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Beginners Drawing Class - Week 6 - Logical Lights and Self Portrait Round Two: Fight!

anableanable Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Artist's Corner
Originally I started off putting each week into it's own thread, but now I'm going to just update this thread with lessons each week.

Week One can be found in this thread.
Week Two can be found in this thread.
Week Three can be found in this very post!
Week Four can be found in this post.
Week Five can be found in this post.
Week Six can be found in this post.

Edges, Spaces, Relationships, oh my!
Drawing can be described as a combination of five perceptual skills:
  • Edges (the "shared" edges of a drawing)
  • Spaces (called negative spaces)
  • Relationships (perspective and proportion)
  • Lights and Shadows (shading)
  • Gestalt (the whole or "thingness" of that thing - not to be confused with "that thing I sent you")

Becoming proficient in these areas is essential for a well-rounded artist. This week we focus on edges, spaces, and relationships. Using the plastic plane and viewfinder, we are able to capture the 3D world on a 2D sheet of paper. Even famous artists like Van Gogh and Holbein utilized equipment similar to our plastic plane and viewfinder to help them get a handle on these ideas.

To ensure you get the most out of the lessons, it is a very good idea to read all of the instructions before beginning a given exercise. Also, lessons are beginning to build on one another more than before, so it is a good idea to do them in order.

Drawing on the picture plane:
  1. Bust out your viewfinder and plastic plane.
  2. Rest your hand on a table in front of you, pointing your fingers back up towards you. This should create a foreshortened view of your hand.
  3. Try the two viewfinders and decide which one more accurately captures your hand (males generally use the larger viewfinder, and females generally use the smaller viewfinder).
  4. Place the plastic plane and the viewfinder on your hand, positioning your fingers so that it is easy to balance. You may need to clip the view finder to the plane to keep it from moving.
  5. Close one eye, choose an edge and begin tracing your hand using your non-permanent marker.
  6. Be sure to avoid moving your head or hand so that the entire picture is from a single perspective. Closing one eye helps maintain that single point of view.
  7. Put your plastic plane on a blank sheet of paper to see the result.

The result should look something like this:

Modified contour drawing of your hand:
  1. Using the inside edge of your viewfinder, draw a border or frame on your paper.
  2. Tone the paper by rubbing the edge of your graphite stick lightly over the paper, staying inside of your frame.
  3. Once the paper is covered with a light application of graphite, use a paper towel to rub the graphite into the paper using circular motions and applying even pressure throughout.
  4. Next, draw horizontal and vertical lines in your frame to match those on your plastic plane. Don't draw the lines too dark as they are only a guideline and should not stand out from the finished picture.
  5. Draw the main edges of your hand, using the the plastic plane from the previous exercise as a reference. Feel free to erase as necessary and use the paper towel to rub in the missing graphite as needed.
  6. After the rough sketch is complete, pose your hand in the same position as the picture.
  7. Closing one eye again, focus on your hand from the same perspective as it is on sketch. Pick a point on your hand and place your pencil at that same point on your drawing.
  8. As with your Pure Contour drawing, follow the edges of your hand with your eye and capture it with your pencil. Imagine your cross hairs and viewfinder over your hand to help you keep proportion.
  9. You may choose to erase the graphite between the edges of your hand. This helps create negative space and makes your hand stand out from the rest of the paper.

The end result should looking something like this:

Negative space drawing of a chair:
Before beginning this exercise it's important to get an understanding of what negative spaces are. The example used by Betty is to think of Bugs Bunny running through a hallway at high speed. He smashes through the door at the end of the hallway, leaving just the outline of his body in the door. The rest of the door is the "negative space" of Bugs Bunny. Part of our vases/faces exercise was also an example of negative spaces.
  1. As with the hand contour drawing, frame, tone, and cross hair your paper.
  2. Choose any type of chair and place it against a simple background (such as a corner or a blank wall).
  3. Fasten your viewfinder to your plastic plane and place it in front of your face, closing one eye. Move the plastic plane around until you capture the chair in a composition that you like.
  4. Hold the plastic plane still and begin drawing the negative spaces around the chair. Again, do not draw the outline of the chair! Draw the spaces around it.
  5. Once you've completed this, find a "base unit" to begin transferring the image to paper. A base unit is a negative space that you use as a reference point for the rest of the picture. Pick a base unit that is of medium size and is near the cross hairs.
  6. Continue to draw the spaces of the chair, moving out from the base unit and using the cross hairs for reference.
  7. Once you are finished, you can work up the drawing a bit by erasing the graphite in your negative spaces to make the chair stand out.

