Assignment 4: Portrait or Self-Portrait Combining Line and Tone


I have obviously done some research on artists throughout this course but came across Ginny Grayson quite by accident. I was browsing though Pinterest and found some of her work and have been somewhat inspired by her.

Generally speaking I have been looking at different styles of drawing for this and made a few different attempts at practising them.


I was experimenting with trying to represent the features of a face with fewer, looser strokes. I like the end result as I worked fast with longer strokes and it works fairy well.

I then attempted a profile shot, which went a bit wrong:


but I quite like all of the marks going on, I think it is intriguing. All of the different directions of the marks are leading the eye around and, whilst there is a bit too much going on, I think there’s some peace to be found amidst the confusion. It didn’t quite work as well as I had hoped but I think it’s an interesting path to diverge from.

The following is loosely based on a Ginny Grayson piece, which I really liked, perhaps because the man has his eyes closed so it’s hard to get a reading of him, he’s a little mysterious:


The proportions never seem to work that well on my exploratory sketches but I don’t mind as I’m not focusing on the likeness as much as the style and technique. Although this is more of a line drawing it is quite a different work for me, which has been exciting to embark on.

I thought it would be good to draw some people with their eyes open so tried a young pretty model:


I couldn’t quite capture her likeness either and I did erase and smudge some of the details and ended up rather liking the result. There is a bit of a theme developing here, the seen and the unseen, the unclear blur with some features emerging, something that appealed to me when researching the self-portraits.

I like the mixture of thick strokes with the more toned areas, even though they definitely need more work. I like where this has been taking me.

I then did some self-portraits, none of which I liked. I focus too much on the details that I don’t like, and I don’t enjoy looking at my own image, it’s too distracting. Nevertheless, here is one of those:


I suppose reflecting on this, it’s perhaps not as bad as I thought although as usual, the proportions aren’t right. What I liked was the scribbly effect working with the lines to add some of the detail. It was an interesting technique.

I had literally had enough of my own face after these so decided to try what I think of as a more interesting face:


I felt more comfortable drawing this and think it would be great in either charcoal or pastel.

The women is still calling to me, I think it is the expression I am trying to capture that really appeals so I have given her another go. I printed off a version of her on paper and drew her on a smaller scale.

Photo 30-03-2018, 11 02 32

It’s almost there but not quite. I could probably get there if I had more time to play around with but I am seriously short now and am desperately trying to make my deadline.

Consequently I tried a really quick sketch of an old fisherman. He also appeals to me, his wavy beard, his wrinkly face and his eyes are amazing. Here’s the quick sketch:


It took me a couple of minutes and I like what I have captured in that time. I think I can work on him and get what I am looking for.

Finally I have finished this portrait:


I found his face fascinating with all the lines and curves and craggy features. The contrast between the light and dark seems to fit well with his face too. Overall I am quite happy with this although it took me quite a while to get there.

I had problems with the paper, it was my biggest pad (A2) but it was not suitable for charcoal, being too smooth and not having enough tooth. Consequently it was hard to work into it and get the shadows dark enough. I persevered though, whilst I think the right paper would have helped, this one has been ok.

I did worry that there is too much line and not enough tone, so have tried to use more tone on the clothes. Hopefully it looks ok.


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