Tag Archives: Kurt Cobain

Pencil portrait drawing of Kurt Cobain.

This pencil portrait drawing of Kurt Cobain was drawn in June 2011.

The pencil portrait drawing was an experiment for trying out some ideas, I made some quick sketches with different tools that where all dismal failures and I should have realized that there was something difficult about this image making it troublesome.

I chose Kurt Cobain, front man for Nirvana, the Grunge band, mainly  because I have had a relationship with him that was one sided as a fan during his and my life, through the television, newspapers, and radio, all with their own brand of creative news.

One starts and they all jump on the gravy train, creating portraits and I am no different except mine is only a pencil portrait drawing.

Here I am doing the same thing as them drawing a pencil portrait drawing of a common old rock star because he is familiar and recognizable.

Pencil Portrait Drawing Kurt Cobain
Pencil portrait drawing of Kurt Cobain before getting to the final detail.

I enjoyed Nirvana probably because nothing good happened for me during the late 80’s early 90’s with guitar based bands and I had drifted off into little fluffy clouds, 808 State, rave music. Kraft Work had become popular again and I had been into them much earlier as well, just like, good night Vienna, Ultravox, guitar music was dead and then came Nirvana, and it was Nirvana. No more Mini Moogs and Oberhimer’s, it was Fender guitars and amplifiers, it was aggression, raw complaints and vague lyrics, “I’m so ugly, that’s OK cos so are you”.

All this and the media portrayal of a troubled soul, leading to his suicide, probably adhered me to Kurt Cobain giving me a good reason for drawing a common old dead rock star, dead but not forgotten.

I chose this image of Kurt Cobain from an Unplugged episode for a number of reasons, one of which was because he was not quite looking at the camera, which I think makes a more interesting portrait of somebody, caught unawares.  The image actually looks like he has been caught day dreaming and he is not actually focused or aware of his real surroundings, I think the image portrays this, whether it’s true or not.

The pencil portrait drawing.


Kurt Cobain Pencil Portrait Drawing Finished
Kurt Cobain pencil portrait drawing, after picking out the detail, perhaps the finished V1

I did not realize how difficult this was going to be until I tried to capture it and the eyes caused me problems. I chose these eyes because they where wet, glassy, reflecting stage lighting but only prominently in Kurt’s left eye on your right hand side, those other glints that are there but dimmed out, where difficult to get to the right tone.  The light reflecting in the iris of the left eye was also difficult for the same reasons.

I chose these elements because they are strong along with the stubble and the hair, as my intentions where to only suggest Kurt Cobain, I failed to satisfy these intentions in this drawing I think, yet learned so much more that I will use.

All of these aspects are what makes the drawing good but much more difficult with a need for deadly accuracy to capture the qualities of the subject but I made it difficult because I did not want it to be photographic, either. I had intentionally chosen an image with lots of marks in it, so as to be more able to use hatch marks as well as tonal modelling. This meant there was a lot more work involved in reproducing those marks which was a very time consuming task. I thought that I could just make hap hazard hatch marks to suggest some of the facial areas and I was wrong because it didn’t work out that way making me feel that I needed to do them almost exactly as they were.

I have drawn many portraits in the past and know that photographers usually over expose faces in an attempt at making the subject look better by masking the details with light. This usually produces images that are flatter than in real life showing less shape and form also showing less detail making them less work for someone doing a pencil portrait drawing.

The initial drawing took me about 30 minutes and you can see it being drawn in the video below.

I first toned the paper with graphite dust making it a light grey color or tone. This was done because of the hair being blond and very light but also I did not want to create a drawing that looked like a photograph, I wanted it to look like a drawing with many marks just being suggested rather than definite. Past experience told me that I could do this successfully by using an eraser to draw with as well as a pencil, thus leaving the paper white by removing the graphite with an electric eraser.

I do have a process for doing my drawing which is probably similar to most other peoples but just in case it is not I think it needs to be stated. On most occasions I will draw some quick sketches of what it is I am going to draw, even if I have a photograph, as it helps me to focus my attention by getting things wrong, which in most instances I often do. This process also teaches me about the anatomy of the face and I learn how the elements are connected to each other, giving me practice runs at getting it right, all building up my visual memory of the face which I think helps me see it in greater detail. The whole process is about focusing down on the detail by starting out with a simple drawing, a quick out line sketch then refining it by adding more detail.

