Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater
(Titanic [1997])

Kate Winslet from the Titanic soundtrack. Here is where I really started getting tired of drawing from little pictures in soundtrack booklets—it’s another case of the image working wonderfully in the booklet juxtapose to other stills from the film, but when I pulled it out I discovered I wanted to show more here, less there, and wound up doing some minor reworks to the composition. And when everything’s said and done, it’s not quite balanced, its edges are more rugged than I’d like, and it looks like I just gave up.

In retrospect, I probably did give up. I was doing all right up until it came time to shade her hair, which required precise shading to integrate her light-colored hair (and its individual strands) with the dark background. People say drawing faces/eyes are the hardest, others say drawing hands are the hardest—a common misconception, but it is not true. Women’s light-colored hair, wavy hair with individual strands showing, against a dark background—that, ladies and gentlemen, is the hardest thing to draw. The most time-consuming and the least forgiving. Hands and eyes can be drawn in a matter of minutes (seconds for a really good artist), but hair against a dark background ... we’re talking hours.

I have my share of mistakes and goof ups in this image—my tendency to elongate the face around the cheek/nose region, the incomplete gradient of shadows on the right side of her face—but the most glaring is her hair. It looks like I copied and pasted it from another image; it does not look like it belongs in this picture. At the time, I was experimenting with a rougher, more spontaneous, sketchier style of shading that I’d seen in other artwork and wanted to try out. I still like the technique, and discovered that even though it looks faster, it still takes a lot of work to develop the image (ie, if you quit in the middle of the drawing ... it still looks like you quit.)