I am really pretty happy with this one.
I started by spending a lot of time on the sketch (3 hours or so). I printed it off, and tried to measure using my pencil as if I had a live model. I got a lot of the lines right, but some were WAYYYY off. (Hishands were 200% bigger than they should have been, and his hair was twice the size it is now.
I then held the printed version under the paper and held it up to a light to see how close my sketch was. I think this is a good way for me to improve my drawing. First, try as if there is a live model. Then, compare what I drew to what it should have been. Mark where the errors are, and fix them. This helps me see that while I spent a lot of time measuring the face relative to the size of the eye, I spent less time measuring the size of the hands and hair relative to the eye. No wonder then that those were way off.
After getting some land marks in place, I erased the misproportioned sketch, and redrew. I didn’t want to because I spent an hour drawing the hair alone, I tried to get every shadow and highlight in the sketch. Erasing all that work was kind of annoying, but it was worth it. Not only did I fix the hair (making him look less like Marge Simpson) but I also realized that I don’t need to sketch every shadow. I can paint the values… I just need the sketch to lock in the proportions.
After redoing the sketch a few more times, I felt like it was pretty close to the photo, so I started painting.
I tried to pay very close attention to the values and colors in much finer detail than before. This helped immensely.
Instead of painting “his head”, I painted “the left part of that wrinkle.” By doing this I noticed that the wrinkles are different colors on each end. In shadow, they are brownish purple, in the light they are yellow, and in the shadow on the right, they are orange. In the past, I would just grab a brown or grey or blue and paint the wrinkle all the way across as a single color. This I think is what made so many of them feel flat. I need to pay much closer attention to the objects I am painting, and paint what I see. Not what I think I see.