Negative space of a set of chairs:

anable on


  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Going forward, I'm probably just going to put the following weeks into this thread. With the limited response, there's no need for a new thread every week.

    In any case, here's my plastic panel hand trace and following sketch:



    I didn't get a chance to use the graphite because I bought the wrong type (pencil instead of stick). I'll use the graphite for the negative spaces chair drawing.


    This started off well, but it went down hill when I tried to get the bottom negative spaces right. I also jacked up my proportions so that the chair didn't fit properly on the page. I couldn't get the plastic frame for the outline because it kept moving when I tried to hold it up in the air and draw the spaces. I realize now though why you're supposed to. Getting the proportions right is key.

    anable on
  • The LittleMan In The BoatThe LittleMan In The Boat Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I read everyone of these, it's just I think we are lazy and caught up in are own things to actually that the time to go back to the basics.

    The LittleMan In The Boat on
    I don't suffer from Insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Good to know that the 234 people that viewed the thread so far didn't just click on the wrong link. :P

    In any case. This week is wrapped up. I'm going to keep posting the lessons, but like I mentioned, I'll just keep them in one thread.

    anable on
  • NaregNareg Registered User
    edited August 2007
    yeah i'l post here in a bit

    Nareg on
    Back off man, I'm a scientist!
  • murderbusmurderbus Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I'm still following along at home (from week 1 'till now), but I've been moving, so my computer is in disarray, and scanning is a mess. Thanks for these, though!

    murderbus on
  • CrowlestonCrowleston Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Oh i feel like a bad student. I'm between jobs at the moment and have been out most of my time looking for one...

    Crowleston on
    useless but necessary objects of society.
  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Beginners Drawing Class - Week 4 - Proportions and Perspective: I see what you did there

    This week we focus on relationships, or proportions and perspective. Relationships are what give images depth and convey a sense of 3D on a 2D plane. In previous exercises, our plastic plane helped us capture that depth. Betty advocates using a simple technique called "Sighting" to gain control of the relationships in your piece. Sighting is essentially a very informal way to capture your "Base Unit" and begin drawing from there.

    To ensure you get the most out of the lessons, it is a very good idea to read all of the instructions before beginning a given exercise. Also, lessons are beginning to build on one another more than before, so it is a good idea to do them in order.

    Proportions practice:
    In this exercise, you will use your pencil as your sighting device to gain proper proportions.
    1. Stand about 10 feet from a door and hold up your viewfinder/plastic plane so that the entire doorway is locked in.
    2. Use your non-permanent marker to trace the top of the doorway. This will be our base unit.
    3. Transfer this line to your cross haired sheet of paper.
    4. Now, hold your pencil in your hand with the non-sharpened end out away from your palm. Stretch your arm out straight and lock it. Close one eye and level the pencil end against the top of the doorway. Use your thumb and forefinger to move along the pencil until you've measured the same line that we just drew on the plastic plane. You've just "sighted" your base unit.
    5. Remember to keep one eye closed and continue to keep your arm locked. This prevents our perspective from changing. Keep your measurement on the pencil and move it to the side of the door, measuring the vertical size of the door compared to the horizontal. For example, your doorway may have a ratio of 1:2.5 meaning that the vertical size of your door is 2.5 times the horizontal size of your door.
    6. Go back to your paper and use the same technique to measure your base unit.
    7. Use your previously found ratio to draw the vertical sides of your door as compared to your base unit.

    I realize that these instructions look a bit daunting, so please do not hesitate to ask me wtf I was trying to say and I will attempt to be more clear. All together, this exercise should not take more than 10 minutes of your time. In the end, we should have a perfectly proportioned doorway.

