Another older pic. Not perfect I know. I think mouths are my weakest point. As always, critiques more than welcome. :)
Again, this is excellent work.
I'm only going to mention a few things in general. That is because from your last two drawings it is obvious you have great talent. What you have to do is stay with it. As Norman Rockwell said many times, "Keep plugging away." You have what it takes to do truly outstanding work.
Here, in this picture, the soft light coming from the left is a big help. I have always found that drawing a subject with diffused—or non-directional— lighting was more difficult. I suggest that you take your own reference photos. Use friends or even slight acquaintances. Use a fairly strong light from one side with a soft reflected light on the other. A piece of foam board is a good reflector. The lighting—and the resulting shadows—define the forms of the face. Light helps to convey a mood or expression. Light can result in shadows cast from the head into a background area—again, helping with mood but also general composition.
On both of the portrait drawings that I have seen, you have drawn the subject head-on. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I have found a slight three quarter view much easier to draw. Also, a head-on stare can make some viewers uncomfortable. Also, just as a general guideline, it is good to keep a head no larger than your hand. This is something an instructor mentioned to me years ago. At that size you have better control over some of the subtle contours of the features. Also, give your subject some breathing room—some space around the head.
I think this is the time to increase your range of values. Consider the "darkest dark" in your Walter White portrait. It is about an 80% or 85% of a full black. Try using a softer—darker—pencil for those real dark passages.
That is enough for now. Again, your work is excellent, keep at it.
Wow. Best advice I've ever had. Thanks Paul. I've only ever gone as far as 4B. What do you think I should use for my 'darkest darks'?
If you are using a 4B in your darks that should be soft enough to get the darkest values.You might try a 6B for some deep accents and see how it works for you.
Please don't get me wrong on this. I simply thought going darker in your darkest darks could be a quick way to get some extra punch in your work. Right now this isn't that important. Your Eastwood drawing had all the darks you could ask for.
The important thing is to draw as much as your personal schedule and commitments allow. There is nothing truer than the statement I keep repeating, "You learn to draw by drawing."
I am sure Paul is probably right about adding some darks, but this is so beautiful - even at this point.
Margo Schwirian Fine Art