Sketching Tutorial – How to Sketch the Facial Profile of a Beautiful Girl.

I haven’t posted any tutorial in a while and I wanted a break from work, so here’s a short sketching tutorial for everyone who loves to sketch.

This is the end-result of our sketching exercise:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-wise.

 

Most of us, women artists included, like to sketch beautiful faces. (I think it’s a cultural thing.) So I decided on using the profile of a beautiful woman as the topic for this tutorial. In this tutorial we won’t be drawing a portrait, just a beautiful female face – so don’t kill yourself trying to establish likeness. Just find a pencil and get going.

Step 1:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-wise.

The first step, as shown above, is to get your tools together. In the above image you can see what happens when an artist gets lazy. Instead of pulling out her camera and shooting a couple of pictures, she just roughs in a couple of pencils, an eraser, and the reference pictures. Once you’ve got your stuff together, start sketching.

Step 2:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-by-step -roughing it in.

Start with a rough outline of the face you want to draw. Remember that we aren’t going to do a portrait here, so don’t worry about getting the likeness right. Instead focus on making the face pretty. So if the lady in your reference picture’s got a really long nose, chop it down to size (with your pencil – if your thoughts turned to gory means, you aren’t meant to be an artist, really!) At this stage, keep your lines loose – you may want to tweak them later.

Step 3:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-by-step -roughing it in.

If you’ve read my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures,” you know that I am always drawn to drawing the eyes first. I recommend you do the same, but of course, if you choose to start differently, be my guest. There’s a reason behind my recommendation though. Eyes breathe life into any picture. When you’ve done the eyes, the lady in the drawing will come alive, and you, the artist, will begin to feel responsible for the drawing. Think about it.

Step 4:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - Drawing a beautiful face - how to sketch faces.

Darken the profile and the lips to complete the profile. At this stage, it’s a good idea to check whether the features are of the right size and placed in the right position.

Step 5:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - Drawing a beautiful face - how to sketch faces.

Rough in the hair by drawing the locks. When you draw hair, it’s a good idea to draw the locks first because they determine the hair-style. Notice that I wanted to space the locks out so I darkened the space between the locks that lie on the top.

Step 6:

Sketching tutorial - how to sketch a beautiful face.

 

Work a little more on the hair so that the direction in which the locks flow can be seen more clearly. At this point, I also remembered the existence of the ear, and shaded it a bit. Artists have a tendency to ignore the ear because it’s…well, a complicated organ to draw. However,  the good news is because people seldom look at each other’s ears, and they don’t really impact likeness – so if you work hard and understand the structure of ear once – you’ve got it bagged (eeks!)

Step 7:

Sketching tutorials by shafali - How to draw a pretty girl's head.

Next add some shades to the face. Notice the cheek that now looks more rounded. Also note that I’ve used two darkness levels while shading the cheek – this allows for a slight gradient, bringing roundness to the face.

Step 8:

Sketching tutorials - shafali - drawing the locks of hair on a woman's head.

Return to the hair. If you are wondering why I am making you hop, skip, and jump all over the drawing – it is because that’s how almost all artists (excluding the hyper-realists work.) We go on adding lines and textures intuitively. At this point, I felt an intuitive need to make the hair bulkier, so I filled it in some more. Notice that the individual strands are now more defined than before.

Step 9:

Sketching tutorials - shafali - Drawing hair and sketching a beautiful girl.

Some more work on the hair. Notice that I suddenly realized that when the hair is pulled up in a pony-tail – between the bangs and the pony-tail, the hair must appear to be darker because of the shadows – so more sketching…

Step 10:

Sketching tutorial - how to sketch a beautiful face.

Add more definition to the hair. Nothing special going on here, except that the front locks now look like they are made of individual hair-strands. Also note the addition of tiny wisps of hair that have escaped the confines of the lock. They make the hair look more natural.

Step 11:

Sketching tutorial - how to sketch a beautiful face.

