Tips On Pencil Portrait Sketching - Sketching A Chin Supporting

Including a hand in your portraits adds a important measure of drama but can quickly ruin an otherwise fine portrait if done incorrectly.

The goal is to incorporate the hand so that it is not only proportionally and gestural correct, but is congruous in personality with the expression of the face.

For instance, an agreeable facial expression juxtaposed with a clenched fist may not yield the effect you want unless you intend to add an ironic twist to your portrait. On the other hand, a hand supporting the head fits very well with a stern scowling expression.

First, absolute novices should not be trying to render both the hand and portrait together. Things will quickly get muddled. The lesson for the absolute novice here is to get an appreciation of the significance of acquiring a solid foundation of your skill.

In a view where a hand supports the head there is a faint forward tilt because the subject is slightly hunched and leaning forward. For the draftsperson, this situation translates into the presence of a delicately foreshortened and reclined portrait. In the hand/head case this means that the chin is slightly receding relative to the forehead.

As always, you should start with the construct, which in this situation, includes the hand and the shoulder. If you first render the head and then attach the hand to it you are definitely asking for trouble. The hand and the head will lack cohesion and will give the awkward impression that they are two distinct objects that are coincidentally next to each other.

When sketching the complete arabesque be aware of the negative as well as the positive spaces. Also, do not pre-measure any aspects of the complete arabesque. It should be sketched with as much flair as possible without losing your sense of proportion. Draw first then verify.

Further build upon the complete arabesque by placing the face, hand, and shoulder signpost

s and sizes. The internal architecture of the complete arabesque is initiated by hatching-in the chiefdarks and painting out the lights with a kneaded eraser.

What you are doing is to set the stage for drawing the facial features, the hand, and the shoulder. The hand must be placed and sized in accordance with the head and the facial features. The compression of the jaw into the palm must also be reckoned with.

Making use of a sharp pencil you can now further develop the value and shape with hatiching, stumping down, and painting out. In this, you will be going back and forth hoping that you know when to stop. Rendering is about making decisions, i.e., knowing what to build up and, just as essential, knowing what to leave out.

In the hand/head situation you have to be extra careful how far you develop the hand. The hand should be seen as an extra element, that is, a supporting element that should not be part of the focus. Do not feel compelled to finish every element in your drawing. Everything in rendering is about equilibrium and transferring your meaning directly to the viewer's eye.

In closing, it is important to see the hand and the shoulder as parts of one whole. Starting your drawing with drawing the complete arabesque will help you greatly with maintaining this cohesion. Treat the hand and shoulder as props that surround the face. This means that you should render them in a subordinate role.