Too Busy

For this drawing I’m continuing with the theme of me being too busy to spend a long time on a drawing.

And this is why I set daily minimums so low, because sometimes life is so busy that doing “great” work all the time is just impossible. As long as I do at least 30 minutes of drawing a day I can keep my hand, eye and mind connected and constantly familiar with transferring the three dimensional world in to two dimensions.

Now, most people would think that 30 minutes minimum a day wouldn’t be worth it but they would be wrong. Just look at my first post back in january and you can see extreme improvement within only 6 months. Personally I feel my ability to render life is light years ahead of then. But, I do set goals for each and every drawing and I try to achieve something not matter how small.

For this drawing I wanted to explore the differences between life and real time digital reproduction. So I set up a simple comparison. For real life I chose my own face and for the digital reproduction I setup a small ledge on my mirror to hold my iPhone.

I was able to draw a self portrait looking at both life and digital life while comparing and contrasting each. Here is what I found.



  • Possibility of extreme detail is almost limitless.
  • Tons of little subtle differences in value and color.
  • Its life, viewing it directly is the only direct way to emotional response.


  • Almost too much detail, its easy to get lost in details and get the larger shapes inaccurate.
  • So much subtle differences in value and color that confusion was increased and judging larger masses of similar color or value becomes ver difficult.

Digital Life


  • Easier to judge shapes and angles.
  • Easier to see RELATIVE values.
  • Incorrect drawing stands out and is easy to spot.
  • The best way to disconnect yourself from the subject and even your drawing is through digital reproduction.


  • Achieving the real values is impossible, all the lights were blown out and too white while the shadows lacked depth and were like black holes.
  • Color is completely wrong, the only way to achieve true color is to do studies from life, then use digital for placement.

Eventually I believe I will have to rely on printed or digital media to inform a longer piece so with this study I came up with a few general rules. And we all know how rules work in art… break them when you can.

  1. If your dealing with color in your final piece, always, always, always reference the color from real life.
  2. Having trouble with drawing? Reference digital media and the errors will almost smack you in the face.
  3. If you want huge amounts of detail or beautiful subtle values and colors in your final work, then work only from life.
  4. Only choose a subject from life, but then use digital reproduction to sketch in quick and accurate masses of value and color.
  5. Never work from only reproductions gather at LEAST 50% of your information from life.
  6. Break every or any rule above if the final work demands it.

The Drawing


Not a great drawing, its not even finished. But that doesn’t matter, I gathered so much information from this in such a short time that it was WELL worth it.


To the right of my head in the mirror was the tray that I taped up so it would cradle the iPhone for a direct comparison on screen of my face through the front facing camera.

Session Details