When a persona stands against a background, the background usually contrasts with the face – this provides form to the face and makes it look more three-dimensional. This is why I darkened the area right behind the front profile. I left the white-space behind the pony-tail as-is, because the dark-hair automatically contrasts with the white-space.

Step 12:

Sketching tutorials - How to sketch the face of a beautiful girl.

 

The human neck is more or less cylindrical. So far, the neck has remained un-shaded and flat. Shade the neck by using lines that are parallel to the jawline in this case. The idea is to create a cylindrical shape through the shades.

Step 13:

Sketching tutorials - How to sketch the face of a beautiful girl.

 

Now return to the eye and the lips to darken them. Notice the slight shade near the nostrils – it makes the cheeks look more rounded and puts accent on the smile. For accentuating the smile, I’ve also upturned the corner of the lips a little. Add some shadow under the locks. The shadow makes the lock look more realistic.

Step 14:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - Sketching the facial profile of a beautiful woman.

 

Finally, if you like color – add a little color to the cheeks, the lips, the neck, and the hair. If you have Photoshop scan your drawing into your computer, set the layer to “multiply” and give a color-wash in the layer underneath. If you prefer to stay traditional, bring out your box of water-color pencils and add some color to it. This step is, of course, optional 🙂 If you were aiming at a black and white sketch, your job was done at Step 13!

Sign your work and pin it up on your soft board. Better still, photograph/scan/export it and share it with your friends 🙂

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A Personal Post – You’ll know if it is for you :)

Important Note:

This is your Opportunity to Bail Out!

This is a personal post meant for the regular readers of my blog. If you are here the first time, you’d be more interested in exploring the following links.

So…if you aren’t really interested in the monologue of this crazy caricaturist, use any of the above links to bail out. The decision is yours.

What?

You want to read on? So…go ahead, who is stopping you?!

Let us begin by answering the micro-dollar question.

Why the heck don’t I keep my Personal Posts Private?

The bloggers among you might wonder why I need to make an open-for-all personal post. Why don’t I mark my post private (I’ve never done it – so I don’t know how it’s done), and send passwords to everyone who I’d like to invite over to read it? An excellent question that evokes a mundane answer from this jaded caricaturist. I don’t do it because I really don’t know who among you feel close to me. I don’t actively attempt to draw commentators to my blog by commenting on other blogs (I hear that some use commenting as I scratch your whatever and you scratch mine!) When I leave a comment on another blog, it’s usually on an impulse – it’s because you post really touched my heart. (Now you know.)

I don’t believe in measuring cognitive relationships in microns, and so there are those blogs that I visit quite often but don’t leave a comment (bad manners, I know) and I know that there are people who visit my blog regularly but don’t leave a comment. It’s fair…and it’s fun. A relationship (even a dotted line relationship, such as the one that a blogger shares with the visitors) is a happy one only as long as it doesn’t develop expectations and generate a high-pressure situation for the any or both the parties.

Reverting to the original point of this post. I don’t mark any of my posts private, because I really don’t want to exclude anyone who has a relationship with this blog, and who for his or her own reasons, doesn’t want to make that relationship public by commenting/writing to me.

Momentous Changes in the Caricaturist’s Life:

With that little kink worked out, here’s what I wanted to tell you:

I am right in the middle of a sweeping change in my life. If you’ve known artists, you’d know that their sweeping changes seldom have anything to do with kids, sweethearts/spouses, even their stupid day jobs – so you can rule all that out. This change is more about the way I want to live – and in all honesty…I don’t want to live with senseless clutter. I qualify the clutter that I want to get rid of because I want to replace the senseless clutter with sensible clutter.

What Goes Out – The Senseless Clutter!

Here’s Senseless Clutter:

  • Fears that stop me from doing harmless stuff that can actually help me. (Note that I DON’T include “learning to drive” in my list of “harmless stuff that can be helpful” – for a disaster magnet like me, that stuff could be pretty harmful!)
  • emails that offer me work for peanuts – telling me that other Indians are working for peanuts so why can’t I (Quality of work notwithstanding.)
  • Movies that are a drain on my time and money (I am definitely not talking about the newest release in the X-Men series – X Men First Class, which I intend to watch this week.)
  • People who make me miserable instead of making me happy.
  • My blog needs to go through a transformational process too – especially if it is to reflect the changes that I wish to bring in my life.

