sly (sl)

1. Clever or cunning, especially in the practice of deceit.
2. Stealthy or surreptitious: took a sly look at the letter on the table.
3. Playfully mischievous: a sly laugh.

I started this drawing as a study for a watercolor portrait. A couple of things were new for me here, I’ve never done three quarter view, and I’ve never drawn hair before. So there was plenty to study. But the light was so interesting with its intriguing angle and dramatic shadows, the expression so striking that I got wonderfully sucked into “the zone”, and before long it was a finished graphite portrait on its own.

Too bad about my paper. I chose to draw on Stonehenge with the thought that this would be only a study. This paper is a bit too rough for a young skin like that and shows too much tooth. Bristol Smooth paper would’ve been much better.

6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm), graphite on Stonehenge.


15 thoughts on “Sly

  1. This is a super talented realism portrait, Alex. Stonehenge is my favorite paper for colored pencil because it can hold an incredible amount of layers. I think you handled a three quarter view very nicely and I like the “in-your-face” approach to this with the patch of light on the cheek and leading up the nose. Your smooth, dark background is well rendered, also enhancing the up close and personal effect. Nice drawing. Your detail work is to be commended.I wouldn’t know how to do that.

    • Thank you, dear Leslie! For me Stonehenge has its uses, but doesn’t work for everything. I do like my result, I especially enjoyed working on it. The detailed realism like that takes you out there, almost out of this world, into some other place that I can only reach when I am drawing, weaving or meditating. I understand that the explanation is the left brain function. I have posted the drawing on Wet Canvas asking for critique, and fellow graphite artists offered a number of suggestions to make it better: her far eye needs work, the hair and the piercing do not overlay correctly, and I see that I need to darken the chin further. Very good – more fun with this.

    • Your comment made me giggle! Veronica – huh?! 😀

      The drawing is done from a reference photo I found on Flickr, a photo by Christine Lebrasseur. A praise from you means a lot to me – I admire your work. You may not know, but I found your blog before I started mine and modeled my own after yours. You are an inspiration for me!

    • Rajalekshmy, good to see you stop by my blog. I have added yours to my subscription reader to keep up with your art.

      Everybody sees a slightly different expression in her face, so interesting to compare people’s opinions. My mom was the closest to what I hoped to achieve calling the girl “sly and devious, but trying to hide it under the mask of innocence”. My husband said – “thoughtful”; my daughter allowed – “b!tch”; my father – “ever so slightly interested in something she is looking at – a man or a bird”. Several artist friends had various “crafty”, “mischievous”, “dramatic”, “expressive”… I love it that the drawing causes all these different reactions.

  2. Wow, great portrait! The thing that struck me first was how you captured that wonderful expression!
    For someone who has never done a 3/4 view and hair before you did a superb job on both.

    • Thank you, Carol! It worked out this time, I am pleased. I am trying to teach myself and so consciously select projects that are new, never tried before. As a result I never know whether things will work out or not. I do not post works that are loosers 😀

      You have a such a lively blog, no wonder there is a crowd of people congregating there and chatting. I am joining your crowd, what a wonderful sense of humor you got!

  3. i think the paper worked out fine… its such a nifty portrait… i really like it… the eyes are soo nice… they give this feeling like she is contimplating something happy… like a cupcake… or kittens… at least thats what i would be thinkin about!!!

    • Thank you for visiting, Tristan! I appreciate your comment. I have been to your blog as well, I like your recent nude. I didn’t have a chance to comment yet, will have to fix that!

  4. I was at the forum and saw your note and thought I’d browse around. This is my favorite but they are all so good. I love her face. She reminds me of a fairy or a pixie. I’m reading all the comments and they sound like experts. All I can say is: Great!

    • Gigi, I am so glad you stopped by my blog. Otherwise I would have never read your wonderful stories. Thank you for your kind words about my drawing. Do come back and see more trials of an artist being self-taught :).

  5. Pingback: Sly III « Pencil Scribbles

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