Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fabulous Faces an e-course review


Last month I reviewed Tamera LaPorte's Art, Heart and Healing e-course and this month I wanted to talk about the next course I took by Tam called Fabulous Faces.

Fabulous Faces
This is a great class for beginners. In short this e-course is focused on drawing three styles of female faces. We use a ruler, pencil, eraser, paper, color pencils and acrylics to create a front facing portrait, a three quarter portrait and a profile. There are many hours of footage to watch and learn from as well as several PDF's to download. I've always been apprehensive about portraiture and wasn't sure where to start. But I really wanted to challenge myself and get past this fear.

What do you do when you're afraid to fail...
Would I really hold myself back because I was afraid to fail at drawing a face? Seriously? Ummm... NO! When the question is stated like that it seems silly. Maybe faces wouldn't be my thing. I could live with that. But I had to find out if I could draw one and if I could draw one successfully what then? That's the real question I should be asking.

Baby Steps
Over this year I've come to learn that what looks like success is really a moment preceded by a great deal of practice that if seen independent of the success could be categorized as a string of failures. As long as I am developing my skills and ultimately my own style, because that's really the goal, then each 'failure' is a success in itself. Maybe not frame worthy but a triumph. First I had to take those baby steps towards taking my art seriously. So what if I did make art that was terrible. No one is looking. I never had to share those with anyone, right? I could throw them out or paint over them. I could save them and look back and the stepping stones I took to where I wanted to be. I even imagine that some day I will be looking back on them and wonder if I could draw such quirky pictures again. It was about time that I started facing my fear of creating a portrait one feature at a time.

More than just a drawing lesson
I suppose I could have gotten a book on how to draw, but for me I needed more than that. Since I'd taken Tam's free course and knew that I liked her style and I felt that I could really learn from her. I knew that e-courses were going to work for me. Tam explains what she is doing and why she is doing it. She shows you her work, step by step and she even make mistakes and teaches you how to fix them. I like how she embraces serendipitous moments and teaches how to use them as part of the work. The website has a forum for showing your work, getting / giving support and feedback. From what others were sharing I'd say the course really helped many students of all artistic backgrounds gain the skills and confidence they needed to create successful portraits too.

The style Tam teaches is more illustrator like and not life like but that is great for what I want to create. Being able to add an expressive character to my work would give me more options. But first I had to know if I was able to create a portrait. Tam really encourages the new artist to try the techniques she shows for successful results. I had to keep telling myself that I came to this course with the desire to know if I was able to learn to draw a face. I was determined to create at least one successful portrait. Because having this skill is worth something to me, not just validation but it culminates in a rounding out of my artistic abilities. Improving my skills is what I've been working on all year.

Fab Faces
When I decided to take the course I bought a set of drawing pencils and eraser to help encourage me along. I must say I did a fair amount of erasing. The first time I decided to erase a whole face was super scary. But I had the material, the understanding, skill and experience to make that bold move. Starting again was not nearly as daunting. If I had to figure it out on my own with a book those nagging thoughts that say 'give up' when things were looking bad may have overwhelmed me and won. But, with Tam's clear and easy to understand instructions I was able to see it through to the end. Her videos encourage you and help you feel like it's natural to make mistakes and gives you the tools to get back on track. You will learn the skills you need to to create a piece that you can be proud of and want to show off. Which was exactly what I needed because I was tired of avoiding portraits. I discovered that I rather liked portraits more than I expected to and I was more capable than I thought. Here's what I created in this e-course...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Firstly we were to just go for it and create a portrait.
Here's mine... Not too bad. I kind of like the
heart shape of her face and her cheek bones.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is my first attempt at the Three Quarter Portrait.
I can see where I struggled but I choose to  focus on what
I'm happy with and that is the proportions and shading.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is my first attempt at a Profile Portrait.
It wasn't any harder than the other two lessons.
But I ended up copying the face and changing the
style of hair. There is nothing wrong with copying
a lesson. It's part of learning how to do something.
But at some point you have to venture out on your
own and show yourself what you can do. This one
for me was the toughest of the three lessons.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is my first attempt at a Front Facing Portrait.
I chose to give my girl a braid rather than what Tam was
instructing. Part of becoming an artist is taking what 
you learn and applying it to what you create.
I'm super happy with this one, especially the shading.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lastly Tam posted an optional challenge to create
a monochromatic portrait. That is when you use only 
one color for the piece. She did allow tints and shades 
of that color along with white and black. I chose to 
do a self portrait in blues. It's not quite me but it is me. 
I'm quite pleased with the result and had fun making it.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I decided that I did like the self portrait in blues so I went
to Vista Print and made some business cards...

~ ~ ~

I'd say that I totally recommend this course to anyone who wants to create a portrait for the first time or to brush up on your already existing portrait skills if you feel you're out of practice. I had an art teacher who once told me to take as many art classes as possible with as many different teachers as possible. You can learn and learn from one teacher yes, but you can learn more if you expand on what you already know by taking in lessons from diversifying your instructors. Getting stuck creating in one way is not going to help you expand your skill set but learning from what others have to offer will help you develop as an artist. I know that at some point I will move on from Tam but for now I feel she is offering me exactly what I need to get me up on my feet and moving towards the artist I will someday become. I have a few more classes with her that I will be covering here on my blog so please stay tuned. I hope you will be inspired to take some of her classes yourself. Here's a link to her website Willowing.

Happy creating,


  1. Success! I really like them. especially the pink hair one.

  2. Nena, thank you for stopping by and for your nice comment.