Photorealistic artist Jasmina Susak reveals some of the secrets surrounding the making of her art. Let’s discover the photorealistic drawing and how one can create perfect replica of a photograph.
Table of contents
- Becoming a Photorealistic Artist
- Artistic Process in Photorealistic Drawing
- The Importance of Self-discipline in Photorealism
- Challenges and ‘Mean’ Feedback vs. Constructive Criticism
- Spreading Compassion and Inspiration Through Photorealistic Drawings
- Your Artwork Can Make a Difference in the World
- The Photorealistic Artists’s Advice for Children
Becoming a Photorealistic Artist
With nothing more than a simple graphite pencil and an eraser, Jasmina started down the road to mastering photorealistic drawing. Her desire to capture the essence and likeness of her real-life subjects in her drawings fueled her passion for this craft, and soon she started looking for photographs that she could use as reference in her art.
”When I was a teenager, I started asking family members and friends to be a model for me to draw their portraits. I had only one graphite pencil, an eraser and a desire to see how the drawing would turn out. I was excited to see their likeness in my portraits. Later I started drawing from photos using much more shades of graphite. The only thing I’ve wanted to achieve is to make my drawing look like a reference photo, as much as possible. Then people started convincing me to try with colors. So, I ended up working with colored pencils. I could apply the skill that I acquired with graphite pencils to colored pencils,” Jasmina recalls.
Artistic Process in Photorealistic Drawing
Jasmina suggests that, when starting with photorealistic drawing, one should gain experience in using graphite or charcoal. Mastering the basic skills, such as creating value, is instrumental when transitioning into more complex techniques, like adding colors in drawings.
“Practicing values first is very important, so I always suggest starting with graphite or charcoal, then to start introducing colors. In my case, it just happened that way accidentally. (…) I like colored pencils because I can control them, although they are a very slow medium and difficult to use. I use artist-grade colored pencils. I’ve also chosen for my paintings acrylics over oil paint because acrylics have no smell yet behave the same as oil paint,” says the photorealistic artist.
The meticulous approach of a photorealistic artist
When drawing from a photo, Jasmina’s artistic process starts with a proportional sketch. She then focuses on small areas one at a time. This meticulous approach allows her to accurately recreate the photo and achieve a finished piece of art that is as realistic as possible. When painting landscapes, Jasmina has more creative freedom and takes an alternate route by beginning with the background.
“I usually draw from photos, starting with a proportional sketch. I focus on a small area at a time and try to make it look like a photo as much as possible. Only when I’m satisfied with that area, I move to the next one. When I paint landscapes, I start with the background because other things can easily be created over the painted area. But this is not the case with colored pencils. That’s why I have to use reference photos when drawing with colored pencils. (…) On the other hand, when I paint landscapes, I can relax because I have much more freedom since I don’t use reference photos. So, both are important for my growth and enjoyment,” Jasmina explains.
The Importance of Self-discipline in Photorealism
Jasmina also speaks about the importance of dedication and perseverance in developing one’s skills. For her, drawing daily is not only a passion but also a form of discipline that helps her achieve the desired results in art.
“I like to spend 1 – 2 hours daily on drawing, usually in the morning or in the evening, depending on the seasons. For example, I draw in the long winter evenings, but I like to spend summer evenings outdoors in my garden, so then I draw in the morning. I try to draw every day because when I make pauses and delays, it becomes difficult to get back to drawing. So, self-discipline is very important,” she shares.
The photorealistic artist is adding that her style in drawing hasn’t changed, but only improved “through many years and experience.”
Jasmina affirms that for her, an empty canvas or blank sheet of paper serves as a source of inspiration. She goes on to say that when she engages in drawing or painting, there is always some level of wonder regarding how the finished piece will ultimately appear.
“For me, a blank sheet of paper or a blank canvas is always inspirational. When I start drawing or painting, of course, I never know how it will look when complete, particularly when I paint landscapes from imagination. This motivates me a lot,” the photorealistic artist confesses.