    Perspective practice:
    Proportions is to ratio as perspective is to angles.
    1. Seat yourself in front of a room corner with your pencil and drawing paper in your lap.
    2. Close one eye and use your pencil to sight the corner of the wall. Remember to keep your arm locked and one eye closed to prevent a change in perspective. Draw this vertical line on your paper.
    3. Close one eye again and use your pencil to to create a horizontal line at the top of the room corner. Take notice of the angles that the top of the wall creates as it meets the corner. Don't try to put specific degrees on the angles, but simply estimate their shape and draw this on your paper.
    4. Follow these same steps for the bottom corner of the room.

    You should now have a room corner that is in proper perspective.

    A "Real" Relationship drawing:
    Now that we've learned to use our base unit to get the ratio and angles of the rest of our image, we will do a complete relationship drawing.
    1. Choose an interesting subject for your relationship drawing. Avoid trying to find an "easy" subject, and instead find one that is interesting. Possibilities include a kitchen corner, a view through an open door, a porch, or any other site that forces you to use proportion and perspective.
    2. Frame, tone, and cross hair your paper as we did in the negative spaces exercise.
    3. Seat yourself in front of your subject with something to lean your drawing paper against. While an easel would be ideal, the back of another chair is sufficient.
    4. Close one eye and use your viewfinder/plastic plane to capture your image and choose a base unit to trace with your non-permanent marker. Your base unit should be something of medium size that is not too complex. It could be a window or doorway. It can be a positive form or a negative space.
    5. Transfer your base unit to your toned paper, using your cross hairs as a guide.
    6. Continue to draw your subject, remembering to use ratios and angles to help branch out from your base unit until you've completed your piece. Don't neglect negative spaces, realizing the impact they have on your completed work.
    7. Use the same ratio and angle techniques to capture the highlights and shadows of your subject. Slightly erase the tone in the highlights, and use your pencil to go over areas with shadows.
    8. If any areas are giving you a significant amount of trouble, don't hesitate to use your plastic plane to recapture the relationships.

    You should now have a drawing that shows a basic understanding of the skills required to become a well rounded artist. This includes edges, spaces, relationships, and even shading. Congratulations!

    anable on
  • FohnFohn Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I've been lurking around here for a very long time, admiring most everyone's work and aspiring to get better so I could contribute. So I listened to a lot of the advice and bought this book to help me along with my practice. Here we go...

    Negative Space Drawing (Lawn Chair):

    Modified Contour Drawing (My hand):

    The "Real" Relationship Drawing:

    Fohn on
  • NaregNareg Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Crowleston wrote: »
    Oh i feel like a bad student. I'm between jobs at the moment and have been out most of my time looking for one...

    I have a job - and it takes ALL of my time......

    Please keep posting these anable. I am still following along and will be posting something sometime soon.

    Edit: Err, or is it over already??

    Nareg on
    Back off man, I'm a scientist!
  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Na, it's not over. I went to PAX this week and fooled myself into thinking I would be able to get any drawing time in. I'm moving this week, but I'm going to force myself to get these three exercises in. We'll start week five September 3rd.

    Also, Fohn: did you use a ruler on the "Real" relationship drawing? Those are amazingly straight.

    anable on
  • FohnFohn Registered User
    edited August 2007
    anable wrote: »
    Also, Fohn: did you use a ruler on the "Real" relationship drawing? Those are amazingly straight.

    Yeah, I tried sketching them out and just decided to go over 'em with a straight edge.

    Fohn on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Fohn, your lawn chair drawing seems less like a negative space study and more like a regular...positive :| ?

    Also, the proportions of things (mostly in your last drawing...for instance, the door handle and the door) seem kinda off. Put the negative space to work!

    NightDragon on
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  • FohnFohn Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Yeah, the last one really started to frustrate me so I just kinda threw some crap down without trying to observe proportions, which was the point of the excercise. Anyway, thanks for the observation.

    Fohn on
  • NaregNareg Registered User
    edited August 2007
    anable wrote: »
    We'll start week five September 3rd.
    Roy Batty wrote: »


    This hand looks smaller than it should be?

