Last week I wanted to make a drawing but was unsure of what I wanted to draw. Not an unusual situation. I had been working for a while on a lot of my “Dreams of Things” faux comic book covers and I wanted to take a break from them. All told over the last year or so I made thirty of these covers and thought that was enough for now. I want to put those together into a book and thirty was plenty for that task. I wanted to move on to something new but I had no idea what. That’s when I decided to draw a face.

I like drawing faces. I draw them a lot since they are one of my favorites. Usually I start with a small thumbnail drawing, work on a sketch after that, do a finished drawing, and then make the final drawing in ink. Usually those are on four different pieces of paper which for whatever reason I didn’t want to deal with at the moment. The whole process turned me off. So I decided to go old school and pull out a large eleven by seventeen sheet of paper and draw right on that to be inked over later. That’s how I used to work all the time before the late 1990s when computers made it easy to blow up a drawing and recompose it is needed. That saves a lot of time.

One thing about starting a drawing at a large size is that it’s tougher to keep all the proportions in line. I have to step back from the drawing and look at it from a distance to see it all at a glance. It took me a while to get the proportions correct and even then I didn’t quite succeed and had to adjust a few things as I inked. This also lead to the left and right sides of her hair not being symmetrical. I’m okay with that though. As I’ve written before I like asymmetrical symmetry a.k.a. the illusion of symmetry.

I pencilled the drawing fairly quickly and then moved on to the inks. I can’t remember exactly how long but since it was only a face it probably took me about an hour to draw. The inking took a little bit longer since I had to make a lot of long sweeping lines and I was trying to get all of them just right. As I inked I found myself wishing I had taken a little more time with the pencilling because a couple of things were off. Not off by a ton but I had to correct a few things. The nostrils weren’t quite level and even so I had to redraw them but since they were made of very few lines it wasn’t difficult. The harder thing to deal with was that I didn’t get the mouth as symmetrical and centered as it should have been. That lead me to have to reshape the mouth but I like the way it turned out. I ended up using large blunt ends on the upper lip which I usually don’t do but I like the way they look here. In the end I finished the ink drawing and put it on my easel. I liked it.

After that I went back to my “Dreams of Things” drawings and started organizing them to maybe put them in a digital book. It was during this process that I ran into a usual problem. Whenever I have a group of drawings that I just finished inevitably there are a couple of them I just don’t like. Maybe I liked them after I fined them but now in the context of thirty drawings they are the weakest ones. And it’s obvious. As I was scanning in and prepping the digital files I kept glancing over at my recently completed face drawing and liking it a lot better than the last “Dreams of Things” drawing that I made. It stuck in my craw and was bothering me. So I decided I should redraw the face drawing as a “Dreams of Things” cover. It was suitably dream-like.

Usually when I do my different stages of drawing on different pieces of paper I scan them all in and can manipulate them and print them out as needed. Since I drew this one on a single piece of paper and didn’t really make a finished pencil drawing I never scanned in the pencils. So the first thing I had to do was get out a piece of tracing paper from my long unused pad of tracing paper and them making a tracing of the face to scan in. Not a hard task but an odd one for me. After I scanned the tracing I made it into a blue line to ink over, put it in my “Dreams of Things” template, and printed it out.

The rest was fairly unremarkable as far as my process goes. I completed it just like and other “Dreams of Things” cover that I made. I had already fixed all of the drawing issues when I inked it before so the inking went smoother than the first time. The only thing that changed in the ink stage was the background circles. I didn’t bother to trace them since I knew I could easily use a circle template to draw them in. For the next step I used my markers to color the piece. I already had it in my head to make the mask blue and the circles orange and then the rest of the colors filled themselves in after that. Sometimes choosing color is a struggle and sometimes it flows easily. This was one of the easy ones.

Now I have two finished pieces. One in black and white and one in color. When I color something on the computer I usually print it out afterward but that’s not the same as a piece of original art. It’s an exact copy of the black and white with color added. The two new finished pieces are more unusual. The black and white one doesn’t even have a logo. I have them both on my easel at this moment and I find them interesting to look at. They generally have the same feel to me but are quite different. It can become a game of spot the differences if I look to long but that’s fun too. Overall it’s a bit strange. I rarely do things double.