In one night, I had cranked out these three pencil sketches for my Musician/Singer Series. At this point, I was trying to pick facial expressions that were different from the other pieces. These were the three I also had love/hate relationships with during the making of them.
The composition of T-Boz (Tionne Watkins) from TLC had the most movement out of the entire series. She wasn’t too hard to ink, but I was trying to be as careful as possible with the hands. I have found that it is best to use the shadows to help shape your hands more rather than to draw only an outline of the fingers and palm. Especially when you have fingers pointed and some bent toward the palm, there will be a lot of foreshortening (Dictionary.com says it is “to reduce or distort in order to convey the illusion of three-dimensional space as perceived by the human eye”) happening within the drawing. Hands always feel complicated. Many kids that I have taught in drawing programs will avoid them like the plague by drawing characters with their hands behind their back, etc. Maybe the fact I do focus a lot on the face in my work, is a little sign that I am avoiding the hands as well without consciously making a note of it?
Originally, I was going to paint her nicely creased shirt green and yellow, but as I was laying down the color I thought it looked HORRIBLE! In fact, I almost scrapped the whole thing then and there because I was getting short on time before the art show. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed a paper towel and tried dragging off as much paint as possible, wetting it with a clean brush, and wiping it again until I was able to get as much of the color off the paper. I already made her hair orange and skin blue, and was afraid making her shirt similar to the hair wouldn’t let her stand out. Once I painted the yellow layer, then my orange, and then a darker red, it looked better and you couldn’t even tell I had started making it green. The crosshatching of the ballpoint also made it different enough from the hair. Making the background purple behind her, pushed her orange and blue colors forward and toned down the more detailed pattern behind her. At the art show, this was the one that had the most exclamations and people recognized her right away. People seemed to respond to the more dynamic body position, and I couldn’t help but think I should have done more of them that contained more than just the head. Maybe next year?
I was not happy with the inked version of Gwen at all! This was another point where I had put her aside intending to never use her again. The original screenshot I had taken was pretty blurry and I had difficulty with the angle of her face and the sunglasses. I could barely see her eyes, but drew in what I could. In retrospect, I wonder if it would have been better if I had never drawn the eyes in at all. Texting two of my best friends with the results, they kept pushing me to continue to work on it and they thought I was seeing it more critically than anyone else would.
Deciding to give her a go, I started painting some color into her and was beginning to LOVE how the sunglasses looked. I felt like her hair should be pink, but I do think the color decision made people think she was Pink even though Gwen did dye her hair pink for many years.
For being a work that I almost threw away, it turned out rather nice! There still could be improvements made, but there are times when I need to keep Salvador Dali in mind,
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”
Once I had a chance to ink this one, I felt it looked better than the pencil sketch. I allowed the pencil sketch to sit for a while before I went ahead and inked it. The angle of her head and sneer Pink was making made it seem so out of proportion. I also wasn’t sure I liked her thick fake eyelashes in the drawing, but once she was inked it seemed to ground her on the paper for me.
She was one of the few pieces I knew exactly what colors I wanted to use, and I had a blast with her. Since she didn’t have a lot of her hair showing, I balanced the composition by using the red in her earrings, eyes, and lips. I even mixed some of the red into the background and her outfit. It is something I try to do in a lot of my work. A lot of different colors can make up an object. Such as painting a blue sky on a landscape, maybe you can use that blue in the grass as a shading color. Trying to add the colors you use throughout your painting, drawing, etc can make it very cohesive.
Despite the struggles these three made me go through, I believe they added a little “oomph” to the series as a whole. It’s easy to work in a vacuum and convince yourself that your work isn’t good. So don’t be shy and show your piece(s) to someone you trust to get honest feedback from. You never know what you may have missed or what could be on it’s way to greatness.