Learning a New Face

October 5, 2016


Above: Water-soluble ink brush pen and light layers of gouache in a Shinola Sketchbook.

For the past several months, off and on. I've been drawing a friend who has been kind enough to mug for the camera—all those faces that pass in an instant that I wanted to capture.

OK, I just really wanted a break from drawing Dick's eyebrows night after night and I complained to this friend and he started making faces and I started taking photos.

Of course I'd rather draw from life, especially because this young man has a lot of interesting angles going on, and it's always more fun to draw from life—but I was pretty desperate to not draw any bushy, yellow eyebrows for a change.

The first few times I draw someone I'm hyper aware of the "new things" I have to work out. Here that's a vocabulary for buzz-cut hair. I'll try out a bunch of media over time and in each medium I will try to attack the same "issue."

I get so caught up in those "issues" that getting a likeness is pretty far from my mind.

Over time I sort of feel my way about the face through a series.

I think series are very important. This particular series has been much interrupted, with work, with family, with planned trips that didn't happen, and of course the need to prepare for the Minnesota State Fair.

Now that the weather is turning cool and I'm looking at a long winter ahead (for a cyclist relegated to a indoor trainer even a winter that's one week long would be too long—it's all relative—even the promise of being able to catch up with episodes of "The Americans" as I cycle doesn't sweeten the deal much) I start to think about my painting projects. I thought up a new one yesterday that I'll share with you at the end of the year (for reasons that will be clear then), but in the meantime I'm taking another look at this project and picking it up again. More to come. I'll catch you up.

I just have to say how grateful I am to friends who put up with my efforts as I mangle their features in an effort to discover the geometry of their faces.

Note: A lot of the early images in this series were done in my Shinola Sketchbook test book. So in reading these posts you'll be able to gather additional insight into how the paper performs with different media.

    • Diane Sorota, San Diego
    • October 5, 2016

    Hi, Roz. Could you spare a minute to share your source for Seawhite (of Brighton) sketchbooks in the USA? I bought one a couple of years ago when visiting Cornwall (England)
    and found the paper much to my liking. Haven’t been able to find an American source and queries to Seawhite and various UK suppliers have gone unanswered.

    Enjoy reading your helpful comments and accounts of your everyday adventures.

    All best, Diane

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