What Stays Back and Comes In – The Sensible Clutter!

And Here’s the Sensible Clutter that I am keen on adding around me (Note that the right-brained thrive on clutter.)

  • A new set of pencils.
  • A few sketchbooks for rough work.
  • A few new fictional characters to share my mental space with.
  • Some books about places that I haven’t visited and I never will.
  • A degree in art (oh well, I can dream…can’t I?)
  • A new income-generating mechanism (I need to do something to keep my body and soul together – and that, dear readers, cannot be art – because whatever else, I am not prepared to sleep on the pavement. At least not yet.)

These changes will obviously reflect upon the nature and the content of this blog. You must’ve already noticed a few changes. For instance:

  • A new section called the Time-Machine has been added. This section would contain the summary of whatever I learn about the popular comic strips, when I research them for my learning.
  • Another new section called the Interactive Art Tutorials has been added. This section would include tutorials on cartooning. Don’t worry. This still remains primarily a caricature blog, but we’d see more cartoons here, as I suddenly have this wild urge to simplify my lines and create some cartoons.

While we are talking about the Interactive Art Tutorials, I would like to clarify that these tutorials are in Flash, they are interactive, can be downloaded to your computer, and they won’t put you to sleep. I’ve started by presenting two simple Owl-Drawing tutorials but you can expect a lot of other interesting stuff to appear in that section. If you’d want me to create a tutorial on something specific in cartooning, leave a comment here.

Be Warned. More new stuff is expected in the days to come. So if you stay away you miss out on the fun!

See you soon with a crisp commentary on the Comic Strip that once gave jitters to the US Army.  Which Comic Strip am I talking about? Any guesses?

Drawing Tutorial – 5 Ways to Generate Likeness in Caricatures

I happened to look at some caricatures today. These caricatures were executed with a high degree of finesse, and the technique used was perfect. However, something was amiss. The caricatures didn’t “belong” to the personality that was caricatured. The artist, I am sure, believed that he was caricaturing that specific celebrity, and through the eyes of his mind, he saw the face of that celebrity morph into that caricature; yet, if you looked at the caricature – even after knowing whose it was – you couldn’t see the likeness.

Likeness is possibly the most important yet the oft-ignored characteristic of a caricature.

“A Caricature is a humorous likeness of a person, created through selective exaggeration of his/her physiognomy (facial features) and other physical attributes.”
 Source: Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures (Chapter 1)

Note that likeness is important. Without likeness, the caricature doesn’t belong to “a person”; without likeness, the caricature might as well be a cartoon.

Likeness isn’t easy to achieve, especially in caricatures, because you go about distorting the person’s features, and with every little distortion, some likeness is lost – unless the distortion is done selectively.

Here are a few pointers that may come in handy for generating likeness:

  1. Before you begin a caricature, remind yourself that likeness is primarily based on the structure of the face. Great technique could change your caricature into a masterpiece, provided you had built in the likeness when you were sketching it. No technique can compensate for the lack of likeness.
  2. Remember that you don’t have to exaggerate everything. Recall the Gestalt theory of Figure and Ground. It applies to faces too. In every face, some features stand out; others recede.

    In every face, there are features that standout – that make that face the face it is. Identify such elements and focus on them for exaggeration. Try to limit the number of features you exaggerate to 4. It should help.

