As I draw, I think to myself, “Is this above or below, to the left or to the right from something else”. I use angles. I see negative shapes. Despite doing all this, somewhere I will mindlessly miss an important measurement and it destroys the likeness. For example, in my last drawing, I carved out one edge of the face so perfectly, all the curves and indentations, but then I got the mandible too wide and everything got flared up, also I got the vertical positioning of the jaw and ear wrong. This happened in an instant, before I could realize it and I had to pay for it big time. So,
1. Instead of actually doing a whole portrait and realizing I’m not cutting it, wouldn’t it be a nice idea to isolate the problem? Is there an exercise I could do to strengthen my “proportions muscle”?
Here is one exercise I read about today. In digital, double up a canvas beside the reference and practice just putting the boundaries – top, bottom, left, right on the blank page. Then try dragging the lines and bring them above the reference. Lock transparency, and if a line is right, color it green, if it is slightly off, color it yellow, if totally off, color it red. Observe your tendencies and patterns.
2. I think my other problem is that I don’t deliberately think of measuring all the way through the block-in. I get over-confident and begin to draw blindly and think I am so good at drawing. It is probably an ego thing, and I hurt myself when I finish the outline to find out it’s not accurate.