After a brief visit to the unfriendly Land of Gouache, I'm back to struggling with portrait sketching, this time with a charcoal pencil on tan toned paper. If anyone out there can tell me how to sharpen a charcoal pencil so that the tip doesn't snap off right before it's sharp enough, please do! In this beginning stage of my latest portrait of Owen, my pencil went from 6 inches long to 3 inches long from all of the attempts to get an operative point.
AND THEN there were my habitual proportion issues. It's pretty funny how consistently I goof up on the same issues, even though I go into it aware of those issues, and attempting to compensate. Two of my Big Errors:
1. UNDER estimating the mass of the head of hair and siting the portrait too high on the page to leave room for the hair/head mass. Owen's ball of hair will be bigger upon refinement. And unfortunately for this portrait, more off the page.
2. Starting out with too much jaw! Again! There's been a lot of erasing and moving up of his jaw in this sketch. And this charcoal pencil hasn't lifted very well.
On the plus side, I can actually recognize Owen from this early-stage sketch, so hope exists. I'm going to go back to the drawing board to work this out some more, and then happily, happily going back to oil pencils for my next sketch. I just wanted to try the black-on-tan, though, and I don't yet have a black oil pencil.