Mike Sibley   Comment Posted Jan.22nd, 2013, viewed 92 times

Using a larger-than-life scale for this exercise would, I'd hoped, enable you to better understand the process, and it gave you the opportunity to let rip with the darks. Yours are not as dark as they could have been, which is not a fault but they don't push the light hairs as far forwards and you lose a lot of depth. Also, do try to get the ends of the white hairs sharp-edged - the sharper the better. Wooly edges belong to distant objects, not foreground ones.

When you connected the shadows above to the hairs below, you would have benefitted from splitting that area up into small sections. I tend to start a line in the shade above and look to see where it might end. I draw that line and it represents one side of a lock of hair. Then I complete that lock. I move to the next by again moving along a bit and starting another line that aims for a believable end. I've tried to show you that in the image below - not very well, but I was just trying to show you the principle. It adds depth, interest, and more realism.

All I've done in that section is increase the contrast (mainly strengthening the darks and removing white from them), sharpen the edges to form more believable "hair end" shapes, to bring the lower shapes more gradually out of the shade above, and to picture their three-dimensional form (and applying a bit of tone to describe it).

Your tendency was to simply shade from dark to light throughout, so I can't follow any hair from root to tip. It's definitely layered, but too "neat" in between the layers. The hairs won't usually all lay completely flat and mooth - and the out-of-place hairs that usually give a sense if reality.

What also concerns me is the cast shadow. The hairs casting it are of varying lengths but your shadow has an almost straight edge from one end to the other. It didn't necessarily need to correspond exactly with the hairs above but it should at least have been broken up a bit. Your shadow suggests that all the hairs it's falling on are flat and in one long ribbon. I don't think you ever saw that shadow as having much to do with the hairs below - it had no reality for you. However, imagine one of those locks of hairs in three-dimensions... it's a rounded form so the cast shadow would wrap around it. And if a lock emerged from just under the hairs above, the shadow would be short - and if it was deeper, the shadow would be longer. See image below again, and you should see that my alterations give immediate interest and depth to the three-dimensional form. You should feel as though you could poke your pencil into those holes.

The most important aspect of both of these exercises was the ability to see and create white shapes as you drew dark lines. When you draw, you should always be as aware of the white you are leaving as you are of the marks you are drawing - they are equally important. I can see from this exercise that you have that ability, but not yet that of seeing in three-dimensions what you are drawing.

Now you only need to learn to apply this method to smaller scale drawings. If you put the drawing of the lock exercise from last week together with these two, you should have all you need to draw believable hair, with the exceptions of very soft or wooly hair, but even then you could use adaptations of the three methods.

In response to image:

Maggie Jan.21st, 2013
Image added to Drawing from Line to Life: DG201:6 Drawing hair:

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