I'm hanging with a sketchy crowd.
I discovered the Sktchy app a few days ago, around the same time I was diving head first into my online portrait drawing class.
It's an iPhone app that lets people upload photos for artists to use as reference--and for artists to share the works they've created. It's hard to find good creative commons photos, and Sktchy has a good, diverse assortment of shots.
The photo at the top of this post is the first and only drawing I've done on Sktchy. I've decided I should better understand the dimensions of the head before diving into more detailed portraits.
It's a complicated shape, the skull: spherical at the top, but with flattened sides, and a tapered box for the jaw. Then there are all the relationships between the features, and their angles on the rounded plane of the face. Not to mention the muscles underneath. The hollows of the eye sockets. The way the teeth bulge and shape the lips.
I'm nowhere near close to tackling those. Right now, it's all circles, all the time.
I peck at my book research, a little here, a little there, as I find time. I've composed a new rough draft for chapter one. It's raw but the energy feels right. And I'm trying to better understand the people the past three or four generations. Which, as I wrote on day 146, is complicated.
A little voice has been nagging at me as I poke around on Ancestry, trying to connect their story lines. This morning I took dictation:
Stay close to the narrative. Stay close to the narrative. Get the family dynamics in your head the same way you do with the proportions of the face. Study until they've worn grooves in the brain, until you understand them inherently. This will be important later. But don't lose sight of the narrative.
Art and writing, writing and art. They're one and the same. You have to study each one, honor it with the time and the work it requires, until it embeds itself into your subconsciousness and starts seeping into your dreams. Then, and only then, do you ever get anywhere good.