I started this exercise with some rapid tonal portrait sketches in my A3 sketchbook. I used faces which I had seen in photographs in 'National Geographic'. My aim in these rapid sketches was to use fairly simple means to capture the expressions of the subjects. It is amazing how the positioning of a small mark can make all the difference to the depiction of an expression.
I am really happy with the second page (below) showing the two women as I have managed to be really quite selective in the number of marks I've used and still captured th egaze and expression.
I went on to try to do a large scale portrait of Luca who was posing gazing out of the window. I worked on a grey ground which would serve as a mid-tone and used charcoal and white conte. This drawing really isn't very successful at all. I struggled and struggled with this and kept erasing and restating. Luca finally ran out of patience. The resulting drawing has too jutting a chin and the position of the eyes and cheekbones are just not right. This person looks much older than Luca - it isn't a good likeness at all.
I went back to the simpler and more rapid work of using charcoal alone on cartridge paper and sketched Luca from a couple of different angles while he was distracted by the TV. These are better but still not perfect likenesses. I can also see that his arms and shoulders are poorly positioned.
Finally I drew a portrait of Luigi looking straight at me. He was illuminated strongly from the side. I tried to keep it simple and not overwork it. I was much happier with this - it is really quite recognisable as Luigi.