A Lots Changed Since Then
Last month, I put this article together featuring my buddy, Ed Privat. I told you I’d do a follow up article in the near future where I’d explain the techniques and tricks I use to draw these portraits and do a comparison between the first portrait I did for Ed and the last one—welcome! Do you see a difference?
I was just checking out the first one I did for him—dang! A lots changed since then.
Fact: before joining #steemit in September, 2017, the last time I drew something was in 1990, 9th grade—a portrait. I hadn’t drawn anything since I was a freshman in high school when I saw @vaansteam draw a $1 bill. I wanted to try it. I went down to the local Rite-Aid and bought the cheapest set of colored pencils they had and posted my first drawing on Steemit—a $20 bill. The only pencil I had at the time was in my toolbox, a mechanical, 0.7mm lead:
That’s when @adelepazani told me about lighter and darker colored pencils called graphite’s, I had no idea—I thought all pencils were either a No. 2 or a mechanical. Thanks, Adele! I learned some graphite’s have really light lead, even lighter than a No. 2 lead and, some have lead so dark, the greatest erasers in the world can’t touch it. Before I looked for a set of graphite’s, I posted two more colored-pencil drawings, this is the second one I posted:
This is the third drawing I released on #steemit. I used a No. 2 pencil and that cheap pack of colored pencils from Rite-aid—what a difference a set of graphite’s make:
This is the fourth drawing I released on #steemit—it was done entirely with a No. 2 pencil, even the blending, I didn’t know what a paper stump was yet—thanks, @sunnymalkani:
This is my first attempt at using graphite’s, see all of those rough scribble lines? Paper stumps for blending was my next discovery—thanks, @chaitanya.mhatre:
This is when Ed and I crossed paths. Actually, my wife discovered him for us, he had just released Spanish Joint, a D’Angelo cover. Pura Vida was listening to it in the other room and the track caught my attention. I checked him out and learned we have several things in common—I could relate with him. His dad is a void—I don’t know mine. He creates original music—I love #music. We both love surrealism #art. Each of us were new to the platform, too, and I knew exactly what he was talking about when he said:
...I've been working hard on this one, probably for 10 years, so It doesn't matter if I don't get any upvote, It's an achievement in itself to be able to play this song and sing all at once.
Did you feel that?! That’s called Ed Privat’s passion. I knew what he meant, I knew how he felt, I may not have had 10 years vested in the pencils but that didn’t change the fact I devoted many hours to those drawings. I didn’t even know what a graphite was and, although I still don’t own a set of prismacolors, I’d never even heard of them—I received zero #love for my efforts from the platform. My response to him consisted of some other things but the extent of it was: “I know exactly what you mean!” That’s how I met Ed—we’ve been appreciating each others craft and challenging each other since.
The next day, he did what he always does—challenged me. He said he would cover my song request: Spirit in The Sky by Norman Greenbaum and, in return, I would draw draw a portrait of him. My first thought was, “I think you got the wrong guy” but he sent me this link with art work of a Jason Mraz album cover and said he was looking for something similar. Click on that link and you’ll see why my thought changed to “got this!!” I paused whatever article I was working on at the time and put this together for him—my first portrait on #steemit:
A little over a year passed between the first one and that really nice one I did for Ed, in that year, I did two other portraits for practice. The first one was requested by my wife, @puravidaville, she wanted me to draw Yelawolf—her other husband:
One month later I did this one as a surprise gift for my buddy Thyle—a portrait of his deceased mother I copied from a 30 year old picture and then I customized a frame to put it in:
Alright, now you’re all caught up! That was the extent of my portrait training when I accepted the challenge of drawing this portrait for Ed—my fourth portrait ever. Fifth if you count that cartoony one I did for him. This is how I did that portrait last month.
First things first—find new pencils. Remember that set of graphite’s I was telling you about, the first set I owned that Adele turned me onto? Well, they didn’t make it to Central America—I have no idea what happened to them, it’s still a mystery. I was all set up to draw, I even sent Ed a teaser on discord telling him how ‘I just started drawing you’ and, shortly after I sent that teaser, I realized my graphite’s didn’t make the trip from the U.S., great, I just told Ed I started the drawing—danget! I needed #new pencils—stat.