Challenges and ‘Mean’ Feedback vs. Constructive Criticism
Self-taught artist Jasmina’s journey wasn’t without its challenges. There were also times when she received unfavorable feedback. Nonetheless, she persevered and gained experience along the way. She is now advising budding artists to never give up and learn to distinguish between helpful criticism and hurtful comments that may simply aim to bring them down.
”It’s been a good experience to learn everything on my own through trial and error. The only ‘negativity’ that I’ve received so far, is that my style of drawing ‘is just copying the picture, not creative’. This might be discouraging for young people and children, but as long as we enjoy the process, we should do what we like to do and just accept anyone’s opinion with understanding. (…) Sometimes negative feedback can be even helpful. But you have to learn to spot the difference between ‘mean’ feedback and constructive criticism that is beneficial for you,” Jasmina advises.
Drawing from photos may seem like a simple task, but it can be quite challenging because “everyone can see the mistakes”, which adds a layer of pressure. “If you have achieved a slight likeness in your drawing, you should be proud of yourself and keep working hard,” she says.
Spreading Compassion and Inspiration Through Photorealistic Drawings
Jasmina believes that every drawing can influence people’s lives positively, as well as spread compassion and inspiration. When she draws endangered animals, she hopes that people will take action against their extinction. But Jasmina’s influence doesn’t stop here. She’s also uplifted people’s moods or inspired them to watch superhero movies through her drawings. “You’ll be more inspired if you can spread some messages through your artwork,” says the photorealistic artist.
”Oftentimes people comment on my drawings and drawing videos like: ‘it just made my day’, ‘it made me happy’, ‘never stop drawing’ and similar. These comments are so encouraging! When I draw animals, I want people to love animals more and to take care of them. If you draw endangered animals, some people may fall in love with them and decide to do something against their extinction. Many people have told me that they started watching superhero movies after they have seen some of my drawings of superheroes. With every drawing, we influence people’s lives and decisions,” Jasmina shares.
For Jasmina, drawing is an integral part of who she is. Whether it be sketching out a simple shape or spending hours composing a detailed portrait, the act of drawing demands and promotes focus on the present moment. This contributes to both physical and mental well-being.
“Art is become a part of my identity so I couldn’t imagine not drawing anymore. Also, I think drawing is very healthy for the body and particularly the mind. All the problems and bad things disappear when we focus and work on our drawings. I have received messages from older people who started drawing and it’s given a new meaning to their lives. Drawing made them happy. Learning any skill is always a great idea!” the photorealistic artist affirms.
Your Artwork Can Make a Difference in the World
Jasmina is also sharing her knowledge of photorealistic drawing and painting through her detailed, real-time narrated videos. With patience and skill, she guides her audience every step of the way.
“I narrate my real-time videos while I draw. I tell which pencil I use, what I do, and what I want to achieve. These tutorials can be found only on websites with paid memberships. (…) I share my new drawings on social media only. I always have a to-draw folder on my laptop full of reference photos that I’d like to draw. I’d like to combine colored pencils and acrylics and create bigger drawings for exhibitions. So far, I have drawn only on A4 and A3 paper formats,” she shares.
The Photorealistic Artists’s Advice for Children
Jasmina holds firm in the belief that practice is the best way to learn and improve your craft as an artist, and “if no one teaches you, you’ll be able to find your own style”. She counsels aspiring artists to never lose faith in their artistic pursuits because, with persistence and determination, they may very well see the rewards of their hard work.
“It is hard to find a unique style these days when everything has already been found. However, your artwork can make a difference in the world. Fortunately, we have the Internet and anyone in the world can see what you have created. This wasn’t the case a few decades ago. So, keep working hard, you never know what’s around the corner,” the photorealistic artist says.
If you feel inspired by the photorealism of Jasmina Susak’s art, I invite you to visit her website, Facebook page, and Instagram account. And if you want to see more of her videos, check out her Youtube channel.
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