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50 Self Portraits in 50 Days Part II

LampLamp Registered User regular
edited August 2012 in Artist's Corner
Hey guys,

I did this project last summer, and after a year of working hard at life drawing classes on the weekends I decided to give it another go. I did put up a thread for this last year and got some decent feedback. I was a little hesitant to make a thread this time but maintaining a thread does make feel a bit more accountable so I decided to go for it. I'd be thrilled to see any thoughts, critiques or resources thrown my way.

So far I'm struggling with the process of glancing back and forth at my own reflection (as opposed to a model who isn't moving) but I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable with it.

Anyway here's my first three drawings:

Day 1
tumblr_m85n25E7p71qjxikzo1_r4_500.jpg

Day 2
tumblr_m87q4v0Q9h1qjxikzo1_r2_500.jpg

Day 3
tumblr_m8auttKHIW1qjxikzo1_r3_500.jpg



For comparison I thought I would post my first three drawings from last year. I don't know if I've made the amount of progress as I should have in a year, but I find these pretty embarrassing, which I think is a good sign.

tumblr_lkcj8srVBB1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

tumblr_lkjnyuwDFr1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

tumblr_lkra7zefUL1qjxikzo1_500.jpg


Lamp on
mariobrosb4mariohos
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Posts

  • KochikensKochikens Registered User regular
    I've been watching you on tumblr and when I saw your most recent tumble I went back to check your original posts and was like damn


    I hope you keep these up because the improvement is awesome

  • SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    It looks like right now your issue is likeness, and drawing what you see rather than what you 'know to be there'. The first two drawings look like the same guy, the third does not.

    And I don't mean this as an insult, but I find the older ones to be more interesting and have more detail. The new ones may looks more like you, which may be why you think they are better though.

    Anyways, studies are good, and you should feel good.

    Sublimus on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Any way we could get a picture of you?

    Where are you taking classes? Watts?

    The new drawing have a much more confident structure to them, the forms are measured and the volume is evident. I do like the energy the old ones had in the mark making, but I think that will come back as you learn enough to transfer your new skills into a loose and relaxed work mode. Its really cool to see the improvement and I'm glad you decided to make a thread so we can watch!

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Thanks for the comments!

    Sure, here's a photo of me. Sorry if my drawings look nothing like this -- I make no claims of resemblance, but I'm trying! :) Also my hair is a bit shorter and sort of pushed up and to the side in this photo but anyway.

    ta3Na.jpg

    Yeah, lately I have been trying very hard to learn about about the structure and anatomy of the head. Previously I was just sort of winging it with a "draw what I see" approach. In any case I'm taking a lot of time to try to be consistent with proportions and placement. Otherwise I get seriously skewed features. There's something about glancing back and forth from the mirror that really throws off my sense of placement and perspective. Also, any time I'm actively trying to learn and apply new knowledge I tend to get a bit nervous and stiff at the drawing table. In any case I can see that my drawings are a bit sterile at the moment, now that I look at them. I'll work on that. Thanks for the feedback.

    Iruka, I'm not taking any real classes, just doing drop-in life drawing sessions in my city twice a week. It's not the best way to learn because I'm sort of toiling away without a ton of guidance or feedback. I have been a bit more active here and elsewhere in the past, but lately I should probably get more active in some online communities.

    Lamp on
  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    You should try placing your mirror as close to your paper as you can, like just off to the side. That way you'll only have to move your eyes, rather than your entire head.

    Whenever I had to do a self-portrait exercise in school, this would usually be my setup. My drawing board is vertical, my mirror attached to the drawing board and angled with a horrible construction of duct tape and cardboard.
    paper.jpg

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Hey Chico, thanks for the advice. I didn't use your setup but I did move my mirror closer and found it helped a lot with the head movement. Seems obvious now, I guess I'm dumb.

    Here's tonight's attempt, I tried to be (a bit) looser.

    tumblr_m8ddvhqw3Q1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Squeezed in today's drawing during lunch...

    tumblr_m8eb0mQgLP1qjxikzo1_r6_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Day 6

    tumblr_m8gxnodpaQ1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

    For kicks here's a similar pose I drew last summer:
    tumblr_lldjl0KDq41qjxikzo1_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • SeraphSwordSeraphSword Registered User regular
    I like what you have going on in these, you can definitely see your control has improved since last year.

    If I had any criticism to make it would be that a lot of these appear to be unfinished. The hair/ears/etc. are just suggested forms. Not that you should spend time rendering every follicle, but a little more time on some couldn't hurt.

    I haven't done any self-portraits in a while, but I found that setting up solid proportions in the beginning, before any rendering, was the crucial step. When you find a pose you like in the mirror, just examine it for a while. How far is the tip of your nose from the edge of your cheek? How does that distance compare to the length of your nose tip-to-bridge? Comparative stuff like that. Then again, I'm no Rembrandt, so take any of my advice with a grain of salt.

    Good luck and keep at it.

