Developing an eye for values

Circus Clown Portrait – Procreate pencil drawing.
Artist: Selina Shapland.
Created: 8/12/2020
Inspiration photo from Professional Photographer: Lennie Duensing – Sktchyapp

I believe it is vitally important to take time to be creative. For me, it is how I allow my brain time to unravel the big issues I am facing and most importantly, it is how I de-stress and manage to quiet anxious thoughts and feelings.

Drawing, painting and focusing on my creative life through writing have kept me sane this year. I have learned so much about art and I know I have so much more to learn. I have written and re-written my story and it’s almost ready to be submitted to a competition for a chance to be shortlisted and possibly win one-to-one editing. Regardless of where my story comes in the number of entries, it has been a valuable experience preparing for this deadline.

Back to art. I’ve been learning to develop my eye for values and have started to do studies focusing on dark, medium and light tones which create a more realistic visual representation of the person I am drawing.

Here are some photos of other value studies I’ve been working on.

Portrait of a Comedian with Derwent Pencil in Procreate
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 1/12/2020
Inspiration photo from Sktchyapp

I have learned the importance of creating a strong structure of the face before beginning to layer in the darks, mediums and lights. I’ve also become more comfortable with making mistakes and working with them, correcting proportions as I go with each drawing.

The two studies above are also procreate portraits with inking, colour layers and value ranges. I have been enjoying this type of drawing a lot. The one on the left was created on the 4/12/2020 and the one on the right was created on 1/11/2020.

A portrait of hands in procreate
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 12/11/2020
Inspiration photo from Sktchyapp

I didn’t get an exact likeness but I think this study of hands says something special about human connection and the intimacy of touch. The lady who put up the inspiration photo on sktchy told me this was a special portrait to her as it shows her holding her elderly mother’s hand, and her mother has now passed away. My heart went out to her when she told me because as my own mother has developed advanced Alzheimer’s I have come to realise the deep importance of these moments. These touches say a lot and I was honoured that I could bring back loving memories to that lady.

The two portraits above are also procreate. I have been going through a big digital drawing phase. Maybe because it’s easy to take my iPad on the train to and from work? Anyway, the portrait on the left was created on 7/12/2020 and the portrait on the right was created on 28/10/2020. I enjoy the cartoon-y style and couldn’t resist that big sun flower. Both are inspired from sktchyapp photos.

Portrait in Procreate
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 16/11/2020

I enjoyed this portrait as I not only focused on values but put in layers of blue, red and yellow to create bolder effect. This one is also a sktchyapp inspired artwork.

I have been practicing my oil painting. It takes ages to finish a piece. I learned a lot about ensuring the underdrawing is accurate with proportions and mixing colours to match skin tone is an art in itself. I’ll keep practicing. I had a lot of trouble getting the nose right in this one but I loved her eyes in the end. It took me months to do this portrait because I couldn’t decide on colours and had a terrible time with getting a likeness and the proportions right.

Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 29/11/2020

So that’s been the a pictorial tour of the last three months of my art practice. I’ve also dealt with the news that my job is being made redundant, selling my mother’s house to pay her care fees, and who knows what other stresses. The only way I have got through the day has been to turn to my creative life and live as much in accordance with my heart’s desire as possible.

Now I’m back to my creative writing. Got a synopsis and audience analysis to write before I submit my story in the competition.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope living a creative life brings you joy and happiness the way it does for me.

3 thoughts on “Developing an eye for values

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