Project One: Life Drawing: Hands Wendy Free's Art
Hands are used for communication - for writing, gesturing, and sign
language. Hands give information from their appearance, too - they can show
clues about their owners' age and lifestyle. Some people think palms can be
read to tell your future! Hands are also used for tools - to pick up
things, for containers, for protection.
Proportion Hints for Drawing Hands *(Notes - Copy)
Body: basic shape is a square with curved sides
length is equal to width (also same as length of middle finger)
thumb attaches to the hand at the midpoint of the body
Fingers: middle finger is longest, then the ring finger, pointer finger,
imaginary curved lines across tips of fingers and knuckles
fingers have 3 knuckles; thumb has 2
fingers taper - they are thicker at the base and narrower at the tip
fingernails are surrounded by the tip of the finger
1. Layout: sketch the biggest parts using basic shapes.
2. Sketch the shapes of the smaller parts.
3. Refine the shapes to match your model.
4. Shade - include white (unshaded or erased) highlights, light, medium,
dark, and black areas. Shade smoothly with directional lines that match the
shape of the part you are shading. Blend values.
5. Add details like knuckle lines, creases, and jewelry.
6. Erase stray marks and smudges.
1. Use a ruler to draw five 2" X 3" blocks in a row on your paper.
2. Shade each block a different value starting with white (unshaded) and
including light, medium, dark, and black.
3. Blend your shading from block to block so there isn't a big "jump" from
one value to the next. DO NOT USE YOUR FINGERS OR SMEAR!
4. Go over shading in different directions slowly building up value and
filling in smoothly and evenly.
5. Erase stray marks and smudges.
1. Draw your hand while you look at it in three different positions.
2. Follow the steps for drawing hands that we practiced - layout of basic
shapes, refining shapes, smooth, directional shading with 5 values, adding
details, and cleaning up your drawing.
3. Draw a hand which meets the above requirements but which you have
creatively abstracted - fingers could turn into trees, a hand could be made
of glass or could belong to an alien/human hybrid. Feel free to use ideas
from our brainstorming session or look for inspiration in a magazine. Be
sure to shade and detail this one completely, too! REMEMBER: YOUR NAME
GOES ON THE BACK!
1. Did M. C. Escher consider himself an artist? Do you agree with him?
2. What is an artist, in your opinion?
3. Which is your favorite Escher quote (just give the first few words-)?
4. Describe Escher's work, "Drawing Hands" in detail - use at least four
sentences. Talk about what you see and what you think when you look at it.
5. Pick another Escher artwork in the gallery that you like a lot - tell me
6. What about the work you picked is especially appealing to you?
Section Two: Durer Questions
7. What is an interesting fact about Albrecht Durer's life that you
discovered when reading his biography?
8. What important artistic movement was Durer a part of?
9. Describe Durer's "Praying Hands" in detail. Tell me what you see and what
you think when you look at it.
10. Pick another Durer artwork in the gallery that you like a lot - what
is its title?
11. Tell me why this piece is impressive to you.
12. How are Escher's and Durer's hand compositions similar?
13. How are the two works different?
14. What aspect of either artist's works would you like to emulate in your
Drawing Realistic Portraits Wendy Free's Art Class
Part One: Basic Proportion - Placement of Facial Features (Practice
1. Draw an oval and divide in half horizontally and vertically.
2. Divide the bottom half of the face into two equal parts with a horizontal
3. In the center of the face draw an oval eye shape. Draw an oval to the
left and to the right of the center one. Eyes are placed in the middle of
the face with one eye length in between.
4. Draw a u shape in the middle of the lower horizontal line. That is the
bottom of the nose.
5. Draw a line for the mouth under the nose. Remember, there is only a
finger width of space between the bottom of the nose and the top lip.
6. Ears start on the eye line (first horizontal line) and end at the nose
line (second horizontal line).
7. The lines for the sides of the neck begin just below the ears.
Part Two: Drawing Facial Features in Detail (Practice together.)
__ The iris is almost always partially covered by the upper or lower eyelid.
__ Use radial lines to fill in the iris. Don't forget the highlight!
__ Lightly shade the edges of the eyeball. Draw the fleshy corner of the
__ Top lashes curve up; bottom, down. Lashes are concentrated at the outer
corners of the eye.
__ Lightly sketch the shape of the eyebrow and fill it in with lines
__ Add shading above and below the eye.
__ Don't outline the sides of the nose with solid lines! Define it with
__ Erase for highlights on the bridge and tip of the nose.
__ The "outline" of the nose connects with the eyebrows at the top.
__ Don't forget to draw the indentation in the center of the top lip.
__ Lips are fuller in the center and taper where they connect on the
__ Shade lips with vertical curvy lines to make them look full.
__ Erase for highlights.
__ Remember, when drawing teeth: less is better! Don't outline with
thick, dark lines.
__ Find dark areas and fill those in first - look around eyes, nose, chin,
sides of face, and neck.
__ Shade slowly. Build darks gradually. Make shading smooth and even.
__ Use directional lines to shade the forehead, cheeks, and chin. Blend
darks with medium tones.
__ Erase for highlights on highest points: cheeks, nose, forehead, and
__ Outline the overall shape of the hair. Be sure the hairline is placed
on the forehead, not on top of the head. Pay attention to how hairline is
shaped around the ears and the neck.
__ Sketch guidelines which follow direction of hair growth from different
parts of the head.
__ Fill in hair with lines which repeat the guidelines.
__ Use light, medium, and dark values to fill in. Erase for shiny
Part Three: Internet Research
Our featured artist for this project is Chuck Close. He is a contemporary
portrait artist from the United States. Visit these websites to answer the
1. What style or artistic movement is Chuck Close known for?
2. What does that style represent or mean?
3. How did Chuck Close paint Big Self Portrait?
4. How did Close's style change in 1988?
5. What was the cause of this change?
6. Which style do you prefer, that of Big Self Portrait or Kiki? WHY?
(Go to the second website - be sure to go to the techniques section and look
at each of the five techniques shown. Click on the closeups of the examples
to see the whole picture.)
7. Which technique shown here is your favorite? WHY?
8. What is most impressive or unique to you about Close's work? Explain.
9. What, if anything, would you change about Close's portraits to make them
more appealing to you?
10. If you were an artist who focused on one subject throughout your
career like Close did on portraits, what would you choose as your subject?
Part Four: Half Portrait (Independent)
1. Choose a full page, front view, clear photo of a face to draw.
2. Bring the face to me to cut in half and glue to your paper.
3. Lay the unglued face half down next to the glued half so that they match.
Use a ruler to outline the edges of the unglued half.
4. Outline the face, hair, and neck lightly.
5. Begin drawing the facial features. Start by placing the eye. Use the
guidelines and techniques we practiced.
6. Draw, shade, and detail the nose, mouth, ears, and any other facial
features you see. Be sure to look closely at your photo to make your
7. Add shading to the face.
8. Fill in the hair and background.
9. Clean up smudges around the edges. Be sure to turn in both halves of