Exercise: Drawing your face
Draw the shape of your neck repeatedly in your sketchbook. Keep altering your drawing if it does not seem right.
This exercise seems peculiar to me – I hope I understood it correctly.
Exercise: A self portrait
The drawing above has a lot of lines which you cannot see very well at this scale, but if you click the images they get enlarged.
For this drawing I used a deep pink and a pastel pink pencil crayon. I used line to build up the shape of the head, neck, shoulders, face and hair, then I added tones to give the impression of form.
A3 blue ink drawing using ink and brush – I used a broad brush in response to feedback from my tutor.
I have made four self portrait drawings (A3 in size) using blue ink. I wanted to thoroughly explore the media. After making four drawings I realise I have only just touched the surface of the potential of inks, but it is a good start, I think.
I am including photos of each page twice – one cropped and one not cropped. This is because it is important to show the whole drawing entirely, but also because the pages got very curled by the water and ink, so it is a little distracting to see the space around the distorted page.
These drawings were a good opportunity to explore the effects of water and inks. It demonstrates and the possibilities of media which is unpredictable as well as being fairly permanent and immediate. You are forced to make quick decisions which make marks which cannot be undone or rubbed out. They make dramatic images.
After reading about Degas’ work I came across his painting “Self Portrait in a soft hat”.
This opened up the idea to me that a self portrait could be varied depending on things like wardrobe, which had not occurred to me before. So I decided to explore making a series of self portrait drawings around this idea. (I suppose that other things you could emphasise in a self portrait would be props, background or colours for example.)
In “Self portrait wearing a coloured headscarf” I have drawn in details of the room behind me. I think this gives the drawing more depth and adds colour and context, which is positive.
Making these drawings has been a good experience in developing media techniques as well as enlightening as to how much possibility for drawing there is in drawing the same subject (yourself) over and over again. I feel I have barely touched the surface.
Self portrait in a hand knitted beret.
Exercise: A portrait from memory
Click here to view my research point for investigating artist self portraits.
Which drawing materials produced the best results? Why?
Oil pastels, because they can make colour and tone and line very easily. They are adaptable and you can layer them. I liked using inks but I think the inks did not work so well as the pastels in this context. Inks have good linear qualities.
Does your self portrait look like you? Show it to a couple of friends or family members and note down their comments.
My family think that my “Self portrait in a purple hat” looks most like me.
They also said that my head is a little bit too small in some of my drawings.
Did you find it easy to convert your sketches into a portrait? Were your preliminary drawings adequate?
I found that it was tricky drawing from memory, my preliminary drawings were not adequate at first, so I went back and did some more. It was difficult to draw the shape of a face the way I remember it, and so this affected the appearance of the person’s face. I will practise this task further.