Our fourth host in Costa Rica told me about a joint nearby called Libreria, which is Spanish for “bookstore,” a produce market where you can also recharge your cellular minutes—he said they have some miscellaneous art/crafts stuff too. Street addresses don’t matter around here, we use GPS coordinates and/or landmarks to get where we’re going, our host said it’s right across the street from the big Catholic Church in the middle of town—this one:
Libreria had exactly what I was looking for and I got my cell phone minutes recharged, too. This is the wall opposite the freezers, see that rack on the top shelf? It’s full of graphite’s—all of the shades I was missing plus some shades I didn’t know existed:
Once I had all of my pencils back, it was time to draw Ed. This is the original picture he sent me, way back when I first said I’d draw him:
From that photo, I zoomed in on his face and captured this screen shot:
After I did that Yelawolf drawing but prior to drawing my buddy’s mother, I searched DuckDuckGo for the best method to draw a portrait and I found this website that explained “grid drawing:”
I read that article and a few others that coincided with it, downloaded the following grid drawing app and put a grid on Ed’s screen shot:
With a No. 2 pencil, a ruler, and a straight edge, I transferred the grid from my phone to the A2 notebook page and drew in all of the outside lines so I could see my bordering space:
Once my edges are complete, I continue transferring one square at a time, from my phone to my sketchbook page, left to right because I’m right handed and keeping the page clean is a challenge—you want to drag your hand away from your work, not across it. Now there’s a constant prayer going through my head, “God, control my senses.” That alternates with my own confidence reminder—“just draw what you see.” That prayer and my own thought, ‘God, control my senses—just draw what you see. God control my senses—just draw what you see” (repeat) back and forth to myself, and the grid app are my tricks. My techniques are a No. 2 pencil for the majority of the line work, a mechanical pencil for the sharp line work, two different sized paper stumps for blending—3/8” for small blends and 1/2” for the larger ones, a lot of erasing, HB-6B graphite’s for all of the shading and a white gel pen for repairs, texture and highlight details.
All of the progress pictures can be found here in the original piece. I’ll attach a few images but you’ve already seen them when you caught the interview. What I wanted to share with you this time is the techniques I use to draw these portraits and the past year and a half of my progression on this platform, thank you, #you! Thanks for hangin’ out with me this whole time, you got me to make shapes again with pencils after about 28 years of no #drawing, I don’t know how you did it but I’m impressed—thank you! Let me know if there’s something I left out.
Fantastic drawings and a great story. Thanks for sharing, @dandays.
Amen to that brother!!!
My pleasure, mariusfebruary, I’m glad you liked it!
Eh, while I got your attention, I’m not the only one noticing all of the good things you’re doing for this community, we all do—thank you for leading by example! 👍🏿
Thanks for stopping by @mariusfebruary.
A very interesting story and great pictures.
Hey, right on, shemzee! I’m glad you liked it man, thanks for dropping a line.
Thanks for stopping by @shemzee.
With the skills you have I'm surprised that you have done so few drawings. If I could draw like that I would be drawing all the time. Your skills are awesome. I must admit that artists and musicians I have always admired, as those two forms of artistry are way out of my league. This is the one pencil that I can use with confidence.
Ahhh yeah! Another Sweed sighting, how’s it goin Rob? I know my way around a carpenters pencil, sir, no problems there, and a razor knife is better known as a pencil sharpener.
I sure do appreciate your encouragement, you’d be surprised how many people have said practically the same thing.. “if I could draw, I would..” and I don’t know what it is—I just can’t being myself to do it. I blame it on boredom, I actually get tired, or something else like I don’t have time. But, this is Sweed, get real, maybe the man has a solution.
It may be because I’m too critical on myself, I don’t know. But everything always has to be perfect. So, when I’m drawing, it’s practically impossible to get everything perfect which means I’m driving myself crazy and it makes me tired. I instantly begin yawning and I need to do something like eat peanuts to stay awake. Ed Privat told me he thinks it’s because I’m not having to apply much effort because it’s just a gift therefor I get bored with it.
Any suggestions? Because there’s one more person I promised I’d draw, Pura Vida, and to be honest, I can’t wait to get it over with so I don’t have to draw anymore.