  3. According to the Geon Theory by Dr. Biederman, “we recognize faces (and other objects in our environment) by breaking them (figuratively speaking) into geometric elements.” So, focus on the shapes of the characteristic features. Is Morgan Freeman’s nose spherical, are Rowan Atkinson’s eyes elliptical? Exaggerate not just the size, but also the shape. Don’t meddle with the eyes. Repeat. Don’t meddle with the eyes – unless:
    1. you think that the eyes are extremely important (figure?) or
    2. you believe that you can really caricature them without letting them lose their character.
  4. Remember that it’s easier to learn the sum of all the art-techniques, than to learn how to draw the eyes with true likeness, let alone exaggerate them. In most cases, if you don’t exaggerate the eyes and instead you draw them with complete fidelity; irrespective of what you do with the other features, your caricature will maintain the likeness.
  5. Let someone else look at your drawing, before you shade it in or color it. This might save you a lot of heartache later. It’s good to remember that all caricaturists go wrong sometime or the other…but if you get another “brave” opinion from someone who doesn’t really care a lot about how he’d (or she’d) end up in your bad books by criticizing, you could end up being the caricaturist who seldom goes wrong 🙂

I hope this helps all those fabulous artists out there, who make beautiful portraits and who have great technique, but who wonder why likeness eludes their caricatures.

Licensing Caricatures, Free Book, and Some Straight Talk!

Every once in a while, I feel like slowing down, taking stock, and talking:) This is one of those once-in-a-whiles.

The Beginnings of this Caricature Blog

I started this blog about 9 months ago – hoping that it would help me smile.  I began my art-journey as a traditional portrait artist, then I freelanced with a book publisher,  and then I did some work in the fantasy art genre for a couple of American RPG publishers – so there was a time when I managed to sell some stray bits of art,  but that was a long time ago – and it isn’t something that I truly relished.  The only good part was that I never had to do what makes every artist, every writer cringe – I wasn’t ever asked to do rework , except once – when after a couple of non-productive rework rounds, I chose to give up. Then for many years I decided not to publish my art – there was a phase when I’d refuse work, when I stripped away all my artwork from the web – in a nutshell, when I decided to give up.

Drawing is my Passion NOT my Profession!

I’d still draw almost every day – but I drew because I couldn’t stop myself from picking up a pencil (I have a couple of hundreds of those), until one cold December morning, when I saw this funny man in the newspaper. I dropped my comb and I sketched his caricature, which became the first caricature on this blog.  Creating caricatures for this blog has been fun, mainly because I don’t have to work with time-lines, and also because I can draw whoever I want to.  If I don’t want to draw someone, I just won’t draw him or her – and if I want to, it doesn’t matter whether that person is not a very popular guy. In art, I don’t like to do things that I am asked to do – I prefer to do what I want to. I don’t like to ask people to do things for me for FREE, because I value their independence and their time, and I expect them to value mine.

Do you Want to License my Caricatures for Commercial Use?

I’d like to say that with the growing popularity of your favorite blog, I am beginning to receive requests for free and paid work. I think I am doing enough for free (all the caricatures that appear on this blog are free for people to use in their non-commercial products, and the caricature book too is free, if you want to read it online.) If you want to make a few thousand copies of my caricatures and use them in your “commercial applications” they aren’t free at all. I’d also like to make a recommendation to the serious, well-intentioned people who wish to use the caricatures from this blog commercially, to be upfront about their organization, their intention – and if possible, NOT consider me their “vendor” even before I’ve reviewed their requirement. Be nice if you want to be treated nicely – Drawing is my love, not my profession. If you aren’t happy introducing yourself, you should find other artists – and sadly there’s a glut of out-of-work artists in this part of the world!

This may sound arrogant, but I can’t stop myself from writing this. I never thought to write it earlier but recently my mail-box isn’t entirely happy with the kind of emails that find their way there.

Sharing What I know for those who “Genuinely” want to Learn – My FREE Online Book – “How to Draw Caricatures – The Evolution of a Caricaturist”

Sometime  in January 2010, I also started writing “The Evolution of a Caricaturist” – A Book on How to Draw Caricatures. This book is almost complete with 10 out of its 14 chapters online. I’ve received some good feedback on this book and I have received an unofficial offer for its publication. I am still reflecting on how I should go ahead with it – but the fact that the 10 chapters that are currently online for this book have garnered about 22000 views so far (Don’t go by the numbers they show there – Knols have a funny way of updating data), tells me that there are people out there who are finding it useful. A big Thank You to all the readers of this book:) I promise to complete it very soon:)

How to Draw the Caricature of Dr. Albert Einstein – the Greatest Scientist of the Twentieth Century

Dr. Albert Einstein’s caricature is among the easiest to draw. He has features that hanker for the caricaturist’s eyeballs. His hair, his nose, and his quirked-up eyebrows that push the skin of his forehead into those innumerable furrows and lines – all demand your attention. They leap out of his face and grab hold of your hand to make you draw them!

