So. I really need to stress this. If you are doing this challenge along with me. DO NOT TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR LIPS AND DRAW THEM. You must use your reflection. Why? First off, when a photo is taken, it flattens the image it captures, so you lose a lot of information from a photo versus drawing something from real life.
Second. This is supposed to be a small, honest evaluation of yourself in the present moment. Yesterday, when I took those photos of my own lips in various expressions, that’s what I was drawing them for, the expressions.
When you’re drawing from your reflection, in theory, unless you’re posing, you’re capturing certain parts of your thoughts, feelings, and psyche at that present time. There was a self portrait I painted last year while I was in Italy, and it looked like a zombie because it was so cloudy/acid rainy for months on end and I was pretty miserable at that moment. You capture weird things like that.
As you can see below, I look pretty miserable because I am! I’m really sick right now (which is why I’m here blogging rather than at my day job). My own throat is trying to suffocate me and it feels as though there’s a mining company that’s taking up residence in my skull and tunneling away at it.
So I did manage to post today’s exercise today. I didn’t like any of the pictures I was seeing on the internet and I didn’t have a mirror (correction, I didn’t want to stand in front of one while straining myself). So I took pictures of myself making a few expressions.
For this entry, I drew four lips from Old Master paintings. The reason why I included an exercise involving Old Master art is because I believe studying their techniques helps improve your art style. You can almost see how they held their pencils, what colors they used, and how they achieved a semi-realistic image.
So, some reflections. I did this on my lunch break, in the middle of the day, so it was a nice break away from work. I also need to get an actual printer/scanner at some point. My phone takes good pictures, but you can tell it’s a photo on a non-flat sketchbook. If I do this prompt again, I think I’m going to take the original portraits (as long as they’re not copy-righted), and use Photoshop to put the lips I drew over the portraits to keep it fun. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, but I’m jotting this down so that I remember to do it again or hopefully if you guys are doing this exercise with me, you can do that!
Thanks for following my journey to improve this aspect of the face. Stick around for more!
Here’s a question specifically for the wonderful artists who are currently reading this. Yeah, you. You’re wonderful. I generally don’t get along with other artists, so I’m very grateful for the fact that you’re here right now.
Have you ever had something that came up in your work a lot that you could not get right no matter how hard you tried? Worse yet, you might not have been aware that you were struggling until recently!
For me, it used to be eyes. Now, it’s lips.
Here are some of my best portrait paintings I’ve made in the last year. I guess the lips aren’t terrible, but I definitely could be doing better:
So. For the next month, I’m going to focus on improving the way I paint and draw lips. That means watching videos, looking at tutorials, and just in generally trying to improve. I’ll be posting my progress on Instagram every week or so.
Here’s some videos I’ll be studying:
In addition, I will be studying the portrait section of Vanderpoel’s book, The Human Figure.
Now. I have yet to do a 30 day art challenge successfully. As such, I’m going to aim to only do a 3 day challenge. Starting tomorrow. To see if it’s still plausible.
If you want to join me on this journey, Here’s what I’m planning to do:
*30 Day Lips Drawing/Painting Challenge!!*
Day 1: Paint a pair of lips
Day 2: Draw the whole portrait in terms of proportions, using a simple guide. With most detail on the lips.
Day 3: Skull Teeth
Day 4: Break Day (no drawing)
Day 5: Lips in in congruence with muscles. (Anatomy drawings would be good for this)
Day 6: Lips in Various expressions
Day 7: Study Lips from Vanderpoel book.
Day 8: Lips from Old Master Paintings
Day 9: Child’s lips
Day 10: Woman’s Lips
Day 11: Man’s Lips
Day 12: Elderly lips
Day 13: Lips in Various expressions again
Day 14: Self portrait lips
Day 15: Find a live model and draw their lips from life.
Day 16: Draw lips using colored pencils
—The second half of the challenge is dedicated entirely to oil painting
Day 17: Break Day (no drawing/painting)
Day 18: Paint lips from imagination now that you’ve spent half the month drawing them
Day 19: Lips from Old Master Paintings
Day 20: Child’s lips
Day 21: Woman’s Lips
Day 22: Man’s Lips
Day 23: Elderly lips
Day 24: Lips in Various expressions
Day 25: Break Day!
Day 26: Self portrait lips
Day 27: Paint from imagination
Day 28: Lips with unique colored lipstick (ie, sunset gradients, glitter looking like stars, etc)
Day 29: Repaint a pair of lips from a previous portrait painting you’ve done in the past.
Day 30: Paint a pair of lips from imagination… with the additional training!