So after finishing ANOTHER revision of The Illusion Queen I decided to take up sketching while I wait for the proof-read and the cover art to come in. I did try some writing but the burn out was pretty obvious. It can be exhausting to write, even on a good day, and I needed a creative outlet that would help me charge up for the final push of proofing and putting the book together.
This is my latest sketch, of one of my favorite subjects, the silent film actress Anna May Wong. What appealed to me about this one was the pose (so far I have just done faces) and the way the light outlines her face and arm. I was pretty happy with this, but I would definitely put more work in the details on the armband, hands, and dress next time around.
This is from a photo of a young Gary Cooper. It was my first attempt at a profile, and aside from making his forehead dip too steeply I was pretty happy with it. It was also the first one that didn't elicit laughs from my children when they saw it.
The intensity of his stare and the way the cigarette dangled from his lips is what drew me to this portrait. If I was a writer in the 1930s I would do a pose like this for my book jacket!
This is the upraised fist of Nelson Mandela. Hands are a challenge, and this one especially because it is very different from my own. The image itself appealed to me, but also the shape of the fingers and the challenge of making it somewhat three dimensional. I have also tried drawing Mandela's portrait, with far less success.
My art teacher helped me greatly with this. Her help was invaluable in learning how to get the angles right, and telling me how to draw shadows, not lines, to make a more realistic look.
Another portrait of Anna May Wong (told you she was one of my favorite subjects). I would redo the hair, and I don't think I quite captured the slightly mischievous smile on the photo. This was a challenge. The slight angle on her face from looking over her shoulder made drawing the eyes the most labor intensive part. Not entirely successful, but far better than my first attempt, where I ended up making her look like she was transforming into an alien.
I've really enjoyed my break from writing, and want to continue sketching whenever I have the time. The fun part for me is the feeling that, by drawing people from the past, I am in a way bringing them back to life. Not trying to sound pretentious, but it struck me how it really did feel that way as I finished the portrait on the top!