Carrie Underwood ‘Play On’ Album Cover Drawing

I’ve tried a few times to draw one of Carrie’s pictures from past albums, but never felt that I fully captured the energy of the original picture and threw them away a few hours into it.  Immediately upon seeing the cover of ‘Play On’, I knew I found a picture worth devoting my time and energy towards.

My Carrie Underwood Play On Album Cover drawing

*I drew 90% of this picture as an upside down image to test out an approach to drawing in which your brain has a hard time recognizing what the entire image really is.

Last fall, I read Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind and thought it would be interesting to take a shot at drawing something that was upside down (as Pink had discussed in the Symphony section of his book – Chapter 6).

By turning Carrie’s album cover 180 degrees around, I was not able to really analyze and spatially position items to make the sketch look realistic.  It was quite an experience, but the shading process sucked because I couldn’t interpret the whole picture and play off of the known visual cues sitting in the original image.

I highly suggest everybody try to draw something upside down at some point…you will definitely learn a lot in the process.

Related quotes on drawing from A Whole New Mind:

“On the morning of the first day of drawing class, before we open our sketchbooks or sharpen our pencils, we learn the essence of our craft, distilled to a single sentence that will be repeated for the next five days. ‘Drawing,’ says Brian Bomeisler, “is largely about relationships.'” (p.131)

“Symphony, as I call this aptitude, is the ability to put together the pieces.  It is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.” (p. 130)

“…Bomeisler believes drawing is about seeing. ‘ The naming of things is where you get into trouble,’ he says.” (p. 131)

“Later that first day, Bomeisler shows us a Picasso line drawing and asks us to copy it.  But before we begin, he tells us to turn Picasso’s sketch upside down – so ‘you know nothing about what you’re drawing.’  The goal is to trick the left hemisphere and clear the way for the right.  When the left brain doesn’t know what the right brain is doing, the mind is free to see relationships and to integrate those relationships into a whole.” (p. 133)


*…I however, think my drawing could have been much better had I let my left brain manage the spatial relationships…Her face (mainly mouth and right eye) is disproportionately drawn and the shading is way off as far as I’m concerned…but, oh well, it was a great learning experience.  One key observation I had in all of this is that the actual level of interest, knowledge, or attachment to a subject drastically influences your desired outcome.  When I drew The Diary of Alicia Keys album cover, I was into the process, liked the image, and was a huge fan of her musical talents, so it was easy to focus on the drawing. While I was as attached to drawing Carrie as I was Alicia, the simple fact that Carrie’s image was skewed by being upside down made it more difficult to appreciate the process of bringing the drawing to life…

~ by Adam Maikkula on December 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “Carrie Underwood ‘Play On’ Album Cover Drawing”

  1. you could try using grids. i use them all the time when i need to draw accurately. the smaller grid the more accurate. My Play On cover turned out pretty good 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment. I looked at your Play On cover drawing and it is pretty awesome! Good job. What do you use for your colors? I have not tried venturing away from #2 pencils yet, but would like to start doing color pieces sometime soon.

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