“People are born like crackers, all crispy. They become stale when we try to normalize all their inconsistencies.” ~ Anthony Ryder
I recently spent 10 days at The Ryder Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, learning new portrait techniques from one of the current-day masters of drawing and painting, Anthony Ryder . I will give you a 10-week synopsis each Monday on The Drawing Board of what I learned each day.
The Ryder Studio
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Anthony Ryder glides the pencil over the paper in a feather-weight, not too heavy strokes. Kind of like a figure skater gliding over the ice or like brushing off lint from clothes.
The first step to drawing a portrait is what he calls the “block-in”. This is a series of lines that possess the length and tilt of the head. As nature does not possess straight lines, neither does the human form. There are no horizontal or vertical lines on the human form. Only curved lines exist.
There are short line segments that can be drawn into curves.
Use your reaction for measurement of the human form.
Your drawing will start to give you feedback the more involved you become with the piece.
When creating the block-in, do lots of cross-referencing to make sure the perspective is correct.
After the block-in of the outer part of the figure is drawn, start the block-in of the features. Anthony usually starts with the placement of the nose first, then moves on to the eyes and mouth.
Produce a non-contained space within the portrait. “Life has fewer fences than we think”, says Anthony. We do not see edges in nature, nor will we see them on the human form.