    Mastery is the result of ceaseless error, combined with ruthless self-appraisal.
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Thanks for the feedback! These drawings definitely lack polish, you are right. My problem right now is that I am working full time and have some family obligations that are eating away a lot of my free time currently. That leaves me kind of scrambling to squeeze drawing in when I've got 45 minutes right before bed. BUT now that you mention it I think it would be good for me to settle down and try to put together something more finished on the weekend.

    Okay, here's tonight's drawing, Day 7.

    tumblr_m8iyvmjxrZ1qjxikzo1_r4_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I also wanted to talk about why tonight's drawing looks so different from the previous drawings (or at least I think it does anyway...) This morning I was browsing around and stumbled upon a Youtube clip of Glen Orbik teaching a head drawing workshop in the Watts style that I so envy. I was floored by the four minutes of the video that was provided for free because he was addressing some of the concepts about how to think about and organize value that have plagued me for a long time. I dropped some money and bought some of his workshops (they're on Zarolla.com) and WOW. Watching the first demo really cleared up a LOT. The other thing that really amazed me is how loose he draws while still maintaining control. He's slapping stuff down and correcting with his eraser all the time, and it kind of made me realize that I was approaching the charcoal medium seriously wrong. I don't know if tonight's drawing looks like a teensy step in the right direction to you guys or not, but I had a lot more fun drawing it and I feel super excited about this project suddenly.

    Holy crap I sound like a commercial. Eeps.

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Okay, Day 8:

    tumblr_m8lbbdQ4V11qjxikzo1_r4_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    I think you'd do well to pay closer attention to the proportions on your nose. They're a bit too long and this is altering the basic proportions of the rest of your head. This is actually something that I usually struggle with and adjust and fidget with whenever I do faces from life or photos.

    I know it's a bugger and a half to do proper measurements from a reflection because your hand just gets in the way, but try to keep an extra close eye on the distance between the top of your nostril and the bottom of your eye. The distance between these two points is often a lot shorter than you might initially think.

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Good call, thanks! I went ahead and nudged it up a bit in photoshop to try to see the error and it jumped out at me as soon as I did that (and changed the above post with the photoshop edit for anyone wondering). Not sure if it's accurate now but I think it's closer. I'll make sure to pay more attention tonight.

    Lamp on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    You have a long face but you are pushing it even further in your drawings. While this can be a good thing to help get across likeness, I feel like it has gone too far. Structurally these are quite impressive. Looks like something out of Watts.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I'll try to watch for that, thanks! I drew this before I read that comment though so this drawing might have the same problem :D

    Anyway... Day 9

    tumblr_m8lzhm2AP61qjxikzo1_r7_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • SeraphSwordSeraphSword Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Have you tried drawing from a photo like the one you posted before? It's a different kind of challenge, but it could help you get a better sense of the proportions of your face. I also find it's good because you have a reference that doesn't change, so you can find problem areas easier. Just an idea.
    Keep at it.

    SeraphSword on
    Mastery is the result of ceaseless error, combined with ruthless self-appraisal.
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    That's a good idea. I might try that this week. The only problem is that I'm not sure how many photos I have of myself with decent lighting. On the other hand it would solve one of my big lighting problems with self portraits -- it's tough to strike a good balance between interesting light on your face while still positioning the lamp so that I can see what the heck I'm drawing.

    Anyway here's... Day 9!

    tumblr_m8nsjnIn5t1qjxikzo1_r2_500.jpg

  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    go go go go go go
    Maybe a different medium?

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    Maybe! I've been trying to focus hard on structure, placement, edges and basic stuff like that. I know at some point these will start to turn out kind of samey. I think I'll try some facial expressions this week.

  • zollmaniaczollmaniac Registered User regular
    Why not focus on one drawing and spend several days on it to refine it furthe than your 45 minutes can allow? You can post updates daily still, but I'd really like to see a fully finished piece.

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    That's a decent idea, I'll think about it. I do feel like I'm getting a lot out of just cranking out a drawing every day though. I'm hoping I can bring up the level of polish just by getting faster,.

    Anyway here's DAY 10. Working on little things like squeezing a bit more architecture out of the ear.

    tumblr_m8rmyyz4Gh1qjxikzo1_r4_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    Similar pose, opposite side, Day 11!

    tumblr_m8u0ldieq81qjxikzo1_500.jpg

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Looking better... I still see distortion in the length of the face, but the most recent version looks more even. I would suggest checking out your proportions from a bunch of different angles. Getting some silhouette and profile photos might help with depth. I also think it would benefit from a little more time on each sketch, if only to see a wider value scale. (another suggestion for media: try a midrange valued paper and use black and white to build your form)

    I spend a lot of time looking at my portrait work upside down and sideways, an old teacher of mine used to make us do this because she believed it forces you to check symmetry and volume. Even in 3/4 angled self portraits, this can show you problem spots in your pose translation if you catch it before you commit to the pose.

    I like your style a lot, it does have that breezy natural Watts thing going on; it's also great to see the progress as you go, there's a lot of improvement.