After this quick initial drawing I then set to work on finalizing the detail and correcting any discrepancies between the drawing and the photographic subject, by this I mean that I make sure everything was where it was supposed to be. I do this by working through each component of the face; for example, I would take the subjects left eye on the right hand side of the paper and draw every detail as I could see it in the photograph. I always try to work from right to left because I am left handed but anyone who is right handed would be best working from the left, this enables you to more easily see what you have already drawn. It also helps because your drawing hand is not rubbing on the drawing you have been doing thus changing it by smudging the marks you have already made.

I then draw this left eye on the right hand side of the paper as I can see it, trying put every piece of the detail into place as I move around this smaller area, comparing each component in it with each other till I am satisfied that it looks good and close to the original.

Then I move to the other eye to do the same thing but then also comparing it with the eye I have just drawn to make sure it also is in the right place at the right angle being the right size and shape. At this point I begin to see discrepancies in the eye I have already drawn and although I was satisfied with it at the start I soon find faults with it when comparing with each other and the photographic subject.

When I am satisfied that the eyes are right I will move to the nose and mouth working them together along with comparisons being made with the eyes as well, at this point I start to make comparisons with the outlines of the face also. This whole process is slow, laborious and I find it enlightening because it seems to me that as you build you’re drawing, the parts you draw, the marks you make, reveal other marks that are missing in other areas that you have just finished. Areas or marks that you where sure where correct when you made them seem to change after doing some more work in another area and looking again you find they are not as good as you thought they were, so the process of elimination grows more complex and more detailed.

I do not do this process in one go but over a few days by going back to it and doing a little often with the biggest part of the work being visual study and comparison. The largest part of the work has no physical presence as most of it is just looking but it is essential to the end result.

The tools I used in the initial drawing where a HB 0.5 mechanical pencil some graphite dust scraped from a 3B graphite stick, a charcoal pencil and a Jakar battery operated eraser on A3 300gsm water color paper using the smooth side of the paper. The graphite dust was blended in using soft tissue paper by lightly rubbing it in circular motions so as not to leave streaks as I did not want them in this drawing but sometimes I do use them for further interest.

In the seconded stage I decided to use some black chalk pastel instead of the charcoal pencil because it adhered to the paper and other pencil marks better and was better at minimizing the reflected light that comes from the darkest areas of graphite pencil. Rubbing in some pastel over the top of these graphite pencil marks dulls them making them blacker and much less reflective I only used this in the darkest areas because if it is over done you end up with a very different tonal quality. If over done you end up with a pastel drawing and not a pencil drawing but used sparingly it can be very effective, notice the neck and under the chin area, around the ear, as well as the pupils, and top lip. In the second stage of the drawing where I was doing the detail I changed pencil I was using for a Derwent 4B sketching pencil which is a very soft black and layers very well over the top of previously drawn pencil. I also used the battery operated eraser and a paper stump for blending the pastel into the graphite pencil and also blending the graphite pencil it into the white of the paper.

I also experimented with a Derwent 8B dark wash pencil which is a pencil that you can wash out with some water on a brush I tried this over some of the not so dark areas in an attempt to kill the reflected light that comes from graphite pencil marks. This did work to some extent, not as well as the black pastel chalk did but I could not use the black as these areas are not meant to be black and making them black would change the whole tonal quality of the drawing completely.

Pencil Portrait Drawing Equipment
HB 0.5 mechanical pencil, 3B graphite dust, a charcoal pencil, Jakar battery eraser, A3 300gsm water color paper, chalk pastel,Derwent 4B sketching pencil,paper stump, Derwent 8B dark wash pencil.

I succeeded in capturing the essence of Kurt Cobain and also managed to only suggest many strong features like the hair, creating a graphite pencil portrait drawing with photo realistic elements and also bold suggestive pencil marks. I am happy with the outcome as it now presents a better understanding of the 3 dimensional shape of the face giving me the possibility of further exploration and experimentation.


My next victim will be, His Bobness.

Bob Dylan deserves to be immortalized in a graphite pencil portrait drawing if only for the fact that he has been on a never ending tour for possibly the last 50 years of his life, intentional or not that is a feat of endurance and lasting commitment.

View Gareth Pritchard’s profile on G+


Drawing ideas when bored, this will help you to find them easy.