    And, I dunno what happened here...


    This was kind of a pain in the ass - I really had no way to keep the viewfinder steady. I also found it difficult to keep from outlining the chair instead of actually drawing the negative space... I think... Nightdragon - does my negative space study look more like a positive space... study?

    Eh, on with the show!

    Nareg on
    Back off man, I'm a scientist!
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Not really. One of the reasons why I said that to Fohn was because he'd drawn/made lines inside the space you're "not supposed to draw in". The arms of the chair, little details, etc. It also looks like he shaded the chair a little bit, but I'm not sure if that's just how it looks, or that's what he meant to do.

    You can't really help outlining stuff when you're making a negative space drawing - I mean, that's essentially what you do. The more "intersections" of objects you have, though, the more complicated the exercise becomes. If you have a simple object, like the chair you chose to draw, you're going to be doing more "direct outlining" of the object. If you have things that overlap, it gets more complicated, and you and up working more with negative space.

    Here's an example I did last year. When the branches/leaves were by themselves, yes, it was mostly just outlining. More of a "positive" study, I guess...but on the upper right-hand side, where there is a lot of overlapping of leaves, I had to work with the negative space quite a bit in order to define everything properly.

    NightDragon on
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  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Wow. My brain is having a really hard time with perspective. I'm working on my perspective exercise (draw a corner using the angles as your guide) and I'm doing it here at work so I figured I can just draw my cubical corner and get the same results. From the angle that I'm looking at the corner, the top of the cubical is nearly flat while the bottom corner comes off at an angle, very similar to this picture:


    I as able to draw this with moderate success (though I need plenty of practice on estimating my angles). I decided to draw one of the posters I have on my wall which starts very close to the top and runs about half way down the wall. Here is where I run into my problem. The poster looks completely level on the top and bottom. Is is what Betty is talking about when she says L-mode thinking. My brain knows that this poster is evenly cut so when I transfer it to paper, that's what it wants to draw. It took me almost ten minutes to finally find a shallow angle coming off the bottom of the poster before I could properly draw it.

    For me, this was my first real L-mode/R-mode conflict. Crazy stuff.

    anable on
  • FohnFohn Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Not really. One of the reasons why I said that to Fohn was because he'd drawn/made lines inside the space you're "not supposed to draw in". The arms of the chair, little details, etc. It also looks like he shaded the chair a little bit, but I'm not sure if that's just how it looks, or that's what he meant to do.

    This may or may not be attributed to me trying to add more charcoal because I had erased a lot of it. I shaved some onto the paper and rubbed it in, fixing the eraser marks, but making the drawing unrecognisable. So I went over what linework I could see and ended up with that. Like I said, I dont know if that would have made it a 'positive space' study or not. Sorry if I sound like I'm making excuses.

    Fohn on
  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I haven't had a chance to upload my "Real" Proportions drawing yet as I've been without internet since moving. I should get internet at my home this weekend and will upload that picture as well as this week's exercises then. Enough with the excuses; on to week five!

    Beginners Drawing Class - Week 5 - Portrait Drawing with Ease

    Despite the variety of faces we see each day, there are several consistences across all human faces. Beginning artists often suffer from drawing portraits to reflect the most prominent features of the face while neglecting the actual structure of facial anatomy.

    Here are some rules regarding the human face:
    1. The eyes are in the center of the skull, meaning from the eyes to the chin and from the eyes to the top of the skull should be the same length. This can be difficult for many students because the numerous features on the bottom portion of the face tend to "hog" the space on the skull. This is inaccurate however.
    2. An equilateral (same on all sides) triangle is formed when drawing a line from the eye to the back of the ear, and from the back of the ear to the bottom of the chin and then from the bottom of the chin, back up to the eye.
    3. A line from the space between the mouth and nose should go back, just below the ear, and to the point where the neck meets the skull.

    Here is an unfortunately small example of these rules followed properly in art:

    And here is an unfortunately small example of these rules followed properly in life:

    Now let's practice putting these rules to work.