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait, Drawing of Albert Einstein, the greatest mind of the twentieth century, who won a nobel prize for his discovery of the photoelectric effect.

Why? I wonder.

Excellent. So his face isn’t like Jack Nicholson’s (with a signboard that says, “everything you see, you can caricature for 99 cents”,) nor is it like George Clooney’s (a treasure hunt in a Martian desert.) Einstein’s face is somewhere between that of these two. It tempts you to fetch your pencil and your drawing pad as the three prominent features in his face are really, madly prominent!

I discussed the folly of trying to caricature “everything” in the previous tutorial, “How to Draw the Caricature of Jack Nicholson – The Wolf.” Listening to my own advice (yes, unlike many, I trust my own advice,) I decided to exaggerate the following features.

  • The Hair
  • The forehead with one brow quirked-up
  • The Nose

The first step in creating any drawing is to…begin, and so I began. When I draw faces, I draw the eyes first, and those eyes watch me draw. This can be an especially unnerving experience when the person watching you draw is Dr. Albert Einstein! I kept my cool, avoided his assessing glare, and continued to sketch. After drawing in the eyes, I moved to the nose, and then to the lips…his eyes continued to follow my pencil, everywhere.

After a while, I gave up, and looked straight into his eyes, and then I realized that there was more to Einstein than his face. I began to remember what I had read of his life. Einstein was known for his brain. He was thought to have been born with a bigger brain.

Lo and Behold! If the expression sounds archaic, please excuse me – for I am (archaic) too.

So…once again…

Lo and Behold! I decided to exaggerate the size of his forehead!

Here is how the caricature was created.

Caricaturing Einstein’s Eyes and Brows

Check out any picture of Einstein, he’s got a bemused look on his face. He seems to be looking at world and saying, “It can all be explained through the General Principle of Relativity.” So I pushed up his quirky eyebrow a tad more to exaggerate the look.

Caricaturing Einstein’s Nose

Einstein’s nose isn’t one of those razor-sharp, slice-n-dice kind of nose. It’s a soft, round, and bulbous nose – a little longer than the normal. All this makes the nose-bulb(?) look like it’s experiencing the full force of gravity!

(Dear Sir Isaac Newton, I hope that you and Dr. Einstein get along well in heaven, and both of you along with Dr. John Wheeler, use the quantum foam to stay in touch with the scientists of our time. I assure you, they need your help to clean up the BP Oil Spill Mess!)

Oh, the nose! As you can surmise, I wanted the nose to become longer, and its bulb to become more bulbous; so I pulled the lower anchor points out of the feature frame, until the nose overshot the lips. (To understand anchor points and feature frame, read “The Evolution of a Caricaturist“.)

Caricaturing Einstein’s Hair

Einstein’s hair is magnificent. It’s white, long, and fluffy (he used a shampoo that he invented himself – right?) I added the effect of the electric hair blower on the white, long, and fluffy, to make them more prominent.

I also fluffed up Einstein’s mustache and tweaked it a little at the ends:)

Caricaturing Einstein’s Forehead

Inspired by Dr. Einstein’s supervising eyes, I made his forehead and also his head, bigger. Remember that the head is almost hemispherical. I decided to exaggerate not the size of the hemisphere, but its shape! Look at the forehead closely and try to visualize the head – you’ll “see” that the shape tends to be a sphere more than a hemisphere.

Einstein’s forehead has a lot of prominent lines. I exaggerated the lines. Look at the right edge of the forehead – you can even see the folds. When your exaggeration moves out of the facial space (at the edges) it becomes stronger.