The problem is that asking the question, what can I draw when your bored is it is not the right question and won’t bring results easy, if at all. It is wasted because even if others tell you what to draw, you won’t do it when your bored. The conclusion to this is easy, the answer is inside you when finding drawing ideas. Just looking and finding ideas stops you from being bored as well. Sorry but you are the only one who can answer that question. It can’t be answered for you because nobody can tell you what you should be drawing. There is some help for you though, the answer is easy because it’s not really a question, it’s a problem. Your bored and your head has nothing inside it to get it excited, you need a way for finding drawing ideas.

Finding the simple answer to being bored and help you find drawing ideas.

The real problem is easy to understand, if you don’t put anything into the box, then how do you think you are going to be finding anything to get out of it?

What this means is?

If you don’t start filling your mind with drawing ideas, then where do you think you are going to get your drawing ideas from?

When your bored you have no ideas, that’s part of being bored, this is because you don’t have anything going on inside your mined. This might sound too simple but you just need to relax and look at photos of things you like. That is what drawing ideas are, they are pictures, finding photos you like is finding drawing ideas. Doing this will get you all the ideas you like plus looking at the pictures that stimulate you because you like them helps you not to be bored.

If you think about the pictures you have drawn in the past and the reasons why you did them, you will find that it wasn’t because you had the urge to do a drawing of a car, a face or whatever. It was a specific car, face or whatever that you wanted to draw, this is often described as inspiration, a desire for drawing it.

Car drawing, How to draw a cars basic construction drawing process, Aston Martin, Vantage.

The realization of drawing ideas.

This is very often because you liked whatever it is, especially when you are not very experienced, young, untrained or self taught because you have not disciplined yourself to just do drawing. You have not thought a great deal about why you are drawing these things, you just draw them because you’re enjoying it, you like it, without realizing, it is that easy. Why wouldn’t you like looking at photos of things that you like? You draw these things because you have a strong wish to draw them and they are never the things that you don’t like but nearly always things you do like a lot.

Inspiration is about what goes on inside your head, the things you think about, the things you dream about, the dreams you think about. Inspiration and drawing ideas are about agitating or stimulating this process into action, to help give you food for thought. Looking at and finding photos stimulates the visual part of the brain obviously because it is looking and helps to stop being bored.

Here’s the best part, we all do this all the time naturally. We have ideas and thoughts but most of it is not channeled because we are distracted by the living of life it’s self. Unless we make time to help nurture and develop this process, our drawing ideas get lost easy in a sea of information overload.

Stimulation is only half of the story, we need to transfer this information from our imaginations into the real world. Into something of substance and this is what you are drawing, your ideas, it is called self actualization. Finding pictures for drawing is much easier than actually drawing them and saving pictures to draw is good as well, there is a tool online that helps you to do both.

Do you remember this statement “If you don’t start filling your head with drawing ideas, then where do you think you are going to get your drawing ideas from?” What this means is, if you don’t help yourself by filling your head with drawing ideas by looking at pictures even only as a way of trying to stop being bored then where do you think you are going to get your drawing ideas from?”

How to help by filling your head easy using the net to find drawing ideas.

Nowadays it’s so easy to get the help you need to find drawing ideas when bored, just go online to find image searches in any of the search engines. You can get all the source material you could ever want and people today don’t know how easy they have got it really. I often wonder how anybody could be bored with all the information they have at their fingertips nowadays.

As a youngster learning how to do drawing there was nowhere near the help you have today. It was lucky if there where 2 Marvel comics or a news paper to get some drawing ideas from, let alone the billions of photos online. Sometimes this can also be a problem known as overkill, information overload or spoilt for choice but that is not the issue that we are concerned with at the moment.

Nobody can really tell you what to fill your head with but this can help you by telling you that if you fill your head with images that you like, then they will help to give you ideas. Just looking at pictures you like looking at will help you to be less bored.

This is how everybody fills their head with drawing ideas and it works like a dream, in fact perhaps this should be for sale but it’s not because it’s free anyway and just plane sense if you think about it.

Using a site called Stumble Upon to stumble for photos of the stuff you like is what I do, this soon fills my head, feeds my brain, feeds my need or feeds my greed, it doesn’t matter because it just works so easy, like nothing else for me. It’s the easy way of finding interesting photos by just pushing a button.

Finding results the easy way, organized stumbling brings results.

For those of you who don’t know what StumbleUpon.com is, then let me tell you. Besides being a fantastic place to store links to your favorite sites as a social book marking tool, it also gives you the option to click a button and view random web pages easy, these can be targeted to your specific interests.

