The Four Boxes Technique

The Four Boxes Technique

Jan recently posted up this portrait drawing for a critique. It was from my Shea Portrait course. Jan is looking to get a likeness when drawing a portrait.

Being able to get a likeness is difficult. Sometimes a student will need to use many diverse techniques. Some techniques click with certain students while others do not. You will need to experiment with multiple techniques until you find the one that works for you.

In this video, I share with Jan the Four Boxes Technique. It’s pretty simple. First, you should draw the exact size of your photo reference frame. So if your reference is 8 x 10 inches, draw an 8 x 10-inch boarder on your piece of paper.

You will need to split the frame vertically down the middle, then across the middle. This will leave you with four boxes. You then draw what is in each box. Nothing earth -shattering here.

this is just a drawing technique that will help you look at drawing a portrait differently. Again, this is just an exercise. This four boxes technique just give you a different perspective on drawing correct proportions.

Thanks so much, Jan for sharing your artwork in DTO’s member critique gallery. 

 

 

If you are looking to get your artwork critique definitely check out Drawing Tutorials Online. I offer member critiques every Monday. If you are looking for a more in-depth approach to having your artwork critique read more about my one to one coaching.

 

Digital Painting Critique

Digital Painting Critique

It does not matter what medium you work in, digital, traditional, watercolor or pencil, it’s super important to get feedback on your artwork. Sure watching high-quality video tutorials online is a must.

However, what will push you to a higher place of learning is getting feedback from a teacher you trust and like. Some teachers are highly skilled and competent, however, they might not be the right fit for you.

It’s also very important that just because the teacher says you should do a, b, and c, does not mean you have to do a, b, and c. Let your voice come through, cherry-pick what works best for you and use that.

There have been many times where I had two teachers contradict each other, it can get confusing as to who to listen to. Most teachers have very good intentions in mind. Just trust your gut and utilize techniques that feel right.

It’s also very important to tweak and modify what teachers offer up in the classroom and online. Think to yourself, how can I take what this teacher is teaching and make it my own.

In Arjun’s critique, I certainly do not expect him to listen to everything I say. If he takes one lesson from the critique, then I feel I did my job.

Be selective in which teachers you learn from. Anyone can grab their iPhone nowadays, film themselves drawing, and call it a tutorial. Do your homework, see how much classroom experience the teacher has. Do they teach in a kind way, or is it all ego-based. Are they good at communicating techniques to you in a way that makes sense?

It can be hard sometimes to put your work out there for a critique. That’s why I say learn from people that you feel comfortable with. Getting feedback is something you must strive for.

Thanks so much for checking out Arjun’s critique!

 

 

Check out Arjun’s Instagram. Thanks again Arjun for sharing your art.

 

Seeing The Head As A Box

Seeing The Head As A Box

Arjun consistently uploads his work for a critique every week. In this week’s critique, I help out Arjun with seeing how to fit a box to a head. You might ask, why even bother with this technique, what’s the point?

I think what Arjun is practicing is super important. He is trying to understand how to see and decipher the surface planes of the head. Placing a portrait within a box is the most primitive way to see the surface planes. It’s the most macro, front and side.

There is a multitude of surface planes on the head. With portraits, it’s important to know where the big surface plane shifts occur. They occur at the temple and cheekbone, otherwise known as the Zygomaticofacial foramen. I know, anatomical terms, ugh.

Understanding where to see and place the big surface planes will most certainly help you to improve the way you draw a three-dimensional portrait. It’s even better when you light the portrait whereas the front planes catch the light, and the side planes are in shadow.

Lastly, trying to place a perfectly geometric box around an organic head just does not compute for a lot of artists. That is why I suggest drawing curved edged, organic boxes instead of right-angled boxes.

The human body is not synthetic, it’s super curvy. In other words, round all of your corners.

 

 

Thank you so much for checking out Arjun’s critique. You can check out his Instagram page @AKTracer.

