Self Portrait II


Charcoal, conté
 February 13th, 2011
45.72cm x 60.96cm

I have a hard time shaking these two ideas when I am working on self portraits:

  • everything I draw is me.
  • i am ugly/i am beautiful.

These two ideas are actually very distracting when you’re drawing. When I’m sketching live models (my favourite kind of drawing), I focus on a specific section to try and get the shades, lines, wrinkles, spots and marvelous uniqueness of the model’s body part. I initially will take in their entire form, but I find it’s better to centre in on a smaller fragment and flow from there.

When I am drawing myself, I skip from blemish to blemish, grey hair to wrinkle, curve to bulge. I cannot stay focused because I am thinking too hard when I am looking at myself. Then my mind starts to wander and I realize that any drawing that I have ever done I have compared to my own body or face. It’s not actually that strange since instructors are always telling you to do comparisons so that you have a frame of reference, and so I use my own body as my portable anatomy encyclopia. But when I’m trying to draw myself…what do I use?

Too. Much. Thinking.

In the end after doing a warm up on cardboard, I decided to try and take myself less seriously and draw my frustration. Hair in hand, but now laughing at the process, I was able to get an approximation of my face. When I sat back and considered my method, I decided to not to fight what I was thinking and do a self portrait that was more internal than external. That worked.

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