I hope you have a great weekend. It sure is nice hearing from you again, can you tell I noticed your absence? 😉
Thanks for stopping by @thebigsweed.
I hear you on the perfection end, I have a saying that I try to apply to everything I do . "It won't get by if it ain't GI. I think the more talented a person is in any area the higher they set the bar. Keep up the wonderful drawings, and if a sketch of #puravidaville is your last one for a while, I am sure it will prove to be as insane as the one of #edprivat. Being that we are both retired, I do everything with the term hobbitational in mind, once it becomes a chore I put it down and address it later, sometimes not returning to the project for weeks.
Great to be back in your company.
Howdy sir dandays! wow again as I read about this story and shake my head at the exceptional portrait. Dang, you're going to keep doing those right?
Hey, Janton! The weekend is over, how’d you guys do for 2018, no need for exact. Red, green? Expected, unexpected?
I’m glad you liked this one. If we were back at that house with that nice kitchen table, I’d probably draw Pura Vida. It’s not something I enjoy a lot, it makes me tired. But the other day, Ed suggested draw a landscape.. that’s actually a good idea, landscapes are something I’ve never tried so it doesn’t seem boring. We’ll see..
Do you get bored with things quickly?
Thanks for stopping by @janton.
Howdy sir dandays! How did we do as far as financially? Just barely ok. Mrs. J still doesn't know if I should be doing steemit instead of a dreadfully boring job as a Walmart stocker or something similarly sucky and I don't either.
But taxes were a breeze, shortest form we ever used.
You are THAT gifted in drawing but you don't enjoy it? shoot. I've never heard an artist say that before. Most of them you couldn't stop them from drawing if you cut their hands off.
Well yes, draw a landscape and maybe you'll fall in love with the process. You're so talented I'd hate to see you give it up.
No I don't get bored. I never get bored in fact. I think it's impossible for me to get bored. Even if I'm forced to sit in a room with no radio, tv, nothing to read or people to watch or listen to. If that happens I start praying in the Spirit and I don't have a chance to be bored. lol.
This post has been manually curated, resteemed
and gifted with some virtually delicious cake
from the @helpiecake curation team!
Much love to you from all of us at @helpie!
Keep up the great work!
manually chosen for curation by foxyspirit ❤
Well thank you, @foxyspirit! This is my first visit from @helpiecake, @helpie, I’m flattered! Thanks a lot you guys.
Thanks for stopping by @helpiecake.
They say a magician never reveal his tricks, but in this particular case it's really a whole damn story that you told.
That's crazy that I've known you for a year (almost)!
I still love that first drawing as much as the latest, even if I am sure you didn't spend the same amount of time on it.
They both have their own stories.
Edit: My brother got paid by my other brother!!! Happy steem family!!!
Yooooo! My man—you’re either on the clock or on your way home right now, I hope you had a good work day and everyone left you alone.
I did something new today, Pura Vida and I are half way through a trek across country from the pacific coast all the way to the Caribbean. I got this article ready to go this am, just before we walked out the door I clicked post. So I wasn’t able to see it all day until now and I’m back on WiFi. “Yes! They liked it!!” Eh, with each piece I release comes a little more confidence. Then I had an epiphany...
People tell me how they buy robot votes or bid votes, etc. to raise their rep score. I’m always like “are reps worth something or something, why would you do that? 🤔” Eh, I found a way that won’t cost them anything—I need to put it on blast: “Just draw Ed Privat!” 😉
You know what man? My buddy D can by the place when I was still in Long Beach, he went through my whole Steemit experience inside that sketchbook and that first one of you was his favorite drawing.
Thanks for stopping by @edprivat. I’m glad we met.
Sometimes it's all about the intention your put in a drawing, and the technique is just a bonus :)
Yeah I understand why people using bid bots, it's capitalism!!
I would love to see your drawing a landscape, like the church you shared, what do you think?
There he goes again.. doin what he does.
Damn @dandays! You have got some mad skills! Faces are one of the most difficult things to do aside from hands and you have got it perfect!
Should I start making appointments to get a chance to talk to a celebrity artist?
