Monday, November 22

MMM_project update! ["Houston, we have a problem!"]

I'd like to take this time to go back to my post where I talked about the benefits of using a projector.  I like projectors.  I think the save time.  You're pretty much guaranteed to get the right proportion of your photos if you use one over a graph method or freehand scaling (which is what I used to do).  That is - if you use the projector correctly and carefully.

Carefully?  Correctly?  Yes.  Imagine this: a projector uses a light bulb.  Light bulbs get hot.  Heat expands things.  What expands?  The plastic housing the projector is made of.  So, when the projector expands and moves ever so slightly, so does your reference photo.  That can spell disaster for your layout if you're expecting the right proportion.

After finishing the 1st of 3 copies, I've noticed that the proportion is off on David's face.  His left eye is higher or lower than his right and the jaw line is a bit off.  Unfortunately, I didn't really notice this until after it as completed.

You can see what I mean here (David is the one on the right):

The only thing I can come up with, is that as I jumped around laying the projected image out, it must have shifted slightly and that's why the proportion is off.

I'd also like to remind you that I'm using SMOOTH bristol paper.  What this means is that there isn't much "tooth" to the paper.  I use smooth because I feel the shading looks more natural.  The unfortunate thing is that when using something like a 6B pencil and bearing down on the paper, you eliminate any tooth you might have had an you've essentially "burned" the graphite into the paper.

I've often joked with my airbrushing friends that with drawing, I can erase mistakes.  It's not that easy when airbrushing on a motorcycle tank.  However, in this case, I can't just "erase" the area where I've burned the eye into the paper using a 6B pencil.  But I attempted.

In a desperation move to save a weeks worth of drawing, I tried every eraser I had.  Kneaded, gum, pink, white, name it.  I resorted to a Tide-2-Go pen.  You know the ones you keep handy to remove that ketchup stain from your nice white shirt.  For small blemishes, I've used it before and had success.  It just wasn't happening today.

I managed to get most of it out, but when I tried to draw in the eye, it stuck out like a sore thumb.  I essentially created more tooth in the paper with all the erasing I did.  So...I ended up scrapping copy 1 of 3 and starting all over again.  Lesson learned.


  • Use projectors wisely
  • Tide-2-Go pens work *sometimes
  • Pay attention to your layout before burning your images in with soft lead
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  1. nice tip (no pun intended) with the soft lead "burn in." I will be attempting a portrait soon (~30 days) which I haven't done in 10 years. Gotta start-back sometime.


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