Getting to grips with faces

22 March 2016

Now it's not that all of a sudden I want to get into painting portraits, not a bit of it -  but I do have an idea simmering away quietly and if this idea is to come to some sort of fruition I think I need to find my own voice when it comes to some form of representation of people. I appreciate this is not going to be a quick thing - indeed it could take years, but you've got to start somewhere so this is a tentative dipping of the toe. 

It all started with this video. A two dimensional art doll - a potential character for a Toy Theatre perhaps?

And then, as I am want to do, a little meander and I found this tutorial.

And here is my first take based on this tutorial. 

Now, I will be honest here. I don't like this at all. In fact, truth be told, I hate it.  And I was not even going to share it, but not to would be churlish. 

My problem is, I think, that while I respect the original artist, her naive style does not particularly appeal.  It is not quite my thing.  So, I wonder, am I doing myself any favours by copying a technique for an outcome that does not really float my boat? Anyone got any tips here?

(Just to be clear, I am not saying that I don't like Mystele. I think she is fab, just as I rather like Jessica Sporn.  It is just that I am not such a huge fan of their style of faces.)

Meanwhile, I have just discovered that the next 'Through Our Hands' exhibition is going to be portraits and Linda Kemshall has been playing with pastels and solvents. It is worth following the link just to have a look at her remarkable eye.

And finally, a style of face that I really love - Clive Hicks-Jenkins.  I was going to just post a link to his blog but as well here is a link to his Pinterest Boards. You will find lots of his work here. And just look at those faces!


  1. It's as important to know what you don't like ... what's not your style ... as what you do, and is; no harm in trying various approaches! I'm a fan of Clive Hicks-Jenkins too, thanks for the link to his pinterest boards ... I may be gone some time ...

  2. I agree with Margaret. I've been working off and on through exercises by Pam Carriker. I followed her blog for awhile because I was a bit mesmerized by her drawings of people. Then I realized I was getting a little bored with her style and that it wasn't what I would draw if I ever got so bold. And then I got her book and am finding the same kind of imagery offered for use if you don't have your own and I find it very distracting to even see it in her examples. All the same, there is much to learn from Pam and I don't necessarily need to like her style to learn from her, nor do I need to stay with her style. All learning from others is merely a jumping off point where we learn some basics to take with us on the journey. Time NOT wasted!

    1. Oh thanks for that. I know of Pam but don't associate her with faces. I'll give it a whirl. But as you say, time not wasted!

    2. Here's a link to her blog that shows her book on mixed media portraits (not one I'm using)and also has some videos to watch (I know how you love videos!).

      Maybe it's the baldness like those shown on the cover of the book that is creeping me out right now but it's this sort of thing I'm seeing in the material in the book I'm working through. I have to say, what she is doing now is much different from the images she was drawing when I first ran across her. Those were often with large wide-set eyes and no expression.Her current ones are much more life-like.


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