An Interesting Exercise

I was at my sketchbook the other day practicing and doodling on my favorite subject, the Winchester boys, of course. I usually do a lot of figure studies and action poses of both of them, while my mind invents little stories to go with the drawings. Ah, no, I not obsessed. It’s just very relaxing and fun 🙂

Anyway, I also practice drawing their faces a lot, because that’s how drawing skills are improved and with this subject matter, I never get bored. I’ve always noticed that I have a lot harder time drawing Dean than Sam, so tend to draw him more often, just to get in more practice. Anyway I got caught up doing a Dean sketch that turned into a more elaborate portrait of him that I originally intended. I was jazzed because I thought I had done a good job on this freehand drawing. I hadn’t even used grid lines on my reference to judge proportions,  just depended on my eye to block out his face and then shade it in a bit. After a good half hour or so I proudly went off to show my husband.  He stared at it a bit and I got the sense that he wasn’t seeing the perfect Dean drawing I was seeing.  So I prodded and he finally admitted that it looked more like David Hasselhoff than Dean Winchester.I was kind of horrified and eventually wandered off disappointedly to study my drawing. At first I decided that hubby had no idea what he was talking about, but I also know that he is one of my most caring and honest critics and usually when I stop being irritated and take his advice, it is all for the better.This is what I showed him.


After spending some time trying to figure out if there was any truth to Marty’s assessment, I decided to call it a day, because the more I looked at it, the more it was looking like David Hasselhoff to me too.  I decided I had totally lost my objectivity and went off to do other things.

Still over the next few days, I kept coming back to peek at the drawing and yup, I could see it more clearly every time, Hasselhoff, not Winchester. It bothered me to no end, because even though I could acknowledge the lack of proper likeness, I could not figure out where I went wrong. The proportions seemed right, even after doing a more careful study of lines and spaces. They all seemed to be in the right place, but still it was freaking Hasselhoff, not Dean!

It finally occurred to me how to truly check my proportions on the drawing. I scanned my reference image and my drawing and then opened both files in photoshop. In the drawing file I created another layer and copied the reference image onto it. I then created a third transparent layer on top of the reference drawing and onto this one I traced out a contour line of Dean’s face directly from the image.

Once this was done I hid the layer with the reference image so I could see the traced line drawing directly over my pencil drawing. I used the transform tool to fit the line contour as closely as possible to my drawing. This is what I saw.


I was happy to see that my drawing was not too far off from the true proportions of the reference image. But there were enough subtle differences to kill a good likeness.

Probably the most important differences in my drawing were a larger jaw, a cheekbone that didn’t taper enough and the nose slightly smaller. Also his left eye was placed slightly higher than where is should have been. Less important were that the the back  and top of his head were too big and his ear set back a little too much, but still adding up enough to make a DH instead of a DW.

Here is a closer look.


Now I had a roadmap for making changes to my original drawing. I went back to it and started erasing and redrawing lines. Once the new proportions were in spent some more time shading and smoothing out lines.

This is the reworked drawing.


Yay! It looks like Dean. At least I think so. Hubby still thinks it looks like David H. ARRGHHHH!

You be the judge.



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