For the first pose I decided to do it with me looking down at the mirror, wearing glasses. Wearing glasses is kind of important for me so I wanted to try to include them, I do need them for small details, they were problematic though, in the wearing of them and trying to look at myself in the mirror and also in trying to reproduce them. I used a B pencil for this exercise.
It wasn’t the most successful drawing but I was expecting that. My major problem was that the mirror was too small to see the whole face so I ended up moving the mirror around to see the entire face, which wasn’t ideal but did allow me to look at smaller areas at a time and the relationship to other features.
I tried to look at the mirror and draw without looking at the paper too much. The features began to emerge but I have misjudged the length of my face. I had problems finding the edges of the face too, especially the chin.
For the second drawing I used a soft graphite stick, it’s kind of thick so you can’t focus on detail too much which I thought would be good for this exercise. My main focus this time was to get an impression of the face, again I had the same problem with the mirror being too small. I removed the glasses though and looked up into the mirror which kind of allowed me to see some more of my face but wasn’t the best option either.
Again using the mirror was problematic but I struggled through. Clearly there is a problem with the eyes, the size seems unbalanced and the alignment isn’t right, but I think I managed to get the overall gist. I used a soft graphite stick for this which is easier to smudge.
I came back to this a few days later as it seems to be eluding me somewhat. I went back to charcoal but used newsprint to draw on which was a mistake as you can’t really go over it.
Maybe a slight improvement with the third drawing, it looks like a face but the eyes aren’t working for me, although they seem better situated this time. I went over them several times which doesn’t work well on the newsprint. My face was at an angle so the mouth looks a bit lopsided too.
One thing I should try to do is to just slow down, only making light marks before I commit, I tend to be too fast to commit and I make a lot of errors this way but often I am feeling my way into it so it is a hard habit to break.
Some of the shadows are too heavy handed, I need to look closer at them and determine the different shades, which is darkest etc. Some of the proportions are slightly off, my nose and eyes aren’t quite that big and the chin should be longer but it’s not too far off.
The last drawing worked better because I used my phone camera and worked from a photograph. I preferred using the charcoal as it’s so movable and therefore very workable but the newsprint wasn’t great to make changes to; you can’t erase or draw over existing lines well.
Whenever I watch Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year, I see the artists using a gridding system which I can see would be useful, especially in relating the features to one another. Overall I am fairly happy with the results of this exercise, whilst not a great likeness in my opinion, it does give an impression of me and my mood.