Workshop 1 – 2020

Lesson 2 Questions

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    Hi Everyone!

    Thanks for participating in video lesson 2

    Here’s the thread to post all questions related to the second video lesson – please post any related questions on this video here – so I don’t miss anything.

    Hope you’re enjoying learning with me!


    More Tutorials:


    So one thing I’ve noticed is that during my block in or even during the rendering I can look at what I’ve done and can tell something’s off but I can’t “see” what it is. It’s strange but one thing I’ve learned to do is to take a photo of my drawing with the reference beside it and for some reason I’m able to see the errors better. There are times though that I can tell something’s off but even with that method I can’t tell. My question is, is there any other methods to being able to see you’re mistakes?
    I’m learning to be more patient and try to catch those mistakes earlier on but there are still times when I just can’t seem to see the issues. Thanks!


    Great question! And the answer is: yes. There are a few things you can try.

    Taking a photo is a great one – but the other options will work in a similar way. Basically you’re trying to trick your brain to see things in a new way. Think about proof-reading text – how often do we look something over & totally miss a spelling mistake? The reason is that our brain sees the basic info & then passes right over it.

    Same with a drawing – we see the basic info & pass over the stuff that is ‘wrong’ (or areas that need more finishing for example). Im notorious for signing and portrait & then realizing i missed rendering an ear. Always the ears!! Once i even had it framed before i realized. Doh.

    So, on to your question: as well as the photo trick you can try:

    1. Flipping your work upside down (you can try flipping your reference too if that helps). Instead of seeing a nose, you’ll see the shapes that make it up.

    2. Leave the room for a few minutes – come back in & look at it with fresh eyes – just walk in & immediately stare at it – it sounds funny but it can really work – you can identify problem areas because you’ve looked at it anew.

    3. On really tough problems (or very finicky ones) I often put it in the corner of my studio & just leave a piece there for days, weeks – even months – if there’s no deadline. You’d be amazed what you’ll notice if you just look at it from time to time as you work on other pieces.

    I hope those help. Upside down is probably the simplest & most direct but this gives you a few other ideas too.


    Hi guys. I did with the camera too. It works on me but sometimes too many times. So what I did was the number 2, i actually leave it for awhile and then go back to it.. whoaa obviously I’m way too off! 😆😆 i think I’m gonna try on the flipping the work.. thank you for the tips.


    Hello JD,
    Sometimes other people can see the mistakes more easily, They have no knowledge of the process or of the progress of the drawing, so see it for what it is. Sometimes it helps to ask someone or just see their reaction to a drawing. Often younger people are quite helpful. Obviously some people are better at noticing if something is not quite right than others. So hopefully you can find one or more people to comment on your drawing.

    Staying away from your drawing for awhile is very good. You do see it a differently when you return to it.


    Great tips! Something that has helped train my eye is to print out the reference the size I will be drawing and start with sight-sizing for basic landmarks. Then I trace the outlines on a piece of clear acetate with a fine point marker and lay that over my drawing now and then to see where I’m getting off if something doesn’t look quite right.


    Hello Justin,

    Thank you for doing this great course.

    I’m taking this course slowly as i have only ever done one graphite portrait before and I used the grid method {first time using that method at all for anything}.
    I am still waiting for my ordered toned paper to arrive, very frustrating having to wait this long after a problem from the sellers end.
    I have been practicing blocking in ONLY, using reference photos from the internet. I worked from looking at the photos on my screen and did freehand drawing, as I prefer it. I have found that I need a much softer touch, and also I think I may be erasing and rearranging lines too much. I do get faster with each one and try my best to reduce the rubbing out each time. My sketches do look like the individual I am trying to draw., and I’m happy with that. The last one I did from a print out, and I thought I’d try to render it to completion. My “blocking out” face almost fits that of the original when I place the original behind my drawing. It is only slightly askew. I stopped at this stage.
    My questions for you are: Should I persist and continue working on the current drawing as it is ? Or do I try fix the misalignment? Or Do I start again on the same project or try a fresh one and try to complete that ?
    PS there away to send you photos of my progress , without it going to the gallery?


    Ultimately its your call but I think that most of the time its better to persist and try to fix the problems with a drawing rather than abandon it. Some times this is not possible (too many errors, an unforgiving medium or support, or simply a bad day) but more often than not you’ll learn more from your mistakes (and fixing them) than just starting over again.

    I would not recommend beginning rendering if you already see a problem with a block-in. If we go back to the house analogy: you cant fix a sloping foundation by putting in granite counters in the kitchen. Get the foundation right and the rendering stage will be a much smoother process.

    I believe the gallery is the only way to upload images here yes.


    Ahhh okay

    Thank you very much. “Get the foundation right”
    I’ll try again with the same face.

    Richard Peck

    Hi folks. In the past I’ve found Justin’s suggestions 1&2 very helpful. Another trick I’ve found useful is to put the source picture and my work side by side then flick my eyes quickly between the two focusing on the different features. If the feature in my work seems to move I check it out.

    Magdalena B

    Thanks for sharing the trick, Richard.


    I find looking at a drawing in a mirror shows where I’m off really quickly.

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