    As before, to ensure you get the most out of the lessons, it is a very good idea to read all of the instructions before beginning a given exercise. Also, lessons are building on one another more than before, so it is a good idea to do them in order.

    Profile Warm-up Exercise:
    We will be drawing the study of Madame Pierre Gautreau by John Singer Sargent:
    1. Format your page by tracing the inside of your large viewfinder. This is line art so there is no need to tone the paper, but lightly cross hair the frame.
    2. Lay your plastic plane on the image of Madame Pierre so that the cross hairs match up with your frame. If you are only using the digital picture as a reference, you can accomplish this using standard imaging software.
    3. As we have done in previous exercises, choose a base unit and draw it on your paper. Follow the lessons learned in our proportion and relationships exercises to draw out from our base unit.
    4. As you are drawing, attempt to avoid putting names on features (eyes, nose, etc), but do compare those lines to others; their distance, their shape.

    This will take about an hour's worth of time. Attempt to avoid any interruptions while you are drawing.

    Profile of a Person:
    One difficulty of drawing the profile of a person is that you need someone to draw! Most people do not enjoy sitting still for a long time so it is probably best to draw someone while they are watching TV or the like. But don't let yourself get distracted!
    1. Format, tone, and cross hair your paper. The tone is optional for this exercise. If you want, you can shadow the portrait, but it is not required. Shadowing will be covered fully in next week's exercise.
    2. Pose your model, sitting as close as possible (2 to 4 feet is ideal), and frame your model with your viewfinder/plastic plane. As with our other exercises, close one eye and move the plane back and forth until you have a composition you like.
    3. Choose a base unit and trace it with your non-permanent marker. Remember that your base unit will be what the rest of the picture is drawn from. Examples of a good base unit include the lines from the tip of the nose to the forehead, or from the eyes down to the chin. Most of all, choose a base unit that you are comfortable with. It may also be helpful to mark the outer most edges of the hair and back of the neck to act as rough guidelines for the drawing.
    4. Remember to use negative spaces for objects that may be difficult to draw, such as glasses or complex earrings.
    5. Check your proportions by remembering the rules we discussed regarding facial structures. It should be easy to use your pencil to "sight" these measurements.
    6. If you toned your paper, erase portions of the tone to highlight features and negative spaces.
    7. When drawing the model's hair, treat it as any other subject with negative spaces, proportions, and relationships. It is not necessary to draw each individual hair, but rather to draw major directional movements and take note of the light and dark areas of the hair.

    Congratulations! You have completed the portrait.

    There are only two exercises this week, but don't rush through them. When you are done, they will both be excellent examples of the lessons learned regarding edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows, and the gestalt.

    anable on
  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    My internet connection has been delayed another week, but I swear I'm doing these lessons. Hopefully you are as well. :P Expect updates this Saturday.

    Beginners Drawing Class - Week 6 - Logical Lights and Self Portrait Round Two: Fight!

    Shading (or in proper art terminology - light logic) helps tremendously in giving a pictures a sense of depth. Because of this, it is often one of the more sought after techniques by beginning artists. The key to learning light logic is remembering the types of shading created by light, and being able to actively see the difference in tones as they appear in real life. Pale, light tones are considered "high" in value, with darker tones considered "low" in value. The lightest tone is the white of the paper, and the darkest tone is where the graphite from the pencil is closest together.



    Light logic is broken down into four types:
    Highlight: The lightest portion(s) of the image where the source falls most directly on the object.
    Cast shadow: The darkest shadow caused by the image blocking the source of light.
    Reflected light: A dim light, bounced back onto the object by light falling on surfaces around the object.
    Crest shadow: A shadow on the crest of a rounded form, between the highlight and the reflected light.

    This portrait of artist Henry Fuseli utilizes highlights (on the forehead and cheek), cast shadows (from the bridge of the nose and under the chin), reflected light (on pretty much the entire right side of his face), and crest shadows (on the crest of the temple and hands).


