While I’ve tried to draw many things, either digitally or on traditional media, the one thing that has always scared me was drawing people. In particular, faces have been a source of sheer terror for me. My attempts at sculpting human features in Blender were not my best efforts.
I have done some experimentation recently with watercolor pencils and found sketching out the shape I want with a pencil very much to my liking as I feel I have a level of control I haven’t yet achieved with a brush. To that end, I decided that it was time to try to see if I could sketch a portrait of someone with a pencil on paper.
For my first attempt, I chose Sir Patrick Stewart playing Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation as he is one of my very favorite actors playing one of my very favorite characters and I respect and admire both of them very much.
I will admit that one of the reasons I chose Picard was that the thought of drawing hair was a bit scary and Picard is easy in that regard. He turned out well though and gave me enough confidence to try another sketch.
The next person I sketched was Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the most recent Star Wars movies. The older Luke I find fascinating; while young Luke was brash and then a bit brooding as he matured, old Luke was a haunted man. He hid himself away from the galaxy, alone with the knowledge that it was his fear and subsequent actions made from fear that turned a scared young man, his nephew Ben Solo, into a tool of the resurrected Empire as Kylo Ren.
The look on his face was one of a haunted man, scared and angry. Scared at what he had unleashed, angry at himself for both causing the sequence of events and for running away, even though he rationalised it as so he could not do any more damage.
The hair and beard were interesting to draw. Skywalker at this stage was a disheveled shadow of the young man he had been. I was particularly impressed at how Hamill played the conflicted character. (While Episodes 7 – 9 weren’t exactly stellar, I did enjoy seeing the old players back again)
From there, I returned to the Star Trek universe and sketched a portrait of Kate Mulgrew as the strong yet feminine Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager. She was in an impossible situation with no one she could defer to with the Federation so far away and not even aware that they were still alive, and no one she could confide in. The captain’s chair is often a lonely one, and hers was perhaps as lonely as you could get.
Being a feminine face, I made more use of shading instead of hard lines on the features. Kate Mulgrew also has a very distinctive mouth shape (as well as eyebrows I’m extremely jealous of). I spent a bit more time on the top of her uniform as well to try to give her context. I didn’t put her captain’s pips on because I didn’t trust myself to get them right and so spoil the picture.
All up, the sketching I have done so far has been very enjoyable and I’ve learned a lot. I plan to do more, and also combine the sketching with the watercolor pencils to see what I can come up with.