Project: Self Portrait – Research Point

7 - Seventh Self Portrait in 4B

Which drawing materials produced the best results? Why?

I have produced good ad bad drawings with all tools apart from soft pastel but that was down to me being sloppy I think taking proper care with soft pastel would have also got me good results.

Drawing with pencil may have not got me the best results but it is certainly the most precise tool for the job and easily corrected which I think self portrait drawings at this stage (for me anyway) need a lot of correcting in order to get a likeness.

I loved drawing with watercolour pencil as the finished drawing really does stand out but unfortunately because the lines made with this drawing tool were so strong it made me look ten years older. I could have probably kept working on it to get more of a likeness but I didn’t want to ruin the drawing.

Until I made the last drawing the watercolour pencil was my favourite self portrait, even though the conte pencil drawing doesn’t look like me I am, it is very expressive and I am very satisfied with the results.

Does your self portrait look like you? Show it to a couple of friends or family members and note down their comments.

There is an element of me each in each one of the drawings in this project, some drawings look more like me than others. The younger students had the best comments which were mainly ‘mr Mark! Children see differently from adults the fact that all us white folk look the same also helps.

Friends and family mostly said the same thing, that they made me look older and didn’t do me justice, I do agree with them to a point, I’m only 40 and the drawings make me look at least 50 apart from the drawing below, which has the best likeness, even though the rough hatching does add a few years to me.

7 - Seventh Self Portrait in 4B
7 – Seventh Self Portrait in 4B

Did you find it easy to convert your sketches into a portrait?

My sketches weren’t converted into portraits, each portrait was a fresh drawing with my head in a different position but with each drawing I did I do think I improved a lot, the preliminary sketches  in the Drawing Your Face Exercise did get me used to ‘drawing my face’ and head and so it was a lot easier in this ‘A Self Portrait‘ exercise.

Were your preliminary drawings adequate?

I really do need a lot more practise but I do think that my preliminary drawings got me to a stage where I am quite confident to do a self portrait without worrying if it is going to look like me or not. They taught me how to he key features correct and why the shape of the head is so important for a true likeness.

Project Structure – Three Drawings

3 - Lying Down - Conte Stick and Compressed Charcoal

For this exercise I was to make three drawings, 1 seated, 1 Standing up and 1 laid down looking down the body at a slight angle from behind the head.   I was to try and use a different medium for each drawing.

Again, my girlfriend volunteered to be my model for this exercise and for the first drawing, which I decided to do on the Canson pastel paper I had left over from my last research point, an anatomical drawing, she decided she needed some props,  a glass of wine and her trilby.

1 - Sitting, Conte, Charcoal, Conte Pencil
1 – Sitting, Conte, Charcoal, Conte Pencil

I have had no success so far at drawing her profile and this drawing wasn’t any different. I really need to practise drawing profiles. The drawing is on A3 and the thing that consumed the most time was not drawing my girlfriend but the chair she was sat on. I moved around her before starting looking for the best position and even though drawing from the front may have been better for drawing her face, I think that the angle that I chose was the best  or showing all the things we were asked to notice in the brief.

The next drawing was the standing pose and for this I really wish I had had some white charcoal, as my girlfriend in the lamp light against the door looked quite spooky.

2nd Pose 2 - Using Watersoluble Pencils for the first time
2nd Pose 1 – Using Watersoluble Pencils for the first time

I made two attempts in a medium I hadn’t used since I bought them over a year ago, water-soluble pencils. I would have been happy with one but someone decided she looked ugly in the first drawing, the second however, looked a hell of a lot better in every way.

2nd Pose 3 - Water Soluble Pencils Better Proportions
2nd Pose 2- Water Soluble Pencils Better Proportions

For me, the third drawing was the easiest drawing for just about everything. I know I was to try using different tools for each drawing, but I couldn’t think of any other drawing tool that would help me capture the mood as much as pastel on blue paper.

3 - Lying Down - Conte Stick and Compressed Charcoal
3 – Lying Down – Conte Stick and Compressed Charcoal

Just like the first drawing, I spent most of the 1 hour that it took me to draw in the sofa, I was very lucky to get the shadows across the belly, breasts and rib cage right, as they didn’t take much adjusting.