Depression Era Portraits / by J. Logan Carey

I've been trying to practice more portrait sketching from reference photos. Some of the most interesting and poignant portraits to me have always been the ones taken from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. 

Here are a few portraits and the original reference photos.

I'm still working on a good method of doing these. I think it helps to start very loose and draw with the artist's grip on the pencil to start before getting very detailed. In a lot of ways, portraits can seem to have more life in them WITHOUT a lot of detail. I'm going for the general feeling rather than an exact replica.

It seems like Instagram is really obsessed with photo-realistic art lately, maybe because of the skill involved to do it. I don't know.

I personally find those pieces to be rather lifeless as the artist seems to put nothing of themselves into it, instead relying on a 1 to 1 recreation of the original. I think it's important to interpret what you see and that's what gives the drawing it's uniqueness that only you as the artist could provide.