An Artist is Born?

I was never particularly interested in art before, but I was fooling around drawing with the kids just before Christmas 2004. I did a few portrait sketches which were fun but I wanted to improve. Here is one of them:

This is a Very Bad portrait of “A” (12/2004). In case you don’t know why, here are a few things wrong with it. It doesn’t look anything like A because I did not pay attention to the details of his face. It is all liney because I didn’t really look and see that there are very few actual lines in a face. I learned all this from a book my Dad got me for Christmas: “How to Make Art That Doesn’t Stink.” No, that wasn’t it.  It was really called Drawing Realistic Faces. Right after I read that book, I drew this:

2005-01 Portrait of Donald Smith Travis

This is a portrait of my Great-Great-Grandfather (1/2005). Notice that there are no lines where they don’t belong. It still doesn’t look as much like him as I’d like, because I still didn’t know how much the details matter. I also wasn’t seeing value changes (dark/light) very well; I didn’t put enough shading in his face, so he is washed out. I was afraid to make his face too grey (who wants to be grey?). I did go back over it a few months later just to darken the face a bit (he really looked ghostly before), but it’s still not as good as it could be. (Here’s the photograph:)

However, I think that makes a pretty good Before and After advertisement for that drawing book. It is the only one I had ever read.

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