For this exercise, we were asked to make a couple of sketches of our face, using a mirror. I made three sketches, two in pencil and one in charcoal.
I looked in the mirror whilst sketching, which was an interesting challenge. I don’t think I have ever looked at my reflection so intensely or intimately before.
Here are the preliminary sketches:
In this image I focused on using my pencil on its edge to represent shadows. There are few hard edges and the whole image looks very soft.
This image was not so successful, as the mouth looks strange. Again, I used the edge of the pencil and the effect is quite soft.
I do not really like the above two images, as pencil is not my favourite medium. I find it dull and inspiring, probably because there is no colour, and I am definitely a colour person.
For the next sketch I used charcoal.
I look rather stern on this portrait, probably because I was observing myself, and concentrating very hard. I prefer the effect of the charcoal, but again, I dislike the absence of colour. The lines are more defined, but there is still a softness about the image.
The above images are all A4.
For the final self portrait, I worked in my A3 sketchbook, in biro pen and watercolour wash. I first sketched the features in the biro pen, observing my face very carefully. I enjoy working with biro, it blends nicely with watercolou. I then added layers of washes and some watercolour detail in the eyes. I started with the skin tones, paying careful attention to where the highlights would fall. I painted the shadows, gradually building up the layers. I then added the lips, eyes, hair and clothes.
Here is the final self portrait:
I am pleased with the final portrait. The skin has interesting textures, and it does resemble my face. I love the colour, especially the pink tones. The green shirt contrasts nicely with the pink skin and hair tones.
It has been an interesting exercise, and it is a good way of building up observational skills.