Lady Cynthia Charteris
Working on developing my skill at getting a likeness in a face, I attempted a pencil master copy of a John Singer Sargent charcoal portrait. When it comes to drawing, sketching, painting or sculpting, the holy grail is getting a likeness in a human face. I will say that drawing at a larger scale definitely helps. This one is tiny compared to the original size drawing by John Singer Sargent. His charcoal portraits were typically 18”x24”. So I learned the hard way that errors of even half a millimeter can greatly affect getting a likeness at this scale. The face here is about 2”x2-1/2”, which makes the eyes about 5/8”x3/8”. For me, this translated to a lot of trial and error in feature placement and line making.
That was actually a good thing because I was forced to pay really close attention to angles, distances and feature details as landmarks. Even so, while much better than previous attempts, I was still off here and there. But improvement is good and I feel good about what I learned in this drawing. By the way, a master of small format portraits I follow on Instagram is Gary Rubin (@garyrubinart). I now appreciate his drawings even more, knowing the challenges of small portrait drawing.