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 Self Portrait : Exercise – a Self Portrait

8 - Eigth Self Portrait in Conte and Chinese White Pencil

I was looking forward to this exercise, the only other time I had done a self portrait was at the start of this course last year which was basically a 40 minute sketch to christen my sketch book. I did quite well with that and I thought I would do great after learning so much.

Self portrait in my 6 x 9 Sketchbook
Self portrait in my 6 x 9 Sketchbook

I started by drawing with ballpoint in my sketchbook, the first sketch took 25 minutes and really didn’t resemble me at all. The shape of the head was good and I got the hairline just right, even the eyebrows were ok but everything else was well out. I was drawing looking into a mirror on my coffee table so it was difficult to keep the angles every time I lifted my head up from my sketchbook.

1 - First Self Portrait in Ballpoint - with hair
1 – First Self Portrait in Ballpoint – with hair

The second drawing was a bit better, I always seem to start on the left eyebrow and then draw in the shape of my head from the top of my ear to the crown of my head and then draw the rest of the top left-hand corner of my head. Then when I have something to work from I draw in my nose and then over onto the right eyebrow, shadow on the right eye and then mouth and chin, with the folds of skin from my cheeks framing my nose mouth and chin. Although this technique helps me work fast sometimes it doesn’t come together as it should do and I end up looking like someone else. I not only look older in the drawing below but from a distance I look like a posh toff with a monocle in my right .eye

2 - Second Self Portrait Ballpoint and Oil Pastel
2 – Second Self Portrait Ballpoint and Oil Pastel

Again the drawing below didn’t come together as I’d planned and I ended up looking like a completely different person with just my features all out of proportion, namely my chin and area above my upper lip/below my nose.

3 - Third Self Portrait in 4B
3 – Third Self Portrait in 4B

I showed the photos above around, my girlfriend said they don’t look like me while all my students said ‘Mr Mark’ straight away.

From there I had some light brown ingres paper left , about A4 size, so took a photo of me laid on the sofa and made a sketch in soft pastel, I should have taken aphoto of each stage of the drawing as it looked great before I messed up on the eyes and made myself look like an alien with larger-than-life eyes.

4 - Fourth Self Portrait in Soft Pastel
4 – Fourth Self Portrait in Soft Pastel
5 - Fifth Self Portrait in Watercolour Pencil
5 – Fifth Self Portrait in Watercolour Pencil

I decided it was time to draw a proper self portrait in a proper mirror, so I took my Derwent watercolour pencils and watercolour drawing pad into the bedroom and produced the drawing above in just under 2 and a half hours over 2 evenings. The drawing is spot on, it makes me look about ten years older as others have enjoyed pointing out but that’s the electric light in the bedroom. I have tried and tried to get a better photo of the drawing as it looks great but the photos I have took do not show the colour of the hatching to be as vibrant as it is in real life.


6 - Sixth Self Portrait Hard Pastel
6 – Sixth Self Portrait Hard Pastel

The drawing above was started as a hard pastel sketch to show how the left hand side of my face caught the light from a lamp directed at my face and how the most of the right hand side was left in shadow apart from part of my cheek, ear and below my eye lid and it was perfect until I messed up and went overboard on it and then ended up trying to draw my entire face in detail making this self portrait look like like a rubber horror mask from a joke shop at the seaside.

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

The drawing above was the second self portrait in 4B pencil, it took me an hour and a half and is a perfect likeness, one friend said that it is me in another 10 years, unfortunately I do look quite old with my specs on but it can’t be helped.

8 - Eigth Self Portrait in Conte and Chinese White Pencil
8 – Eigth Self Portrait in Conte and Chinese White Pencil

I produced the drawing above in my lunch hour at work. I left a drawing board at work for me to use when I have a bit of freeetime and I had an A4 size sheet of blue ingres paper in my sketchbook so I decided to see what I could posing in the front camera of my tablet. However when I opened my artist wrap up, all I had in there was conte pencils in black and sanguine and a Derwent Chinese White Pencil that had been sharpened to over the half way mark.

I’m long-sighted which is probably why I messed up on the other drawings with my glasses off but this one came together really well. I took it home to touch up and do do so I put t between the pages of my sketchbook, which is quite thick. When I get home the paper seemed to have been compressed inside the book and it was almost impossible to do anything with it, which is probably for the best as I am really happy with this finished piece which I feel looks great.

Project: Self Portrait – Exercise: Portrait from Memory

2 - Portrait of Putin in Charcoal

I was watching I, Putin a Portrait, when I thought I bet the Russian president was one guy I could definitely draw from memory. I have have come across quite a few blonde Russians while I have been here in Thailand and they all seem to have the same features, long sloping noses, prominent cheek bones, chiseled features and wide mouth with thin lips.

I made some quick sketches while I was watching the documentary, I figured playing it through without stopping would give me plenty of practise so most of the small sketches are fleeting moments.

I also made some notes to help me remember the key features of Putin’s face. My long term memory is great but my short term memory is really poor.

1 - Notes and 1st Drawing
1 – Notes and 1st Drawingu

From there I started the portrait from memory starting with the nose and eyes as they were the easiest features to remember. I drew across two pages trying to get the proportions of the head right. When I was satisfied that I had got a likeness with the face I had to decide where is neck started below the chin.

The documentary showed Putin over the last 20+ years and I had produced a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster a drawing made up of images of the Russian president at different ages. I had seen him in a sweater and shirt , camouflaged jacket, shirt and tie and hockey kit.

I decided to put him in a shirt and tie which gave me some idea of how wide his neck would be and how to draw the folds of skin under his chin (turkey neck).

2 - Portrait of Putin in Charcoal
i 2 – Portrait of Putin in Charcoal

From there I did a larger drawing in charcoal on A3 paper, I was hoping to get more of a likeness with this one but it looked less like Putin than the first.

3 - Oil Pastel and Watercolour Wash
3 – Oil Pastel and Watercolour Wash

The next drawing was drawn in oil pastel and again it looked less like the Russian president than the first two, It did however have nice skin tone until I decided to experiment with a watercolour wash. I hadn’t done any washes and I had noticed a lot of other students had been doing washes over other mediums and I had never got round to playing about with them myself so I thought this was a god enough chance as any to see how an ink or watercolour wash looked over another medium.