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:
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.
I hope you keep these up because the improvement is awesome
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Here's tonight's attempt, I tried to be (a bit) looser.
For kicks here's a similar pose I drew last summer:
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.
Okay, here's tonight's drawing, Day 7.
Holy crap I sound like a commercial. Eeps.
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.
Anyway... Day 9
Keep at it.
Anyway here's... Day 9!
Maybe a different medium?
Anyway here's DAY 10. Working on little things like squeezing a bit more architecture out of the ear.
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.
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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.
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!
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Anyway here's Day 13! I am pretty happy with the structure of this one. And I drew my neck shorter too!
The Scoundrel & The Bastard
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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.
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:
I like that you're busting out the darker values in the most recent sketches.
The Mad Writers Union
Here's tonight's drawing, Day 17.
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...