Saturday 7 July 2012


I really love the challenge of drawing faces from live models, but unfortunately am not able to travel to life drawing/portrait classes now, and don't have a supply of 'sitters' patient enough to sit still for more than 10 seconds!  So I make do with quick sketches of strangers in cafés and waiting rooms.


The drawings here are from a portrait class of a few years ago.  Looking through one of my sketchbooks I found that I had pasted this quote on the front page, with a note that I think it is one of the most accurate descriptions of the problems of drawing I've read.

"You sit down to start - starting is the hard part - there is your model, like a maze of formless confusion.  You look and look .............. then you catch sight of the shadow behind a swatch of hair, a sort of view across the hill of the forehead, a perfect little enclave right out of the sight of the normal eye.  But your eye gets to it ... your eyes search out those secret places no-one else bothers to find, no-one else knows they are the start of the story that face has to tell ...."    Sarah Raphael, artist and portrait painter, quoted in Telegraph Magazine, 23 October 2004, p63.

This is Sergeant Ted, ex RAF, another of the scribbly drawings I like to do when the pose is for a fairly short time.

He really was one of the nicest people you could meet, and I find that I always do a better portrait if I like the person.

This version of Sergeant Ted was from a longer pose, and I took a more traditional approach.

And yes, I do prefer to draw profiles rather than full face views, but I do make myself change to full face or semi-profile to even out the challenge.

So I am serious sometimes ........ but I always feel there should be more fun in life, and this little lady is definitely a bit more fun.

Every now and then Dev and I set ourselves a joint challenge, just for fun, and to loosen us up.  This challenge started with a head only photo in the newspaper of a chubby baby wearing sunglasses. Our challenge was to paint an A3 interpretation of the image within 20 minutes.  Here's my version:

I love her.  She's called Polly, and she thinks her dark glasses make her look like a film star avoiding attention - Liz Taylor perhaps!


  1. Polly looks like a bit of a Diva and a twenty minute challenge is quite the challenge... awesome job... I love the scribbly faces though... it is the only way i have ever been able to attack portraits and get some structure into them... I almost want to give some portraits another go... almost!!!!

  2. Great sketches! Sketching at a cafe is just challenging and fun as a figure drawing class.
    Also, love the glasses.


Your comments make my day, and I always enjoy visiting your blogs.
I have been shown how to remove moderation and yet avoid spam, so there's now no moderation and no word verification either.

I love to look at blogs that are new to me, but if you are on Google + I am sadly not able to comment, even though I do want to.