I start off by making a "wire frame" sketch of the face and the hair. I'm pretty loose at this stage and draw very quickly trying to get in as much "personality " into the pic as possible. I find that if I draw slower I lose some of that excitement. Even though I'm doing a "studio piece" of sorts, I still use a looser form of this initial "wireframe" sketch when I draw Live at events, using a light gray marker, or if Im drawing in color, a flesh colored art stixx.
Once Im satisfied with the wireframe, I begin to ink the drawing, making adjustments, if necessary, as I go. If Im drawing live, this is the stage where I give the person a second look, to see what I've missed. Im drawing here with a good ole' Black SUPER SHARPIE. I 've grown to like the consistent line it gives me, and unlike my favorite Tombo Brush pens, or Pitt Markers, SHARPIE has NEVER failed me, so I tend to stick with him these days. I give the face a LOT of attention at this stage, saving the hair for last, as I know it's the most challenging. At this stage, Im very careful to get the expression right in the eyes, and since this is a child I especially try to avoid drawing the chin too long , which "ages" a child with a single incorrect stroke of the pen.
STEP 3 and 4
In this close up Notice How I draw "THROUGH " the body. I know that Im going to fill in that area with black cater, so I dont worry about it at all. This young lady has dreads, and twists, which are rather large. in the old days I drew EACH INDIVIDUAL ONE complete with inking and it took a LONG time. It's a lot easier to relate to the hair NOT as "hair" but as a SHAPE. I look at the individual locks/strands/twists. like they are a type of container. Doing this helps me to become very loose with my drawing of the hair, and takes away that "stiff" look. Notice also how I've sketched the braids on the side of the head to follow the contour of the head shape. This is very important to get a more realistic effect.Ive also drawn each individual braid as an "X" which forms another "container" This process can be drawn surprisingly quickly. and takes the worry out of the inking stage to follow.
Inking is the fun part! For this job, the SUPER SHARPIE Marker is much too slow. For drawing hair I ALWAYS use Tombo Brush pens. The Brush allows me to use light quick, bold strokes, that add a sense of LIFE to the hair. Notice how I leave just enough white space to give off the illustion of light as it "shines" on the hair. Adding this illusion is very important, and a skill that you just must practice over and over again to get the right "feel"
I've found that if you dont include that "shimmering" quality to hair, your model will appear to be wearing a "plastic cap" that is "supposed to be their hair" Ive seen so many good caricature artists not give the hair the concentration and attention it deserves and ti weakens the drawing. When When doing the hair, try to have your strokes going in the same direction. This is one of the subtle ways you help to "lead the eye" of the viewer, and not create confusion. If you dont do this consistently, your viewer will think something is "wrong" with the picture but wont be quite able to put their finger on it.
The smallest braids on the side of the head can be inking with the Tombo as well, but a better choice is the smaller Pitt Pen. It's especially important when doing the braids to allow that "white space' arear in the middle to show, otherwise your braids will lose that 3D quality and will be a black mess... To make the hair even more realistic I take a fine point pen and draw "loose strands," of hair on each dread to make it appear more lively.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Hair is difficult to draw AT FIRST, but once you get the hang of it,You'll [ut any hair designer to shame!