with the paint on my brush. Rather than clean my brush I simply kept working. 


By the time I got to the third portrait I wanted to focus just on paint so I painted directly, sketching with a #3 round brush and light layers of gouache.  

I was working monochromatically with a mix of blue and red—paint I already had out on the palette. Based on the colors showing up in the lighter areas of the third portrait I can see I was using some Helio Turquoise in some of my earlier mixes. (Be sure to click on that image and you'll see it too.)

I worked quickly on all the portraits because at the party we do have limited time to sketch, but also because I intended them to be small and I hoped to edit down the details. By the time I got to the third portrait I was getting a bit fussy. Something that wasn't helped by my choice of a #3 round. (I rarely do anything with a brush that small except some final details.)

But sometimes it's fun to get fussy. I worked in a rotation around the face, waiting for various areas to dry before going in with subsequent darker washes. Then while the dark wash on the hair was still a bit wet I put in a bit of background color. I'd like that background wash to be even darker—but at that point I was through being fussy.

Tonight Dick is just going to have to sit still so I can practice for tomorrow!

  1. Reply

    the third one is especially strong!

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