The Wrenja

Long story. My good friend (and my most reliable critic) Wrenny showed me a picture she took one day, saying how it made her look creepy. Being the weirdo I am, I really liked the photograph. I especially liked how her left eye catches the light and her right eye falls into a subltle shadow from her bangs (and the shape and flow of her hair is pretty in the picture.) That and I like the angle. I can’t stand typical straight-forward pictures, fake-smile, standing in front of a camera for the sake of having one’s picture taken—yeah, screw that. Those pictures are unnatural, and lack any spark of life. What draws me to this image it looks intentionally composed (which I doubt it was), but completely spontaneous. Thus it looks fleeting like a bunch of elements happen to come together at the right time just the right way. Like the camera caught some stray sinister thought—“I know something I won’t tell!” To me, that’s way more interesting than, “Hey, stand in front of the camera so I can take your picture! Smile! Hey! I said smile! So Smile damn it!”

I’ll not repeat the same stuff I’ve recited for roughly half this site, but I will say it took me three renders to work back up to a level where I’m comfortable showing people my drawings, and I will say that I’ve gone back to computer paper and mechanical pencils were using (because they were all I had handy at the time.)

Overall I’m very happy with drawing and feel it’s pretty accurate to the original photo from which it was drawn (note: accurate, not perfect). Most of my errors are minor details—since the camera is above Wren, it requires some subtle foreshortening of the lower parts of the face (which i messed up—mostly lines drawn a tad higher than they should be.) And, of course, exact details in the stripes and the hair (because, stripes and hair are a nightmare to shade ... together they’re just insane.)

As I mentioned above, this is the third attempt to render the photograph. This one was actually drawn from on the computer screen—the other two were drawn from a printout which had a lower color spectrum than the screen. In those two, I knew it wasn’t turning out very well so I didn’t bother trying to render the stripes in the coat, so this is the first time I even attempted ... and as I got ready to shade, I distinctly remember asking myself, “What the hell am I getting myself into?” But, no guts, no glory. You learn faster if you tackle things you’re not sure you can do. And, hair, if it’s spread out thin enough it has a translucent quality—you can see the distinct pattern of the individual strands, and between them you can see the underlying surface. With some reservations, I started shading the stripes through the hair ... praying that it would work. I think it came out pretty well. It took me about ten-to-twelve hours total to render that image (not counting its two predecessors.) Roughly six of those hours were spent shading the stripes and the hair, blend the entire drawing, and apply touchups.

Anyway, thanks Wren for putting up with me.