That was all I did – and Einstein’s caricature winked at me:) My job was done!

If you are interested in exploring the techniques involved in drawing caricatures further, I recommend the following:

Have fun caricaturing:-) Spread the Smile!

Learn to Draw on Twitter – Tutorial 1 – How to Draw an Angry Face!

If you are interested in learning how to draw while you are on the move, follow
TheCaricaturist on Twitter
!

This tutorial shall comprise about a dozen or more tweets (which we will call tuto-tweets). It will outline a step-wise process to draw an angry face. Serious students of drawing should read each tuto-tweet and do what it asks:-) You might want to share this with your friends and do it together – drawing is often more fun when done with friends.

You are also welcome to leave links to your drawings in the comment section of this page:)

So, if you are ready, let’s begin. I’ll tweet whenever I can, but to get you started I’ll make the preparatory tweets in quick succession. If you miss any of the tuto-tweets, you’ll be able to check them out at http://twitter.com/thecaricaturist

Spread the Smile:)

The Caricaturist Brings Drawing Tutorials to Twitter!

STOP!

Before you begin, read the following WARNING!

This post is about Drawing Tutorials on Twitter, but we come to that part only at the end of this post. If you are a no-nonsense sort of person then you should scroll down immediately. Do it now, or you’ll be hooked to my personal tale of twitter agony!

You didn’t!
So, read on.

It all began with a question that I asked myself!

I asked:
Why am I on Twitter?

If you know the answer, please tell me, because I don’t. The follow-just-for-the-heck-of-it suits neither my smart visitors nor me.

I’ll be truthful. I am not a celebrity and so people aren’t really dying to catch a glimpse of me kissing Madonna (Yuck! I am not linking that one. You’ve seen enough of those – right?) nor are they tripping over each other’s shoes to see what I wore to the party last night. Actually, I am a 70- ft- down-(in)to-earth person who spends about two hours trying to find the right lead for her mechanical pencils and comes home lugging about two dozen lead boxes in all sizes and darkness-levels!

So…obviously my tweets would have nothing to offer to you.
You want to tell me that I am being too critical…?
Nah!
You want tweets that are entertaining and fun…and which add that little extra to your life. The little extra…you know, like mayonnaise on toast or mustard on pizza?

Let’s face it…

  • What use to you is a fortnightly tweet that tells you that I forgot to switch off the stove and that another pan gave its life for the cause of art? (I could templatize the tweet and use it again and again and again…until I turn old and gray…or until twitter loses its glitter!)
  • What use to you is a daily tweet that tells you that I’m going for a shower? Unless of course, I lose my mind completely and webcast the shower itself, including my slipping on a cake of soap and skidding through the length of the bathroom…rest censored – no gory accidents will ever be narrated on this blog.)
  • Or for that matter, what use is a diurnal tweet which tells you that I just brushed my teeth and had a hard time pulling out the piece of mint that got stuck in the recess between my upper front teeth?

Had I been a celebrity (say, I were Lady Gaga or Angelina Jolie, or even Hitler,) you might be interested in reading what I tweeted (the past tense for tweet isn’t twat – for obvious reasons. If the reasons aren’t obvious to you, follow this link.)

If I were a close friend or even a prospective sweetheart, you would’ve wanted to read all about me scratching my head, sneezing three times in a row, or even yawning until tears filled my eyes while I typed in the tweet. But as I am none of these…there’s no reason on earth that should prompt you to read my 140-character (pshaw!) tweets!

Now what?

  1. Let us use Twitter for something more sensible!
  2. Let us use TWITTER to LEARN DRAWING!

Yes!

Drawing Tutorials by TheCaricaturist on Twitter:

This is how we go about it.
I shall make a series of tweets against a topic. These tweets will list the steps that will help you create a particular drawing. Each month, I could publish 1-2 tutorials, and you could go through them on the move. We’ll call these tweets, tuto-tweets!

Find @TheCaricaturist on Twitter. We begin tomorrow!

An Important Post-script:

If you are wondering whether I really can give you tips on how to draw well, the following links may help your decision-making.