Thursday, May 9, 2013

Art Lesson: A Mother's Day Sketch.

For mother's day,
I wanted to draw a picture of a good friend who just had her first baby
(I will refrain from using her name for her privacy).

 I love this picture.
It speaks volumes.

Sometimes, to help me get the correct proportions, I take out a ruler and measure what is there,
so I can get a better idea of the proper sizes/placement of the image on the paper.

 I measured the full length of the image.

 I also measured the widest section,
from the mom's back to the edge of the baby's blanket.

 I took facial measurement since they are so important to get right
and are often what I find to be the hardest part to get correct.

 A few other helpful measurements are taken.

 I then lightly sketch in a rough outline, remembering the measurements and adjusting as I go.
My image is not the same exact size as the original, so I have to roughly enlarge each section,
sketching not so much in exact inch measurements, 
but in half, thirds, and quarters, etc.

 Because I want to make this into a card,
I decided to add a border, choosing a heart shape.

 Sometimes, when I want to check on how to see the image in a more simple way,
I use whatever I find handy to set it up visually for me to better see it.

I had some unused craft sticks on the table, so I used them to help me check on my angles and proportions.

 First I put them on the picture I was drawing from as I drew in some of the details.

 Then I put the craft sticks on my own picture to see how it was measuring up and adjusted it as necessary.

(the white bits in her hair are scratches on the copy...
just thought I should make mention in case somebody wondered)

I was having trouble getting her eye to look right,
so I focused on the light by squinting at the picture.

I realized there was a "bubble" along the closed eye, where the eyeball shape from underneath was visible,
so I worked at this til it looked right,
adding some curled eyelashes as well as the slightly opened eye underneath.

I then began to work on the nose and lips, lightly at first, and darkening when I felt I had caught the look I was trying to get.

 I find I am always looking back at the original to correct the lines I draw,
back and forth,
and sitting back to analyze
(as I am right now and want to get up and go correct something I see in the lash line and where the top of the nose starts because one of the biggest necessities of being an artist demands constant critiquing to get the lines right).

 Sometimes, artistic license can be used to change a picture, 
such as my decision to let some hair fall down the back.
It isn't necessary, but I wanted it this way for the card.

Getting the proportions of sweet baby's head was tricky,
as well as his barely visible sleeping eyes.

When I needed a break from all the exacting details, I began to sketch in some flowers around the border,
as well as part of a bold edging. Sometimes I like to break up delicate images with confident, distinct ones.

 It is looking the way I am wanting, but I set it down to share these tips with you
and will continue to finish this.

I hope to have the finished version of it up before mother's day
(if my own sweet bairns do not steal all my attention away).

Happy sketching and thanks for stopping by!

(The completed sketch can be seen >HERE<)


  1. Proportions...what a beautiful sketch. I did not know that so much went into a sketch. I am intrigued.

  2. I have just about zero talent, but I love that you share this process. I keep hoping something will click and I could make something called art - even a loose interpretation. I have pinned a couple of your posts.

    Are you aware of the blog paris breakfast blogspot ? She has moved to Paris and She does water colors and blogs about it. It is lovely and if you are not aware of it I just wanted to share with you.

    Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon

    1. Thanks so much for you comment. No, I had not heard of the Paris Breakfast Blogger. I will definitely check that out. Paris is such a beautiful place. I would love to see her paintings!
      Thank you for pinning some of my pieces. I have so much to learn and improve on in my own artwork. I don't think anybody is ever really satisfied with their art capabilities. I have moments I like the way something has turned out, but then I get other times where I hate it and want to throw it out and chuck the pencil into the trash. It is, like everything, something to learn and keep working at, if you find it worth the effort. Granted, some things are not worth the effort to us, like skydiving would be to me. I admire it when other people do it, I love the thought of the thrill it must give, but I don't think I'd ever want to try it for myself. Although if I actually did, I might find myself in love with it, but that's beside the point. :) Thank you for your sweet words and I hope you have a wonderful week.

  3. You are really talented.

    Pearl 13.1

    1. Thank you, Michele. I feel like it's work trying to capture what I am trying to say through art sometimes, but I do love it. :)


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.