What we make should be what we love to create. I put a lot of pressure on myself to learn how to paint portraits and sketch figures back in the days of text books and graphite pencils. Since then, I haven’t really put those skills to use. I was so burnt out on technical proportions and shading that I went almost completely away from using these techniques at all. College almost wiped the art right out of my fingers. My illustrations. My little darlings that have had no boundaries because they are just creations in my head, have been my escape since then. A way to keep art in my life without really having to follow the rules.
Having given myself back to the idea that “anything goes” this year in my creative journey, I had the urge to revisit my despised enemy from Figure Sketching 101, the portrait. I didn’t want to just apply classic techniques to a current portrait. I wanted to bridge the gap that my charcoal pencils left as I lit a fire fleeing from technical imprisonment. I did a little research, and found the work of the amazing and whimsical Dina Wakley.
I sketched and painted along with her YouTube tutorials on drawing and painting artistic faces, and thirty minutes later I was in la la land with a new outlook on creativity. She covers just enough technical matter to get you using your brain, but let’s you play and focus on not taking things so seriously. The way learning and painting should be.
I’m kind of pissed off at the art teacher that I looked up to so much in my late teens. I want to write her a letter and ask her why she obliterated my passion for portraiture. In further thought, maybe her creative soul sucking tactics were there to make sure I learned what I needed to learn in order to progress. What if I hadn’t found Dina though?
So my advice to all of us is this: Art should be fun. There are other ways to learn if one way isn’t working. Get out there and research. Practice with the classics, but find other ways to make it work for you. Don’t freaking take it all so seriously!
Materials used: Watercolor, Gouache, Graphite Pencils