Now here’s a surprise.
I haven’t done a self portrait for over two months now, for some reason I justfancied doing one today. I’ve let myself off my ‘line only’ diet now, so this is the first self portraitfor a while to have any tone in it.
This drawing was worked up in the same way as the more recent line only ones, just putting in lines,only drawing what I can see and trying to get the shapes and proportions right. After about two hours or so,I had it about as far through as thelast one I drew in May.
Once that was done, I took a deep breath and started adding tone. The first thing I did was to fill inthe general tone block covering the left side (as you look at the drawing) of my face, neck and chest.I did this evenlyby drawing in horizontal hatching lines, then blending it with a stomp, (estompe, stump, whatever you wantto call it.) Although it looked for a moment like thedrawing was going to fall apart then, because I lost a lot of the detail I’d drawn in, as soon as I startedrestating the details it started to live again.
I’ve deliberately left the shadow side very vague, hardly drawn into it at all. Where I concentrated most ondetail and getting the lines right is round the eye, nose and mouth where it comes into the light on the right sideof the drawing. The drawinggets a bit more sharper here and the tone changes are more strongly stated. This is something I’ve learned from mystill life paintings, keeping shadows vague and general and putting in more work where the light hits the form.It seems to be sympathetic to the way we see.
I’ve been doing very little drawing lately, apart from the cafe sketches, but quite a bit of painting. Itappears to me that it doesn’t matter whether I’m drawing or painting, as long as I’m exercising my ability tosee and training my eye to judge shapes then it’s all good. I did no direct measuring at all for this drawing,all the judging of shape and proportion was done by eye. Although I haven’t done any for a while, I stillthink it’s theBargue drawingswhich have taught me more than anything else how to simplify shapes. I must get back to them soon. It seems to bethe same with tone blocks. I would say that this is by far the best likeness I’ve got of myself so far. Ithink concentrating on line for a while and using a Bargue-like approach of working from the general to thespecific has definitely helped. I feel like doing a few more portrait drawings now, but this one took about fivehours, I doubt I’ll find many people prepared to sit for that long.
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