Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Drawing Judy Garland

Aint she purdy?
My reference image.
This drawing is a big deal to me because it's the biggest one I've ever done on paper, the biggest one I've inked, the largest portrait I've ever drawn, and the biggest thing I've ever had framed. It was a big deal. GET IT?! It came out pretty good, so good in fact I thought I'd share how I did it with you fine people.

This project started out as me needing something to put on the bare walls of my room. Normally I would break out the ol' 9"x11" notebook and go to town but for this I knew it wouldn't cut it, I wanted something I could actually show off and look almost professional that wasn't a poster. 9"x11" is great because it easily fits on a scanner and you can shove it into your backpack or what have you with ease but I stepped up to 11"x14". I know it's not a huge jump in numbers but it's a pretty big jump in drawing terms, for me anyway.

I chose to do a portrait of Judy Garland because I wanted to create a vintage image but felt that Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Betty Davis, etc. were too overdone and there's a ton of posters and stuff for them out there but hardly any for Judy Garland in her later years. In case you don't know who she is she played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz! That bright young lass who lead the children of the world over to somewhere over the rainbow without even having to show her boobs. Magical. She really is an interesting person who lived a hell of a life and I felt she deserved my small tribute.

These are my super expensive art tools. Mechanical pencil, sharpie, and wax paper.

I didn't think I was gonna ink this at first, to be honest I didn't know what I was doing other than drawing the outline.

The reference picture I had was the most legit I could find on Google Images and looked the easiest to draw.

The basic outline was done and I didn't feel like drawing surface maps or shapes so I started filling in the details a bit.

I've learned to start at the top and work my way down to keep from smearing the lead so much, the wax paper helps too of course. Come to think of it this is actually the first drawing I've used wax paper on...

By this point I knew I was going to ink this thing so instead of shading in the areas I knew would be black I just scribbled in them so I would remember to blacken them.

Happy little details.

Drawing is like building a house. You start with a foundation and then build up from there, adding layer upon layer until it doesn't look awful.

I was bored with penciling at this point and started inking. I was scared as all balls while doing this because unlike everything else I do I can't erase my inevitable screw up.

The face was especially scary.

Shading large areas with an ultra fine sharpie is really lame and tedious.

I hated Judy's lips by this point and chose to try my hand and making them less stupid.

God, that pillow took forever.

The hardest things in the world to draw are hands, hair, folds, and feathers. I hate them all.

By this point I knew I was almost done but I realized how fat her face looked. If I knew how to shade with ink this would be an easy fix as I knew just what the problem was. Too bad I don't.

This is just about done. After I tweaked the nose and added those lines to the background I spent about an hour working on the line of her face, trying to thin it out and make it look neat. I also adjusted the eyes and a few other things, mostly borders.

And done.
In all it took me four days until I was satisfied but I think it came out okay for someone who doesn't do this very often. Hope you enjoyed the show! Maybe Ryan's review will be done by the end of the week then we can push KS aside forever.


  1. I love it! You know she is my fave. You did an excellent job brother.

  2. Well done Frankie!