Every artist has a story of how they got where they are. Some are natural prodigies who paint beautiful pictures from age eight. For many of us though, our pasts are marked with more failures than successes. I was convinced that I would never become an artist. I wanted to, but I didn’t “have what it takes” or so I thought. And indeed, I am certainly no prodigy!
My Grandpa Yoder was a dwarf. When he was a child, he was an adorable little Amish boy, with a little grin that would warm any heart. I’m sure if I could have known him personally, I would have been so absolutely proud that he was my grandpa (and I am), but I didn’t; he passed on to be with Jesus after a battle with skin cancer before my parents had met.So this Christmas, I drew a picture of him as a little boy for my Grandma Yoder. It was lots of fun, although I was pushed for time.
And yes, this is the fifth little boy that I’ve drawn in the past year with no little girls… say it’s about time I draw a girl? It’s next in line!
A little note: Don’t you dare tell me my grandpa was a “midget”, that feels like such a derogatory expression for the wonderful dwarfs that I’m privileged to be related to!
My sister and I were doing some much needed fall cleaning in our bedroom, when my sister found my favorite doll. She is life sized, and just about as realistic looking as you’ll get with a doll. When I was young, she was my baby! As I contemplated sending her up to the attic, a sudden thought hit me; Why not draw a picture of her?
In the end, I used her as a model and drew a little black boy. While I was drawing, the name James, appeared in my head out of nowhere and stuck. Funny, ’cause I don’t normally like the name James (no offense meant to anybody with that name!).
If you know me, you might know that I love drawing little kiddos! Out of all the pictures of family, friends, and other “random” people that I’ve drawn in the past year, four of them were little boys (with another next in line to draw!)! 🙂 Hmm, maybe it’s time I find some girls?!
I adore little kiddos and their adorable little grins. Having drawn several already, I wanted another one to draw. So after much looking on several picture websites, I found this little cutie sitting in a large pot. 🙂 The look of innocence and cheer written all across his face, captured my heart.
Since he, in actuality, is just some random kiddo out there and his name is anybody’s guess, I wanted to make him a little more personal and special and give him a name my self. Jonathan, is what I quickly decided on since that is my favorite boy’s name.
After 10 1/2 hours, I proclaimed the picture complete. And no, I did not draw for ten and half hours straight! I’m not sure that anyone could do that and still claim to be sane. Generally, my drawing segments are about 1 to 1 1/2 hours long. Then it is time for me to get up and stretch and think about something else for a little while!
Often times, how-to art books explain everything but the very basics. Most of them make you feel like you would have to be somewhat of an artist already to even try to do what they tell you will work.
For me, it was so extremely helpful to find out what composes a person’s face, and where to put things. The eyes, nose, etc. So I have made a very straight forward list for you, that I hope will be helpful in figuring things out. Please, it is not actually a hard thing to learn if you have the right foundations to start from (a good attitude about drawing is great too.). So relax, it’s not scary. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
The eyes. If the person in the picture is looking straight at you, you will have five eye widths at the level of the eyes. In other words, the width of one of the eyes will be the width between the side of the head and the eye, and between the eyes. The eyes are also placed exactly in the middle of the head from top to bottom.
The nose. This is a facial feature that is almost always gotten wrong. The length of the nose is basically the same as the width of the eye. The wings of the nose should be at least as far over as the inner corner of the eyes.
The mouth. The mouth is placed a third of the way between the nose and the bottom of the chin; that is, being the closest third to the nose. If the person is smiling, the edge of the mouth will be directly below the pupil of the eye (if the person is looking straight at you.).
The ears. The ear tops generally are in line with the eye brows. The bottoms are generally in line with the bottom of the nose.
As far as the rest of the face, play around with it! It’s no science.
Other important tips
Go off a picture. Truthfully, the best place to start drawing realistic faces, is to grab a nice black and white photo and copy it, and preferably a friend or family member. Doing it this way, you will be able to get a far better picture and learn how the shape of the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and everything in between, is composed. After several of these portraits, you can step out and try a simple sketch using the tools you have learned. But in general (and this goes for experienced artists too), you will always have to have a picture or model to go off of to get the picture to look like a specific person. Help hint: Using a grid is the easiest way. You can purchase drawing grids, or make your own by drawing a quarter inch grid on a clear sheet to place over your original picture. You then lightly draw another grid of the same size on you drawing paper which you will erase after the sketch is complete and before the shading is started.
If all else fails, go stand in front of a mirror, and just stare at yourself for a good long while; noticing where different things are placed, how far apart, and how they are shaded in a rather general way. But it is NOT my suggestion to try to start here. It can all be too confusing if you don’t have too much of an idea what to look for. Where I like to use this is when I am sketching freehand (not off of a picture), and forgot where on earth something is placed or how it is shaded.
Lastly, have fun! It’s truly not a science. People come in all shapes and sizes, so if you flub up… don’t worry. Just try again!
I finished the long promised portrait of my sister, Kara. I had done one last year for her birthday, but it was done in so short a time and so soon after I started learning how to “draw for real”, that it turned out kinda bad. So I decided to do a second try.
My dear, one and only sister is very beautiful and sweet and six years older than me (yeah, I dare you to guess how old I am!). She loves Jesus and serves Him passionately – a great inspiration to me. She also plays flute, loves singing and the out-of-doors, and is great with gardening.
So now that you know a bit about the wonderful young lady, here she is!