29 Faces – Aloof/Haughty

29 FacesOkay, new month, new challenge. last week was a prime example of as to why I need a challenge to keep me going. The Blogging A to Z Challenge finished and I dropped off the radar.

I do have a number of projects on the go, but none of them generate enough work to blog about them every second day or so and I enjoyed the A to Z challenge so much, I want to keep going.

Well today I came across the 29 Faces Challenge. I’d heard about this one around the net, but I have never participated in it. This is a sequel to a previous challenge and I’m entering seven days late, leaving me behind before I even start, but what the hey. Gotta be in it to win it.

But why do I want to draw faces? I’ve done a lot of portraiture over the years, and while my skills are far from perfect, I do think I’ve made some progress. There is one problem, though. All my portraiture is directly from photographs, copying them pixel by pixel because I don’t feel confident that I can create a decent face without following the stockshot explicitly. Every time I try to draw a face from scratch with no stockshot I end up with a manniquin’s face. Slack, lacking emotion, not alive. Sometimes I manage to do that even when I have a stockshot on hand.

So why do I want to draw 29 faces? Practise. I’m going to use those 29 faces to go through facial expressions and emotions, with no stockshots. I do have a book on cartooning here that lists the emotions and gives pointers on how to create some of them. I’m going to follow those pointers and try to construct a face for each emotion and make it work. Then I’m going to post it here and deconstruct it and explain how that emotion is created on the page.

Don’t expect perfection here. You’re going to see some rawboned drawing full of honest errors. Tonight’s example had some major encounters with my eraser and is showing the struggle I had to create what I wanted to create. These drawings will be exercises only. Exercises I plan to try and learn from and maybe through posting them here, help someone else learn to draw these emotions as well.

I don’t know whether I’ll make it to 29, but I’ll give it a go.

First up…Aloof.

Aloof-haughtyThis proved to me exactly how much of a struggle this challenge is going to be. The drawing only took a short while, maybe 15-20 minutes all up, but during that time I really had to wrestle with it and this is about the fourth attempt I made. It is officially Aloof/Haughty because to be honest, he looks more haughty than aloof.

The trick in this one is while the upper eyelid is relaxed and a little droopy, the eyebrows are active and raised somewhat. This gives the impression of tall upper eyelids and lends to that impression of ‘looking down one’s nose’. Because the upper eyelids are relaxed downward, the eyes slit a little. I had some difficulty with the lower eyelids. I kept wanting to push them up to slit the eyes more, but it never worked the right way, so they were removed completely.

The lower part of the face is allowed to slacken, letting the cheeks drop, the mouth get a little smaller. This can also give the impression that the person has tasted something sour, which if encouraged can change the expression to one of disdain.

I could also have added some emphasis to his hair to extend the haughtiness, but I wanted to focus on his face moreso and see if I could get away with it despite his having non-aloof hair 😀

One thing I don’t think I will be able to do with this challenge is to do full detailed realistic faces. These will all have to be semi-caricatures, simply because it takes me too long to draw a realistic face and my time is crimped at both ends.

Anyways, there is face number one…28 to go.

Best wishes,