So you can set it to view pictures and then click the button to look at random pictures of interest This is great for finding stuff you wouldn’t usually be finding because you wouldn’t know these sites exist. It is another form of channel hoping but with web pages where you can target images. You can pick broad topics, this really brings unexpected drawing ideas to mind easy, that feeds my need. This has been fantastic to me because please remember, a Marvel Comic as good as they where and a news paper is not much in the way of inspiration.I didn’t get to to do drawings of the things I wanted to when I was younger because there was no easy way of finding good pictures of the things I wanted to draw but I have since.

Then when I have got my drawing ideas off inside my head, I go to Google or Getty Images or any of a hundred other places looking for pictures finding source material to build my next drawing, pictorial illusion.

You people today, don’t know how easy you have it or how much help you really have at your finger tips.

Knowing what to draw can be easy and it is no longer an issue finding pictures for drawing. Join Stumbleupon.com, it is the easiest way I know for finding photos for drawing when bored and it is also good fun stumbling. If you are wondering about what’s in it for me, then don’t bother joining I am only trying help people by making things as easy as possible. There is nothing for me to gain from you joining Stumble Upon.


There is nothing in it for me, unless you want to do yourself a favor and stumble http://howtodraweasy.com/ that would help me, to help you, perhaps.

This is one interpretation of what you will be doing: besides just filling your head with visual information, as it will also be, popular, visual, cultural, information, of the times you are living in. It is also a fabulous way of seeing what the world likes by just clicking a button to view random web pages under your topics of interest because the most popular float to the top.

Another interpretation of this method, can be described as being a way of finding the basic subject matter, for the pop art movement, easy research into, popular visual culture, using the nowadays experiential learning rout by looking, what else could be that easy?

My easy StumbleUpon, what to draw method, is as follows.

In settings, Manage Interests, you can have the following selected because you are mostly interested in images. If you have too many topics selected then your time becomes diluted with reading and not looking.

  • Arts
  • Bizarre/Oddities
  • Sculpting
  • Computer Graphics
  • Drawing
  • Photography

You can installed the tool bar into your browser and whenever you are at loose end, not knowing what to do, you can easy just stumble images, related information, on StumbleUpon but to be honest, do this and you will never be stuck for something to be drawing.

I often use this method not to look for drawing ideas or images to make drawings from but develop the ideas already being developed because I have been drawing for about 40 years and developed my discipline many years ago. Using the stumble upon method of web page hopping helps me to get new drawing ideas for what is already worked on as a way of adding more to them. It often throws up some very interesting, potential developments, for these ideas that are in the making as work in progress and is a very easy solution once set up with a button in your browser.

It is also a good place to store Art/Drawing links to related web pages easy at the click of a button as favorites for future reference, without clogging up my browser favorites and keeping everything related easy in one place.

Alternatively if you don’t want to join and use stumble upon then you can go to Google images or where ever your own preference might be, to view photos you like. When viewing images you are actually stimulating your brain into thinking about these, generating inspiration for developing your own images.

Not knowing, not seeing is why your not drawing you have no inspiration, what to draw is often about not being inspired and the best way to inspire yourself, is to look at other peoples pictures, photographs or ideas which will help fill your head and feed your need.

Some images created through stumbling, can be seen below.

Drawing ideas, a picture of a girl, a car, a frog.


drawing ideas Image of a dragon stalking a girl.


A dragon taken from drawing ideas found online.

All the most well known and loved stories in our lives, are most often filled with elements that we can identify with and recognize. These are personal but also very similar, from person to person, so they are a shared reality. They are most often cultural preferences, with common threads, from one culture to the next and not so personal after all.

This means that stories contain elements that are common to most people, the same can be said of images, people recognize and attach meaning to images, the symbols within them and even the colors used become meaningful. This seems more so with time and maturity, as people age.

drawing ideas girl on tong maker pens and graphite pencil drawing see it on YouTube.

The further you move away from the norms, the more unrecognizable your drawing ideas become and sometimes more outrageous or distasteful, making them less likable to the masses in general.

This has already been said but “the answer is inside you” you are able to create your own drawing ideas by stimulating that thinking muscle they call the brain, with visual images.

You decide what you want to be  drawing  through your own inspiration.

Zeitgeist, spirit of the times, pencil drawing ideas.

Drawing ideas, aerial maneuvers, dragon over the roof tops.

You can find some more videos to watch at these links, how to draw a gun, drawing people and my favorite pencil portrait drawing of Kurt Cobain, all these should help to fire your imagination and perhaps give some drawing ideas.