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Art, Challenges, Drawing a Painting

Take 2 of 13 – The Son of Man, Magritte


René Magritte

The Son of Man must be one of my favourite paintings by René Magritte. As is The Treachery of Images, well known as the pipe image (or is it?). The famous painting that portrays a pipe with the following painted below it: ceci n’est pas une pipe (translated to: this is not a pipe).

So, I guess it’s true what they say: it gets easier. Not by much, mind you, but at least I’m more in the zone second time around and so I expect the margin of error will decrease from one drawing to the next. I definitely had a lot more fun drawing this one. I was more at ease, more focused, was able to forge this special bond with the pencils and the papers so that my hands were more used to holding them and moved more easily across the paper. I suppose a lot of it had to do with the painting as well.

The lines were more clear in this painting, the shapes, the colours all stood out…it was more straightforward. Doesn’t make it that much easier I suppose, because I am still working with top-notch pieces of art here, but I was definitely more pleased with how this one turned out, and the intimidation I felt at the beginning of all this is gone. I am now only working with what I know I can do, with what I know I can deliver – whatever standard that is, I can’t tell you, because I’m my own worst critic.

Of course that being said, it is always good to improve, and to grow and develop those skills you got, which is why I started doing this in the first place. I mean, I went from drawing cartoons to drawing insanely famous paintings. Talk about a leap.

So below are the pictures of the gradual formation of this drawing with the final product at the end:

The hard part was done - the face!

The hard part’s over – his face!

Next came the body and the wall behind him

Next came the body and the wall behind him

Once the outline of the painting was completed, you begin tracing over all your work

Once the general outline was completed, you begin tracing over all your work and incorporating shading where necessary

Final version: The Son of Man, René Magritte

Final version: The Son of Man, René Magritte by yours truly

Again, it is not an accurate depiction but more of an interpretation. The measurements are quite different, the only tool used was a pencil and I did play around with the shading as I saw fit rather than trying to copy Magritte.

Would love to hear what everyone thinks!


About smshamma

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle, but if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." - Marilyn Monroe


11 thoughts on “Take 2 of 13 – The Son of Man, Magritte

  1. I’ll be sure to leave my own thoughts later today but here is a comment from a friend about this sketch:

    “I have to say the sketch is so good that it looks like a computer program took the original picture and printed it out in a pencil version.. very talented girl. :-) Hope she has a lovely day!” – Sandy Knapton, from United States

    Posted by Ballad | April 8, 2013, 07:10
  2. And another thought from a friend after seeing this and the previous sketch so I’ll leave the comment in both posts:

    “Masha’Allah, I thought the sketch was remarkably good! In fact, in some ways I liked it more than the original as the black and white rendering was more dramatic.” – Meredith Cox, from United States

    Posted by Ballad | April 8, 2013, 07:31
  3. Here’s a brief line my friend added after finishing her comment for your first sketch:

    “I only recognize this image and painting because it was in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair- tell her this is very very cool!” – Tearsa Storms, from United States

    Posted by Ballad | April 8, 2013, 08:52
    • As always, I’m very thankful. Your support and kindness in my meager skills and talents are honestly much appreciated. And your friends from all over the world taking the time to look at the pictures of a complete stranger and giving an honest review of them is quite telling of the kind of company you keep. So good on you. I do apologise I’m not able to reply to each and every one of their comments, but it would become quite redundant. So everything I have to say to all of them is comprised in this one comment. It brings a smile to my face every time I read a comment from any of my readers and critics :)

      Posted by smshamma | April 8, 2013, 19:34
      • You smiling with each comment is just wonderful :) I hope their words are doing you some good, and more importantly that you’re getting praise in person from family, friends, and many others that you meet each day.

        No need to apologize at all and I’ll be sure to convey your smile and gratitude to each of my friends. I just feel that after all the encouragement you gave your artist friend Dona Daher with her wonderful exhibition your curious, beautiful and sketchy expressions deserves just as much support if not more :))

        As A.A. Mline had Winnie the Pooh say, “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” You’ve made two big steps, only 11 more to go!

        Posted by Ballad | April 10, 2013, 13:04
  4. This comment came in after my friend saw your Son of Man sketch:

    “This sketch is really grasping to look at. The artist clearly has vision and talent. I hope they continue to create!” – Pamela Smith, from United States

    Posted by Ballad | April 9, 2013, 07:58
  5. A good friend of mine just sent this in after seeing both sketches and wants to encourage you:

    “These are fantastic images that reflect great sensibility and a sharp creative eye. A refreshing take on some of the biggest masterpieces.” – Yukiko Aki, from Turkey

    Posted by Ballad | April 9, 2013, 17:09
  6. It’s the shading that gets me every time I see this sketch. It feels as if a photograph was taken just a moment ago. Then your shading choices just froze the image from developing into its final form. The intimate framing you’ve done brings me into the image whereas the original painting keeps me distant and objective.

    Looking at the sketch makes me feel as if I were standing behind the cameraman who took the photograph. It’s that fresh and lasting with your pencil’s touch. Your Son of Man is no longer an abstract figure. It’s much more a person I’d like to know.

    I guess that if I were in a murder mystery searching for a clue hidden within the Son of Man then I would much rather have your sketch as a lead instead of decoding the painting. Strangely enough you’ve given it a persona that makes the suited gentleman a curious witness to everything.

    This should be the poster for a Whodunit Dinner Theater where a comical murder mystery is performed with audience interaction :) Oh, and yes at the bottom of your sketch should be a line ‘this is not a Sketch’ :))

    Posted by Ballad | April 10, 2013, 12:47
  7. This is the second of three comments from my friend:

    “I have to say I’m not an expert in Art. I love it, that’s true, but I am not sure I am the most suitable person to critique someone else’s work. I will do my best. I think the drawings are good.

    With regards to the Margitte one, well, I will be honest. I am not sure what I can tell about it! It is well done, maybe needs some more work on keeping proportions, and color textures (even with pencil, I know that is difficult).” – Alicia Gonzalez, from UAE

    Posted by Ballad | April 14, 2013, 09:09
  8. These thoughts just in from a friend in Amman:

    “I think the artist has a lot of talent and I like the lines and depth of all the images especially the Rene Margitte one, the mystery in the man’s eyes was well done. I’m not an artist as such so can’t critique very well but I hope this helps a bit. The tree in Starry Night though isn’t well captured and so it distracts from the marvelous sky she has there.” – Dalia Al Kury, from Jordan

    Posted by Ballad | April 14, 2013, 19:29
  9. Here are petite impressions from a person who I met on a flight to Los Angeles over a year ago and have been in touch with off and on:

    “Somehow looking at the sketch just made me realize that it’s an interesting concept and approach of what the man has on his mind for the day…. All day :) … the artist really brought that quality out which wasn’t so front and center in the original painting.” – Laura, from United States

    Posted by Ballad | April 17, 2013, 21:14

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