Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Overlapping with a Blown Mind


3/6/24 colored pencil

3/6/24 technical pen and graphite

Last week’s class with Gal Cohen certainly was an eye-opener for me! The topic was using overlapping images to create a more dynamic drawing and composition. Before giving us each exercise, Gal showed us numerous examples of artists’ works using this technique, all of which focused on the human portrait. Then she gave us reference photos of faces to create our own drawings by overlapping.

The concept is not new, and many examples were fairly simple in execution – yet remarkably complex and sophisticated in result. What struck me was that all of the examples were firmly planted in realism, and some were highly descriptive – not at all what I would call “loose” and certainly not abstract. It should have been a “duh” moment, but it felt more like a light bulb moment: I don’t have to seek out a deliberately loose or outside-the-lines style to be more expressive; I can use my own natural style (which tends toward being more descriptive).

3/6/24 graphite. This exercise ended up a bit muddled. The scribbly stuff at lower right was the top of a man's head, and his face was looking down into a mirror. The reflected image was squeezed in upside-down just above. I like the juxatoposition of all the images, but using the same style in all of them mushed them together more than I wanted. 

Mind blown, I moved on to each exercise feeling both liberated and inspired. Shown above are my results. Shown below are some of the inspiring examples from other artists that Gal showed us.

I think this class was exactly what I was looking for!

Artist's name not given (This was a favorite example... a highly rendered
drawing overlapped with a whisper of a loose sketch of the same subject.)

Dryden Goodwin

Artist's name not given


  1. You know how inspired I felt after you posted this on instagram. I have more ideas seeing this elaboration. The lost edges on that first example work so well with the overlap. And I'm glad you explained the hairy mass. My first guess was a dog, but that didn't fit. I entirely missed the tiny reflection, perhaps because the phone image was too small. Now, the composition seems more ethereal with mention of the mirror. Once again, I wish I was taking in this instruction. Thank you for the summary. Anne

    1. I loved the drawing you made with this idea! If you Google Dryden Goodwin, you'll see more examples of his work that we were shown... inspiring!

  2. These are really interesting. You meshed the portraits nicely.


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