    One of the techniques used to control tone while drawing is known as crosshatching. Crosshatching is simply laying down a carpet of pencil strokes, often crossing strokes multiple times. The end result is looks something like:


    Crosshatching does not require straight lines. Lines are often curved to help create tones on objects that are not flat. An important thing to remember when crosshatching is that the lines should be created by movement of your entire arm and not just your wrist. When crosshatching, your wrist should remain mostly stationary.

    As before, to ensure you get the most out of the lessons, it is a very good idea to read all of the instructions before beginning a given exercise. Also, lessons should be done in order.

    Warm Up: Gustave Corbet's Self Portrait:

    Since this is our first light logic drawing, it may help to perform this exercise with the image upside down. Additionally, since we will be working with a toned paper and we want to heighten and lower tones as we proceed, you will need to cut the edge of your eraser into a < wedge for the higher tones, and you will need a #4B pencil for the lower tones.
    1. Format, tone, and crosshair your paper. Tone is especially important for this exercise so it is not optional.
    2. Set the picture plane on the self portrait and choose a base unit. Transfer the base unit to your paper with either the eraser or pencil (depending on what you chose as the unit).
    3. The tone of the paper should represent the middle value of the hat and coat. Use the eraser to draw out the higher tones on the face and shirt. Use the pencil to lower the tones created by the cast shadows. Continue adjusting tones until the drawing is complete.

    Remember that Goustave's original portrait was done in charcoal so the exact texture and tone will not be the same. Still, you should be pleasantly satisfied with the finished result!

    Self Portrait with Articulated Lights and Shadows:
    Feel free to review the proportion lessons we learned in Week 5.

    In addition to those, there are a few more things to learn about facial structure when viewing it directly from the front (as with the picture of Scarlet Johanson):
    1. The distance between the eyes is equal to the width of one eye.
    2. The centerline of the mouth is about a third of the way between the chin and the nose.
    3. If you drawn a line straight down from the center of the pupils, it touches the outside corners of the mouth.
    4. The width of the neck is almost equal (in some men is equal) to the space between the ears.

    Armed with this additional knowledge, we are ready for a second self portrait. If you are up for a challenge, make the second self portrait from a three quarter's angle rather than from the front or side.
    1. Frame, tone, and crosshair your paper.
    2. Position yourself in front of a mirror. If you have a lamp available, play with casting various shadows on your face until the composition becomes more interesting. Though we are using a mirror instead of a plastic plane, imagine the crosshairs anyway and use them to help you throughout the drawing.
    3. Optionally, you can capture the central axis and eye line on your paper. The central axis is simply a line that goes through the center of your face. It always crosses the bridge of the nose and the middle of the upper lip. This line always forms a 90 degree angle with the eye line, regardless of which pose you are in.
    4. Note the relationships and negative spaces, as well as light logic on your face. Choose a base unit from any of these and transfer it to your paper. You may also transfer the top and bottom edges of your face to help guide the picture.
    5. Use the #4B to create the lower tones in your drawing. Use the eraser to work up any of the highlights.
    6. As you progress through the drawing, utilize the various skills we have learned throughout the lessons. "Sight" any feature that you are having proportion troubles with. Use negative spaces for complex folds or features. Remember the various lessons learned about facial structure.

    Once you have completed the self portrait, compare it to the pre-instruction portrait. You should see a recognizable difference in your ability as an artist. Note the various techniques you used to create second image and how it creates a more realistic representation than your original image.

    This is, technically, the end of the lessons taught by Betty in her five day class. There are a few more lessons in the book regarding the sixth and seventh artist skills (memory and imagination), as well as some information on utilizing colors. If anyone is interested, I can do those as well. If not, thank you to those who participated and helped motivate me to branch out and try this art thing.

    anable on
  • anableanable Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    A day late, but here we go.

    The "Real" Perspective drawing:

    Madame X:

    I couldn't find anyone willing to pose for me for the profile picture. I think I will have someone on Monday though so it should be done then.

    Goustav Courbet:

    I am crazy happy with the way the Courbet drawing came out. At first, it was the hardest piece I had done because I felt like was running blind. It was so different from all of the other lessons so far. In the end though, it's definitely my best piece, in my opinion.

    I still need to do the second self portrait. I hope to get it done early next week.

    anable on
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