Exercise 1: Facial Features
Considering these features include a lot of detail, I actually rather enjoyed certain areas of this exercise. I thoroughly enjoyed recreating the eyes, for example. My favourite by far is the charcoal study in the bottom left-hand corner. With this, I tried to focus more on the different patches of tone as opposed to concentrating on the line.
I think the charcoal works best for me for a lot of areas, including the nose, ear and hair. I like the results in the conte sticks, however, I found this medium much harder to manipulate.
The black biro pieces have been effective as I think the medium allows me to use line to show depth and definition, giving weight to the sketches purely by bending the lines to suit my purpose. I think this has been very apparent in the ear, mouth and nose sketches. I think the biro also allows me to indicate the individual hairs in the eye brows.
I decided to create the study of the shapes of the face in black biro too as I find this medium the best for finer lines but whilst still being able to be expressive with the line markings. The head looks rather bulbous and unrealistic, but I think the general shapes will really help me when trying to remember them in my studies.
Research Point: Depictions of the Face throughout History
Please click here to view my findings for this piece of research.
Exercise 2: Your Own Head
Initial Studies of Own Features
Before I began making sketches of my face as a final piece for the exercise, I decided to recreate the previous exercise but this time looking at my own features before trying to create a piece as a whole. I decided to create quick studies of my eye, nose and lips as these are the key features which would be seen in my pieces. I also decided to create these studies in charcoal as I trusted myself much better with this media and knew the outcomes would probably be the best result of all media available to me as I could manipulate it at will; rubbing areas out simply or smudging to show slight shadows on the skin.
I was rather pleased with the outcomes of the studies and do think I was able to stay rather light-handed with the end results. I am most pleased with the study of the eye as I think I have managed to capture a rather true likeness and a good balance of contrast in the tonal range of the eyebrow, iris, pupil and then the lighter areas of skin and the nose. I think I may have been slightly too heavy-handed with the bridge of the nose and the tones of the lips, but I am generally pleased with the outcome.
Quick Biro Sketch of Own Head
For this exercise, I tried to barely look at the paper, but to stay focussed on my reflection in the mirror. Whilst I think there is no real resemblance to me, I am not too bothered about that really as I was more focussed on trying to draw what I saw as opposed to a true representation. I think overall I have elongated the face, the nose is too much of an oblong shape and the chin too small in comparison to the other features of the face. There was a bit of foreshortening through the mirror, with the top of my head being closer and the chin slightly further away, but I do not think I have conveyed this accurately enough.
Quick Charcoal Sketch of Own Head
Again, I looked through a mirror but changed the angle slightly so the foreshortening was more pronounced and clearer to see, as well as the medium used. I think this piece was much more successful than the biro and that I have been able to keep all of the features rather accurate this time, however, I think the mouth is slightly too ‘forward-facing’ to be fully accurate. The charcoal was great for creating a lot of hair very quickly and is most definitely my favourite medium for quicker studies.
Longer Charcoal Sketch of Own Head
I then decided to slow things down and do a piece from a photograph of myself, using my grid system and using controlled pressures thoughout to try and achieve different tonal ranges.
I am extremely pleased with this piece and do not think I have overworked the piece at all – for a change! I think I have been rather successful in trying to make the nose believable, since this was the hardest part to do so in the features exercise. Whilst the other two sketches weren’t visually accurate, I think this piece is, although I do think there are some areas I could have improved; the nostrils appear somewhat crooked and the chin line should be more blended as opposed to so defined. I think I have managed to capture my eyes rather well. I think I could also have added a little more shadow to the neck to create depth as I think it looks somewhat flat.
Overall, this has by far been my favourite piece to create and as an end result, to date.
Research Point: Self-Portraits throughout History
Please click here to view my findings for this piece of research.
Exercise 3: Portrait from Memory or the Imagination
For this exercise, I tried to work with four different media; biro, charcoal, conte stick and acrylic markers and to create sketches from my imagination.
I didn’t really enjoy this exercise as much as others as I don’t really enjoy the imagination aspect and much prefer working in a realistic manner and from an actual subject, whether it be physical or via photographs.
Looking at the sketches, whilst I did try to mix it up a little, I think I somehow managed to create four very similar images. I think I was able to get the features in proportion rather well and, whilst they do not look like anyone in particular, I think the separate features do work rather well together, but appear somewhat caricature-like in places.
The features I found the hardest to recreate realistically were the lips and the flesh of the cheeks, as I think is apparent in all of the sketches. The lips appear too bulbous and the flesh not defined enough or evenly stretched.
I think the fourth sketch is by far my favourite and appears the most realistic of all. I enjoyed working with two colours (black and silver) to create the piece and feel they work well to create a sense of depth by just using line. I think I will consider this method for my assignment piece where I am to create an image in line.
I created the biro sketch in the style of Chalhoub, whose work I have recently looked at. I thoroughly enjoyed creating the sketch and liked the fact I was using several different coloured pens to create the depth in the piece, but also how there wasn’t much need for specific emphasis to the features within the piece, however, I did decide to add much more detail than the other artist as it just felt right to me to do so for my own piece.