Tag Archives: self portrait

Three quick sketches and a self-portrait

8 Dec

I drew three 2-minutes self portrait sketches, and decided to work out the third, I’m especially proud that I was able to see the shades of color in my hair and didn’t get lost in the detail (what I used to do). For some reason all this strengthening of the visual memory has helped me.

Me version 11.0

There are weaknesses too. There is still too much “tell” and not enough “show”. This refers to the show, don’t tell principle in fictional storytelling. I still want to draw everything, while it is sometimes better to leave things out, so the observer has to fill those details in for themselves, which makes it much more engaging (because of the viewer participation).

That is all.


Fivefold self portrait

7 Dec

Five self portraits, between one and ten minutes per attempt. It seems to me that some consistency is growing there.

Me 10.0

That is all.

After many 2-minutes sketches of a mirror image…

6 Dec

This is 2-minutes sketch number 48 of today. The sketches became increasingly more detailed, while the time to draw did not change. That can only mean that I’m getting better at it.

Me 9.0

The most productive method seems to be to draw the general outline of the head (hair included), and then draw the features, depending on the position of the ears.

Once I have a consistent look in all sketches, I will decrease the time to draw, to make it even harder.

The exercise forces you to be very exact in your observations, train your visual memory, and make you see yourself in another way than the casual look in a mirror to check if you’re decent enough to be in public.

That is all.

Longer self portrait

6 Dec

To check if there was any progression in my drawing skills, I did another 30 minutes drawing of myself. Though the likeness is moderate, the drawing has a lot more spirit than before (see this drawing to compare).

Me 8.0

Even so, to my artist’s critical eyes the result is not good enough yet to stop those rigorous and mind-numbing 2-minutes sketches. It’s clear to me I still need plenty of practice. It has been demonstrated, however, that I’m on a path that might lead to success. If I keep doing those brief sketches (preferably even faster than I’m doing now), I can only get better at drawing a portrait.

Once I’m confident enough, I want to draw other people, to expand my range. That should be a lot easier, because most people are very similar and the differences are relatively easy to spot and draw. It is just the one face you’ve got to master and keep mastering.

After all, the self portrait is an ancient honored skill among artists. Its subject is readily available and stands for all people.

That is all.

Self portraits in 2-minutes sketches continued

5 Dec

Trying to find ways to improve my drawing skills, I have started some fast sketching of myself in the mirror. These are only 5 of the 20 sketches I did in this batch.

Me 7.0

The first four were done by carefully (within the time limit) tracing the outline, then filling in the features as fast as I could. In the last version I already had found a quicker way to sketch the outline, namely by not looking at the paper (blind drawing).

The trick of blind drawing seems to be that your keep your focus on both your subject and the imaginary position of the pencil on the paper.

That is all.

More self portraits in 2-minutes sketches

4 Dec

So I bought 4 brand new HB pencils and drew batches of 4 self portrait sketches in 2 minutes each, each with its own pencil. These are the 41th through 44th sketch in today’s series of self portrait sketches.

Me 6.0

Until now I needed around 30 minutes for a self portrait sketch. Someone suggested that 30 minutes should be more than enough for a full drawing. So I should bring back that time of 30 minutes for a sketch to around 10 s, and effectively draw 180 times faster.

Even speeding up from 30 to 2 minutes (15 times faster) didn’t work. It was much better than yesterday, but I couldn’t get in more than the outline of the head, plus some of the features.

It was a very painful experience, which I hated with a passion. Nevertheless, there is a real improvement, both in line quality and in how I see in 3D perspective.

Because this is such an important skill to have (to see things as 3D objects without thinking about it), I should keep practicing for a few days on my own portrait. I’m not sure if I’ll get a 180 times speed increase in drawing speed, but it should get somewhat better than it is now.

That is all.

Self portrait in 2-minute sketches

4 Dec

Someone suggested to make 10 s sketches, but to begin with 2 minutes sketches first and work my way down to 10 s.

So here are my first four 2 minutes sketches of drawing my self portrait.

Me 5.0

I’m not a fast draftsman, so there was no time to think or judge distances, or anything. Just getting something on paper was a challenge in itself.

The exercise was painfully outside my comfort zone. I would normally take 5 or 10 minutes for these kinds of sketches.

That is all.