My Drawing Techniques by Lindsey Henninger (Part 2)
Let’s Tame Some Hair:
10) Alrighty then, now comes the fun part: The Hair! I can hear the groans already! Yeah, the hair is usually the biggest pain in the you know what but it can be fun. Really! It can! Unfortunately, as some of you might already know from experience, curly hair is probably the hardest type of hair to draw. What’s worse then curly hair? Dark curly hair! Mr. Frodo gets the award for having the hardest hair to draw but Merry and Pippin luckily have blondish hair, which is usually a little easier. On the original picture that I took of these two, there is a strong light source on the right side of their faces and it is very dark on the left, so the hair will get harder when we get to the dark areas, but I’ll wait to give you that explanation when I get to the next step. When working on the hair, I use pretty much the same process as when doing the face, but here’s the major difference: I completely stop using the ‘HB’ pencil and use the ‘2B’, ‘4B’, and in the darkest areas ‘6B’. By doing this, the hair will automatically become grainier and that will separate the hair from the smoothness of the face. As always, I start light and work my way to the darks, because you still want that built-up look to make it look more 3-D. I often do the dark areas first and work from there. Doing this, as you can see on what I’ve done so far, gives his hair depth. It makes one strand of hair pop out more then another and it gives it life. Another trick sometimes with hair is to ditch the picture. That’s right, but don’t entirely ditch it, only use the picture as a guide to see where the light hits it just right. The hair can be fun when you use your imagination to do it. Such as, in my latest drawing of Aragorn, I had a ball doing that one because I rarely looked at the picture. This might be something you want to do when you’re a little more advanced though, until you begin to understand how hair flows around the face and so on. Another reason why going perfectly by the picture can be bad is that when you go completely by the picture, you become stiff, and draw every strand exactly where you see it. Then your hair will start to become life-less and flat. That’s the mistake that I made with my drawing of Galadriel kissing Frodo’s head, I went so much by the picture, that Galadriel’s hair, to me, looks lifeless, and that’s what bugs me about that one. Sometimes, the faster you go on the hair, the more body and life it gets. That’s exactly what you want to do with curly Hobbit hair. I mean, the hobbits’ hair is so bouncy and out of control (kind of how they are), and the more wild the hair, the more Hobbitish it gets. That’s exactly what I did in my individual drawing of Pippin. I wouldn’t recommend going too crazy though if you’re doing, let’s say, Legolas’ hair, because his hair is so perfectly smooth that it would look weird if it were messy.
11) Well, as you can see, the hair is just about done but it’s not totally complete yet. The reason that it’s not yet complete is because I still don’t have the background in. The back ground is going to end up looking like a dark forest since in this particular scene, that’s where they were, in Fangorn Forest. The background is going to be dark, so I’m leaving the areas on the outside of his hair where they are now, because once I start shading the background I’m going to show spare curls here and there and his hair will start to blend into his surroundings, bringing the lighting of his face out even more. You might also have noticed that I darkened the side of his face and parts of his neck a bit more so that it went better with the darkness of his hair. If I didn’t do that, then his hair wouldn’t really look like it went with his face, and we wouldn’t want that now would we?
12) Woohoo! Merry is just about done! As you can tell by comparing this picture to the last one, I darkened his hair a little bit on the left-hand side and I put in the shadows to his clothes. When I shade the clothes of a character, I yet again throw out another pencil – not literally throw it away of course, but I stop using the “HB”, and “2B” all together and just use the “4B” and “6B.” These pencils are the softest so they’ll give you a grainier look which is perfect for the texture of cloth! I didn’t change my technique though, I still start light and work up the darker shades, because you still want that 3-D depth look and you want that even more so with clothing, because you get some deep creases and wrinkles in cloth. Clothing is also something that usually doesn’t take too long but it completely depends on the picture. This one in particular, since it doesn’t show much clothing, took me no more then 5-10 minutes, but another drawing, like my Frodo one, would take me significantly longer. When working on the cloth, do the deep wrinkles 1st and get all those darks in and work from the inside to the outside of the wrinkles. This will help make the wrinkle appear deeper and then the lights of the folds will stand out more, making it more life-like. The only reason why I won’t say he’s completely done is because I have yet to do the background and sometimes I’ll alter things here and there, but that rarely happens except for around the outside of the head.
13) Well, now that Merry’s done let’s not feel bad and leave poor Pippin out of the picture… literally. Pretty much all the steps that I have done for Merry will be the same for Pippin, so I won’t have such detailed descriptions for him, but I’ll of course add anything that I might have left out. The main difference with Pippin so far is how I have started it. As you can see, I’ve done both eyes already and that was the 1st thing that I got done on Pippin’s face. The reason for this is due to the position of Pippin’s head. Unlike Merry, whose head is slightly tilted, Pippin’s is pretty much straight up and down and facing directly at the viewer. In cases like that when you have a head-on picture, you want to get both eyes done at the same time because you want them to be even. If you were to get only one eye done and go to a different facial feature, you’d be more likely to get one eye crooked and not straight, so to be safe, get both eyes in there in the beginning. Like with Merry, these are just the beginning stages of Pippin’s face, and the areas around his nose and his eyebrow region are not too detailed at this point. This is okay because of the way the shadows hit Pippin’s face – the areas on the left-hand cheek and his lips are going to be very very dark so I’m getting in the smaller details 1st before I jump into the black parts.
14) Pippin’s face is just about done with the exception that, like with Merry, I’m waiting to put in the more dramatic darks till after I get his hair done. One important thing to keep in mind when adding more than one character into a drawing is the lighting. Make sure that the lighting is about the same for both characters! You don’t want one character to have the light hitting him on one side of the face while the other has lighting on the other side, because that would look just plain weird and we don’t want that. So make sure the lighting is as similar as possible for all the characters. At this point, I’m looking at the lighting of Pippin’s mouth and trying to decide whether I want to change it or not. In the original picture, his top lip is completely black and I’ve changed that slightly in my rendition, but it still seems to dark even though I actually made it lighter than the original. I’m going to wait though on changing it till after I get the rest of the shading in there, because once I add all the darks into his neck and hair, his lips probably wont stand out as much as they do now. Keep this in mind when doing a picture of your own, if you think something looks a little off, sometimes the best thing you can do is to wait until you get it done because you might be amazed how those little things will disappear and blend together!