 

Five Tips For Drawing A Portrait Likeness

Five Tips For Drawing A Portrait Likeness

I recently completed a critique of Arjun’s portrait drawing. Arjun is a member of Drawing Tutorials Online. He is a super hard worker and is improving immensely as of late.

Here are five tips to help you capture a likeness the next time you work on a portrait drawing.

First, you will want to pay attention to the centerline of the head. This will help you tremendously in terms of measuring both sides of the face. It will aid you in getting the correct angle of the head.

Second, do your best to look out for the three angles that make up the lower jaw bone. The mandible is an important structure. It acts as a frame for the lower half of the head. Do not overlook the jawline.

Third, avoid using high-contrast value shifts within the model’s face. Especially when drawing from photo-reference that has soft lighting. Extreme value shifts within the light will make your drawing look too patchy.

Fourth, tilts will most certainly help you capture the model’s likeness. I like to look at the tilt of the eyes. You can also use the tilt of the mouth from corner to corner. This is often overlooked.

Fifth, see the whites of the eyes as shapes that you must draw accurately. Yes, easier said than done, I understand. Take some time to study the shapes of the whites of the eyes. This will help you capture the model’s likeness.

 

 

I want to thank Arjun for uploading his work to Drawing Tutorials Online‘s member critique gallery on a regular basis. His hard work is really paying off.

Check out Arjun’s instagram @aktracer.

 

Shapes Equal Likeness

Shapes Equal Likeness

I wanted to share with you Michael’s critique. This week Michael shared one of his drawings in our member critique gallery. He had mentioned that he might have chosen the wrong photo.

I mentioned to Michael at the beginning of the critique that the photo was a good one. It’s good because it has some pretty good shadow shapes to cling onto. Michael is off to great start with his drawing, he just needs to focus on shapes.

If I had to give one piece of advice to any artist who aspires to draw portraits with a likeness, it would be to focus on drawing shapes, not things. Don’t draw the eyelid, draw the shadow shape around the eyelid.

Do not draw the lips with an outline, draw the shadow shape that makes up the upper lip and the shadow shape under the lower lip. In order to capture a person’s likeness, you must capture and draw their shapes accurately.

Now some would say that I’ve said this before, many times. Yes, I have because it works. When it comes to portrait drawing you want to be repetitive with certain things. One, always work from a photo that has good light and shade. Two, capture the likeness not through outlines but through shapes.

The modeling comes after you have blocked in light and shadow shapes. You do not need to learn fifty portrait drawing techniques, instead, you just need to master a few.

 

 

Drawing Tutorials Online is coming up on eleven years in business helping artists pursue their passion for drawing. Now is a great time to join, I am doubling down on making the website even better with shorter more instructive lessons. I look forward to helping you improve your artwork!.

 

John Singer Sargent Study – Member Critique

John Singer Sargent Study – Member Critique

Arjun is a current member of Drawing Tutorials Online. Not only is Arjun a member but he contributes to the site on a weekly basis. His questions always stir up great conversations. 

He is always working at his craft of digital painting using Procreate. Arjun also signed up for my One Month Coaching where he really jump-started his progress. Arjun is a tireless artist devoting countless hours into improving his technique.

Arjun utilizes the member critique gallery on a weekly basis which is part of his weekly ritual for constant improvement. In this digital portrait painting, Arjun worked on a study of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw painted by John Singer Sargent in 1892.

Studying the great masters is a great way to learn. In this critique, I share with Arjun the importance of seeing shapes of value. These shapes represent the different surface planes on Lady Agnew’s face. The key takeaway from this critique is how to see the shapes of value, then shading them in their appropriate value.

One of the most important jobs of the portrait painter is to shade shapes in a sold way. If you have the time I would suggest working on a study of Lady Agnew the same way Arjun did. Do your best to squint to see the different values placed around the face. It will certainly help you to improve your portrait painting.

 

 

Check out Arjun’s website. Thanks again Arjun for sharing your art.