Is that a Foxy sighting?! 🔎 Yup! Sure is. How’s it going, she who’s xxx and moonlights as pta? 😉
Thank you, really! The story explained how this is all new to me, I didn’t exaggerate any of it so all of the positive feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank #you!
Appointment?! Shooooot. I’ll pencil you in any time.
Thanks for stopping by @foxyspirit.
Its going good!
You reminded me of the days when I used to draw. It was always the 2HB pencils. Although I never got as good as you though. I never understood how the details can be so perfectly done, couldn't figure out what I was doing and what I wasn't doing to get it that realistic.
You definitely have a god given gift!
This is so nice of you to say, Foxy, thank you! Hey, thanks for the curation nomination by helpiecake, too! You know you made me all kinda happy with that one then to read “God given gift” was like the icing only better. Muah!
Hey Dan, wow, that is some impressive improvement, your final drawing of Ed is really great. Another trick that you might like when drawing from the grid is to flip the paper and the source photo upside down. It takes the pressure off of trying to get it right, All you are doing is following the grid. It is a fun excercise and makes it easier to nail it on your first try. Also, once the subject is in place, then you can start to work on the render, knowing that the subject is in perfect perspective. I can’t wait to see your next drawing!!! 👨🏻🎨👋😀
Hey what’s up Matteo?! This is a nice surprise, I’m glad you made it over here, thank you!
Someone who puts out work like this appreciating my art work is just insane! I really appreciate it. Turn the drawing and the page upside down—genius!! I’m so fascinated with that trick, Matteo, the amount of pressure that goes into these things. Upside down will relieve some of that pressure, that makes perfect sense—thank you!
Thanks for stopping by @matteopaints. Thanks a lot for the Resteem, too, I appreciate that! 👍🏿
Hey, your drawing skills have improved so quickly it is incredible, and this post really shows how you did it. Thanks for sharing, and keep drawing!!!!👋😀
hi @dandays ! Wow i must say congratulations for your drawing, it's really awesome , and how you show the process was fun to watch , it was like a story , :)
I’m glad you liked it Adele, thank you. And thanks a lot for telling me about dark coloref leads—I had no idea. I’ve been a big fan of yours since I started this platform, I still am!
Thanks for stopping by @adelepazani. And thanks a lot for the Resteem too.
whether the colored pencil will function in all things
Thanks for stopping by @ustazkarim. And thank you for the Resteem, I appreciate it!
An incredible guide and a fantastic post.
Hey, how’s it goin eii? I’m glad you didn’t mind me talking about myself so much. 😉
Thanks for stopping by @eii, I appreciate all of your support. And thanks a lot for resteeming this one.
Excellent review @dandays and your drawings look amazing, because they are made very talented, well done!
Thank you, serkagan, I’m glad you think so! It’s all still pretty new to me—I appreciate your confidence!
Thanks for stopping by @serkagan.
edit I just realized I never Upvoted your comment—I’m not usually that rude. :wink:
I love seeing progression stories like yours. It doesn't happen over night. Art is a skill, and like playing an instrument or learning a second language, practice is absolutely essential. Thanks for sharing!
Hey what’s up, how’s it goin jamesartville? Anytime I can catch advice from a dude who does this kinda art—I’m two ears and one mouth! Thank you, I’m glad you liked this one.
Thanks for stopping by @jamesartville.
You have a lot going for you if you're only a few years in. I hope you're excited to discover what another two years will do. Best of luck to you! Keep up the good work!
pff, amazing revolution of work here, your before/after, only i can imagine how your trip was since point A to B, steemit put you on contact with a part of you that certainly you had to grow, cheers!
Thanks for noticing, joseacabrerav, you’re right! The whole reason I’m able to talk about pencils and show you guys some artwork is because of #steemit. It’s my very first social media experience—I got no complaints!
Thanks for stopping by @joseacabrerav.
What a great difference! You show an amazing evolution. Excellent work on that new portrait!
And thanks for the photos, too!
I’ve been checking out your blog, trincowski, you’re great a spotting undiscovered talent and your eye for street art is where it’s at! 👍🏿 Whenever something I did gets your attention, shoooooot—I’ll take it!
Thanks for stopping by @trincowski.
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