This week’s critique comes from artist Shrikant Chamoli. He has completed this critique using graphite. This is really well drawn. You’ve captured yourself and your daughter very well in this! I really love all the detail you put into your shirt too!

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In your submission, you said that you felt this looked flat and didn’t have enough contrast. I’ve said this before but being able to pinpoint where you want to improve is HUGE! This is the first step in taking great work and making it amazing.

The first thing I want to look at is the actual drawing. I’ve imported your reference photo and your artwork into photoshop, laid the reference photo over the art, lined them up based on your eyes, outlined the reference photo in red, then dropped out that reference so that we can better see adjustments that need to be made in the drawing. You are great at drawing and capturing the shapes correctly, you just want to spend a bit more time checking your work against itself before you start shading. I have no doubt you can draw this perfectly given what you’ve done here. It just takes a bit more time in checking your work as you draw.

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Onto your actual question. For the values, the first thing you want to do when drawing a colored photo in black and white is to change the reference to black and white. This is going to make it much easier for you to see your values. Notice how many areas can be darker, like the shadows under your jaw, around your eyes, around her jaw. Some areas should actually be lighter, like your hair. I know it’s scary when you’ve gotten this far in a piece to start adding darker shadows, but those shadows are what will make your lights really pop and give you the three-dimensional look you’re going for.

Watch when you draw lips both on men and children that they aren’t outlined too heavily because it makes it appear that they are wearing makeup. Keep the edges very soft. You will also want the upper lip slightly darker than the bottom because of how the lips catch light.

For the hair, slow down a bit here. I know it seems like it’s not as important as the faces are, but every square inch of your piece is just as important as every other in making an overall amazing piece of artwork. Take your time and really look at the clumps of light and dark. You’ve got the hair going in the right direction, so that is pretty big right there. Now it’s time to get those highlights in!