  • victravictra Registered User regular
    I'm excited! These look awesome! Keep it up! You are inspiring me to try and do something similar to this!

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    Thanks for the comments tapeslinger. I'm trying to be finicky about placement and distortion. Lately I've been snapping a pic and flipping it around in photoshop about halfway through just to check my perspective and see if anything is off. It's a bit time consuming but it helps me see the mistakes I'm making over and over (I hope). Using white to be able to work in the light side of the form a bit more is an interesting idea. I might stop and pick up some white chalk this weekend to see about that. As far as paper, I'm a bit married to my smooth newsprint at the moment, just because it's so cheap and I'm going trough a huge volume...

    Victra -- Thank you! that seriously brought a huge smile to my face.

    Speaking of distortion, drawing a face head-on is kind of a nightmare for me, I found out last night. Even the tiniest asymmetry sticks out like a sore thumb. I spent a lot of time fussing with that so my values are kind of rushed. There are still some problem spots Isee. So this is Day 12, which was yesterday, but I didn't have time to post last night. I will hopefully (definitely?) have another update tonight before bed.

    tumblr_m8wp1ighFd1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

  • ProspicienceProspicience The Raven King DenvemoloradoRegistered User regular
    I love lamp.

    Really though, these are great man. My one crit would be that it seems that (while you do seem to have a pretty long neck) you are making your neck look longer and longer throughout your progress. So... watch that, I guess is what I'm saying. Continue!

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Funny thing, I was watching a few Glen Orbik videos where he's drawing the heads of pretty girls and he says to always err on the side of longer, slenderer necks. Must've seeped into my subconscious :D

    Anyway here's Day 13! I am pretty happy with the structure of this one. And I drew my neck shorter too!

    tumblr_m8xl4d0SDU1qjxikzo1_r2_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • sharky tsharky t LondonRegistered User regular
    Really cool to see the improvement on these, keep it up dude!

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Thanks so much for the encouragement guys! Full steam ahead!

    Not sure if this one came out OK or not... I can basically wrap my head around the idea of separating out the light from the shadow on my forms... but I kind of panic when I go to work with reflected light inside the shadow side of the form. I'm clueless. Anyway, Day 13.


    tumblr_m8zj37qYnp1qjxikzo1_r2_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    (Double post somehow.)

    Lamp on
  • McJohnstableMcJohnstable Registered User regular
    Nice work, keep going! And try out different media as well. :)

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Thanks! I appreciate all the suggestions to try new media but I think I'm gonna stick with charcoal for now. The real reason I decided to get into portraiture is because I realized that for the past two years I've been so focused on noodling with anatomy and character designs and other shit that's neat, but kind of ignoring my basic drawing fundamentals. Right now I just want to draw with a medium and a subject matter I'm comfortable with, so that I can focus all my efforts on thinking about how to compose my values -- yknow, actual basic drawing stuff.

    I was sorta rushed tonight... but hey it's a new day so here's a new drawing, I guess that's how this works. Day 14:

    tumblr_m91e73qlpX1qjxikzo1_r2_500.jpg


    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    No time to upload in the past few days but I've been drawing in the little time I've had! Day 17 coming tonight I hope!

    Day 15

    tumblr_m95tfsy0iv1qjxikzo1_500.jpg





    Day 16

    tumblr_m95tj4BMOy1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Significant improvement in this thread even in a week's time. I still think things are too long, but adding the shoulders improves visual context. You should try playing with shadow to force you to work with shape-- some of the things you're doing seem to be rote at this point and I think it's possible some of the neck and face elongation is just being expressed because it is part of how you do it, since you've done it so many times.

    I like that you're busting out the darker values in the most recent sketches.

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    Hmmm thanks tapeslinger, I always try to pay attention but I definitely do have to fight the urge to fall into repetition.

    Here's tonight's drawing, Day 17.

    tumblr_m96znk2HbW1qjxikzo1_500.jpg

  • KochikensKochikens Registered User regular
    You're really slipping away from your likeness. They're beautiful pieces but you should try to refocus on does this look like me?

    tapeslinger
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Kochikens -- duly noted! Hopefully tonight's drawing is a step back in the right direction....

    I did miss yesterday, boo hoo. But instead of giving up entirely in a fit of self-loathing, here's Day 18! Maybe I'll make up the missed drawing this weekend...

    tumblr_m9alkveouJ1qjxikzo1_r3_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Certain aspects of yesterday's drawing were really bugging me so I gave the same pose/lighting another shot. I think the overall construction is a bit more solid. I had a pretty brutal work week this past week so I think that hurt the quality of my drawings a bit during the last few days...

    Day 19!

    tumblr_m9c3pjRgqg1qjxikzo1_r6_500.jpg

    Lamp on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Bonus art! Actually I'll go ahead and call this Day 20 to make up for Thursday's missed drawing. This wasn't from reference or the mirror, just from memory, so mayb keep that in mind if anything looks off...


    Va91l.jpg

    Lamp on
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