Afanador Sketches

Ruven Afanador is a wonderful and creative photographer. His specialty is mostly fashion and celebrity portraits. I can highly recommend looking at his work. The images of Amanda Seyfried are just awesome (those eyes!) However he has another body of work that is probably best described as outrageous.

Refer to the Ruven Afanador website and his books.

Please note this is a purely a drawing exercise for our TAFE class. Our lecturer wants us to get used to a flowing free brush, and not clean stiff analytical tracing. This is actually very challenging! (especially for someone who does not like to colour outside the lines…)

An additional challenge is to use very few different brush types.

The whole objective was to get us to try to draw freely. Instead of getting stuck with the “blank canvas” some of Ruven Avanador confronting portraits from several of his books were used as the basis for our character sketches. We were to use underlying photos to draw several sketches of only one character or element.

These are my first attempts. I really did struggle with this exercise! After quite a few goes I started to get a feel of getting a shading effect by building up brushstrokes. I found that swapping between a black then a white brush and varying the opacity I could get the desired effect.

After the characters we repeated the exercise for trees, clouds and backgrounds from a limited number of supplied photographs.

Once we had a library of elements, the next task was to assemble them using a classic arrangement:

  • foreground (our sketched character)
  • mid-ground (trees)
  • background (European village scene)

Rather than a “conventional” landscape we were to incorporate our sketch elements ensuring that the foreground comprised one of our characters. Further, this element was to dominate the composition.

Don’t worry if you think my sketches are “weird” – they are meant to be! Have a look at Ruven Afanador (under books -> “Mil Besos”) they MAY make more sense then… 🙂


Sketch 1

Sketch One

Sketch 2

Sketch Two

Sketch 3

Sketch Three

Sketch 4

Sketch Four

Sketch 5

Sketch Five


Composite 1

Scene One

Composite 2

Scene Two

Composite 3a

Scene Three

Composite 3b

Scene Four

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