The Sight Size Method is a way of constructing realistic drawings with great accuracy that has been used to draw and teach drawing for centuries.
It is a method by which anyone with any amount of drawing experience can set up and execute a realistic drawing. http://www.benrathbone.net/sight_size/sightsize.htm
Via Wikipedia: Fat over lean refers to the principle in oil painting of applying paint with a higher oil to pigment ratio ('fat') over paint with a lower oil to pigment ratio ('lean').
This ensures a stable paint film, since it is believed that the paint with the higher oil content remains more flexible.
Is it cheating to use a grid or proportional divider? Some say yes. I think that's a little too judgemental. For centuries famous artists have used measuring devices to make representational art.
If you are a beginner, I would encourage you to use tools to help you accurately capture your subject. These tools help you to "see" correctly. Over time, you will rely less and less on them.
You really don't need every color under the sun to start painting. Google the "Zorn Palette" to learn more about limited palettes which uses only yellow ochre, crimson, black & titanium white.
For this painting I used ultramarine blue, black, raw umber and white for the majority of the painting. For the eyes I used some cad red to amp up the iris color.
BTW - does anyone else see the ghost in the paint on the previous step? Seeing patterns or faces in objects where there are none is called Pareidolia. Happens to everyone ;)
I verified the placement of the eyes with the proportional divider (gasp!) I had them in the right place, but it's always nice to double check.
Take a break after your drawing for about 15 to 30 minutes. When you come back, ask yourself "what is different between the drawing and the photo?" Then make corrections as needed.
As mentioned before, I rough in with acrylic raw umber thinned with water. Many artists use oil paint thinned down with mineral spirits. I'm not a fan of mineral spirits, so I stick with what I like.
Start with the dark colors first. I mostly blocked in with a mixture of ultramarine blue, raw umber and black. I use a little linseed oil if the paint is feeling too thick.
Try to stay away from mixing in white for as long as possible. White turns your dark paint into a fog and it's hard to get the darkness back when you introduce white.
I'm surprised every time by how dark the whites of they eyes are. They can contain many colors including grey, blue, yellow, pink and orange. Study those "whites"! Same goes for teeth.
I would recommend taping your photo to a flat board and placing it right next to your canvas so you can easily check for differences. (Don't be lazy like me and just tape up the printout! ;)
TIP: Squint your eyes while you work. This helps you to see the real shapes and color values instead of getting caught up in the detail of what you THINK you see.
Step back often to check your work. I like to walk out of the room and then walk back in to see what the painting looks like. If it looks like a photo from 10' away and a painting up close, it's done.
This painting took me about 4 hours to do. I wasn't in any hurry and could have done it much faster, but why? I enjoyed every moment. Just wish I would have taken video. Next time I will!
- 1.0 Reference photo same size as canvas
- 1.0 Canvas
- Various size brushes
- 1.0 Yellow ochre acrylic (optional)
- 1.0 Raw umber acrylic paint (optional)
- 1.0 Charcoal pencil or vine charcoal
- 1.0 Kneaded eraser for drawing with charcoal
- 1.0 Proportional divider or ruler
- Starter set of oil paints. Can use acrylic instead
- 1.0 Jar of water for acrylic paints
- Paper towels or rag
- Odorless mineral spirits
- Retouch varnish (optional)
- Palette for mixing paint
- Linseed oil