Sherlock | Drawing Celebrities

My husband and I have recently discovered “Sherlock.” We’d heard all the talk and knew it was supposed to be wonderful so we finally got around to watching all three seasons on Netflix. And now we’re watching them all again–obviously we’re in love.

Last night we were watching the first episode again and I did this quick sketch of Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Sherlock in the show. I posted the drawing on Instagram (follow me! @thelivingstonline) and Facebook and got plenty of love and praise. The attention made me think about drawing. It occurred to me that many artists only draw celebrities. That’s all well and good but the facts are that it’s actually illegal to make money off of someone’s likeness without their permission.

It also occurred to me that many people may wonder why someone like me would draw something like Sherlock here since it’s obviously not for profit. Of course, it’s purely for practice. I happen to love this show so I chose a character to use for practice. When I practice drawing, people especially, I have a couple main goals in mind. One goal is to test and perfect techniques. The other is to observe. While I’m drawing I’m making mental notes of what I’m seeing and adding those to my “library”. I have a mental library of images and information regarding things I have observed. This information helps me understand light, shadow, human form, etc. and I use the information gathered to make the next drawing better and to create something original. For example, after drawing for years I’ve learned about reflective light. When I draw a nose I know that the bottom underside is usually in shadow but the darkest part is usually in the middle of that shadow. The light reflects off of other parts of the face and creates a slight highlight within the shadow. This is true of almost all shadows. Knowing this helps me look for the reflective light in shadows and allows me to create a believable drawing, maybe without even looking at anything!

That’s what most good artists do when they practice I think. Refine technique and observe. Record your observations in your mental library for future use. 

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