Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fear of Faces

I have long had a fear of embroidering faces. Remember, I cannot draw.


And stitching a face on a piece of embroidery automatically draws the eye. It's the first place your eye goes...right to the face.

I think, as humans, we're programmed that way. And, when I look at the faces on some of my homemade dolls I've collected...they're very endearing. And I'd much rather see a doll with a face than without one.


Believe me, I am anxious every time I sit down to stitch a face, bu I still plow forward and do it. But stitching Alice and the Mad Hatter almost put me over the edge! So, one of my personal goals is to get more comfortable stitching faces.

Up until now, my technique has been to find an actual picture of a face I'd like to copy...enlarge or shrink on my copier...and then trace it. It works a lot of the time. But I'd like to become a little bit more educated about how to draw/embroider faces.


So I was delighted when I saw that this online course was being offered by Joggles...Hey Doll Face by Judy Skeel. Even though it's about sculpting a doll's head, face and hair...I imagine I will learn many new techniques I might be able to use.

I did find lots of interesting links when exploring my challenge of stitching the human face and all the emotions that go along with it. Most simply, I liked this freebie from kylanicole on Flickr but I think they're a little too simplistic for what I need....


And these freebies from davis.jacque which she uses in making her silly little dolls. But I think these guys might be a little too crazy...(albeit I like crazy...)


Without a doubt, the advice I found most helpful was from master embroiderer Gay Ann Rogers. Gay Ann has just recently completed stitching this piece, Elizabeth I.

Copyright by Gay Ann Rogers and photo used with her permission

And she has this to say about embroidering faces...

Many times people have said to me that needlework faces are so ugly. I agree that most are, but I think it is because people put too much detail into too small a face. Most of a needleworked face is best left unsaid.

One of the first things I learned about drawing is this: it is OK to suggest something and let the viewer bring her own experiences to the painting.
Go here to read more about how she stitched the Queen's face, ruff and hands -- I'm soaking it in as she posts another installment of how she designed and stitched this queen.

You can also learn more about where Gay Ann will be teaching Elizabeth I on her website. I hope to stitch her one day.

And guess what? In my search for ideas for embroidering faces, I found this post from my friend Mary Corbet...seems like I'm in good company with my fear of stitching faces...

For now, I'm heading to Joggles to learn how to draw/stitch better faces. Maybe I'll see one of you there.

12 comments:

Mary Corbet said...

Ohhhh. Faces. Yes. Those things! One day, I'll get back to that! Thanks for the reminder, Susan!

Carol said...

Well, I certainly give you credit. First you NEVER stop. And second you never stop improving your skills and talent.

I have been debating on taking a Susan Sorrel class. But then I wonder if her style which I love will become MY style. Will I try to mimic hers, or further develope what I want to be mine. I have never taken a creative class. A few technique classes but never any of what I call intangible classes. What do you think?

Gerry Krueger said...

Well you are truly right on about the eyes...If you get the eyes right it doesn't matter what else you mess up on a face....

And the key to getting the eyes right are the highlights and the lids ...SO FOCUS ON THE EYE INFO YOU GET!!! and look in a mirror...I do that A LOT when I'm trying to achieve a certain expression....

I LOVE doing faces and I collect interesting faces... If you have problems...sing out and I'll gladly critique and give tips if you like......

Hugs Ger

Sue said...

Thanks for the faces, I can't draw them I like the idea that if you get the eyes right doesn't matter about rest. Loved your faces will know were to go nexr time I need one Thanks Sue

Salley Mavor said...

What an interesting discussion of embroidering faces!I have to do mine over and over again to get the look I want. It's so easy to go over the line and make a person's features look grotesque. Yours is looking good!

Createology said...

I admire your brave attitude to learn more and more in order to embroider faces that you are comfortable with. I love your dolls. Happy stitching...

Judy S. said...

Susan, I love the way you keep challenging yourself!

Judy S. said...

Susan, I love the way you keep challenging yourself!

FredaB said...

That should be an interesting class. Harv does watercolors but he has said he has trouble with faces when trying to do portraits of the grandkids. I never thought of that class for him. Will have to watch it the next time she runs it.

I have taken 2 of Sharons thru Joggles and of course Sharon is such a good teacher. Hope you have good luck with yours. Of course now you have Gerry offering to help and what more could you ask for. Her work is wonderful as you know.

Have fun

Hugs
FredaB

Rachel said...

Great to see there are so many interesting ideas and courses to help with this sort of thing. And all credit to you for facing up to your fears - I hope you face them down!

flyingbeader said...

You'll enjoy Judy's class. BTW...Judy lives 5 minutes from me & I took classes from her at her studio. You just have to practice drawing faces & coloring them until you find your own "face". Lucy Landry also does embroidered faces, but her faces are more surreal. She's teaching a class in Shelbyville Ky Halloween weekend with Susie McMahon at MM&M.

http://lucylandrydesigns.com/gallerythree.aspx

good luck & have fun
dot

Robin said...

And how is it going? Love these links... THANKS! Ditto Carol on giving you credit for not stopping, EVER! I plan on seeing many more Susan faces and hearing less angst about it!

Robin A.

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