How To Draw A Self-Portrait
Drawing a self-portrait can be one quite challenging. As someone who has grown more comfortable, and interested, in sketching landscapes over the years, re-entering the world of drawing people has been a challenge. I drew myself a couple of times in high school, but ever since I have been more into drawing landscapes and animals. Last year I drew a portrait of my nephew, and I once again I am working on my technique of drawing people. This time around I decided to draw a self-portrait because I can take pictures and use the mirror as a reference. There are certain basic things I remember from my art classes when it comes to drawing people, such as how the head is oval shaped and the eyes are about half-way down the face. Reading books on basic drawing instruction are useful when you first start drawing self-portraits, or when you decide to draw people for the first time in a decade or so.
Books To Teach You About Self-Portraits
To refresh my memory on drawing the human figure, I read a few drawing books. As always I recommend your library, second-hand bookstores, and eBay all as sources for finding useful drawing books to reference.
Photographing The Phases of A Sketch
I always photograph the phases of the sketch because I like to see how my work evolves from start to finish. Also, I use photographs of my sketch in various phases to design cards and other products I sell online. Thus, photographing your artwork can be very handy, and can give you new ideas about how to alter a sketch next time around.
Reference Photographs For TheSelf-Portrait: Doing Art "Your Own Way"
I took several self-portraits photographs and used a mirror as reference for sketching my self-portrait. Photo editing software was used to turn one of the photographs into a sepia image because I find these type of photos inspiring, and also to help with shading. The other photos were left in color.
One thing I have learned as an artist that has translated over to my photography is to take photographs that inspire you. Many photographers have certain ideas about angels, or what types or shots are best, but sometimes you just have to flout these rules! The photographs that speak to me the most are the ones other people may not appreciate, but I enjoy photographing and drawing what I find to be aesthetically pleasing. Thus, my photography has truly been an inspiration when it comes to my drawing as I use these as a go-to resource. Just like I abhor the idea of writing a vampire themed novel just because a few people got lucky doing this (the novel I am working on is sort of a critique of the modern romance novel), I also detest going along with what everyone thinks is best when it comes to photography and artwork.
Where did I get this self-confidence in my photography and artwork? It started from the age of a child when I first glanced at the amazing landscapes and portraits my dad took while stationed in Thailand. By the age of seven I had my first camera, and even some of the images I took back then have been of use for me today. What I learned from my dad's travel photos in Thailand was that these were not the overly staged photos to be found in a high-end travel magazine, but what I can say is these is these are beautiful, authentic, and document a time period in the early seventies that will never be seen again. Some of my favorite photographers and artists always created what appealed to them, not what "experts" or popularly opinion dictated. So when it come to photography, sketching, or writing, it is good to flout "the rules" for the sake of creativity. My writing, photography, and artwork have always been stronger for it.
Sketching The Portrait
I began the sketch by first outlining the body, neck and head based on several of the reference photographs, and my own artistic license. Once I was satisfied with the layout of the body, I added the hair.
I like to use pictures of my sketches before I color these in for different cards and prints I design for my website, and just as a reference for future use. Thus, photography can be very useful when it comes to documenting and creating your art inspired products for sale.
Coloring In The Self Portrait
Coloring in a pencil drawing with colored pencils is always my favorite step in the process. Over the last year I have moved away from using water colored pencils as I noticed the hues faded when you frame your illustration, but this does not seem to be the case with regular colored pencils.
Coloring in my sketches is very rewarding because I see my illustrations come to life. Also, I like to use a bit of artistic license when it comes to shading in my drawings, such as changing up the colors of the clothing I was wearing the self-portrait photograph.
In this phase of the sketch I used a gold colored pencil to give my top an interesting hue, and used the same color on the necklace I drew on my self-portrait.
When I draw animal portraits I often prefer to color in a simply background so the focus remains on the subject, and I did the same with this self-portrait.
I scanned a picture of my self-portrait to bring out the details of the sketch. My next drawing is another landscape, but I plan on doing more self-portraits and portrait drawings in the future.
The Framed Self-Portrait Drawing
Copyright Notice: All text and photos in this hub are the property of J Hanna and may not be used without permission.
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