Signature Self Portrait

For this project, I created a self-portrait. However, the twist was that it had to be created using only my signature and all of the values of black to white. My self-portrait is of my self, and in order to get the picture and proportion right I first took a picture and then gridded it, then had to create a grid on a much larger piece of paper and then transfer the image onto that paper. The grid is always super helpful when drawing, especially when trying to draw realistically, because it helps me understand where my features actually need to be and not where I think they should go. For this project I only used graphite pencils and then a yellow colored pencil for the background. Creating this piece was interesting because it was pretty challenging. If I though regular self-portraits were hard before... this was taking it to the next level. But also at the same time, it was really fun and intriguing because I could play around with how I wrote my name—how big it was, and if I wanted to put it in all uppercase, or lowercase, or just my initials, or my actual signature.

In my project, for composition rules and techniques, there is color, value, form, and texture. The value is my actual face and how I used the pencils to create a wide range of value, from the light of my teeth and skin to the darkness of my hair. The color is the yellow for the background, that I put there because I didn't want to make another gray background when there was so much gray and black and white already. At the beginning of my project, I was very hesitant to do the face and such, which is why I did the shoulders, hair, ears, and everything else that wasn't a facial feature first. I was scared to mess up that part, but then when I started it I found out it was a lot easier to do, because it was a lot less choppy value like the value of my bangs and braids, and the shadow of my neck. I revised the nose a couple of times, because at first I couldn't get the shadow right. Then afterwards my mom said I did a really good job, but the only thing that didn't look like one of my facial features was the nose. She noted that it was too long, so I went back and attempted to fix that, which I'm glad of because I think it made the portrait look more like me.

I really like doing self-portraits and just realistically drawing people in general, because it's super fun, even though it's almost like a high-stakes thing. Either it looks like the person, or it doesn't really. Portraits are also really challenging, but it's so rewarding in the end to be able to look at it and be like, "Hey! That looks like me!", even if it isn't perfect. I still don't really like the nose, but I think that brings up a good point in the way people view themselves. Everyone has their insecurities, and the insecurity of this self-portrait is the nose! I chose to smile in the picture, because I like smiling, and after having braces for almost two years, I try to show off my new teeth sometimes! I may not like how I drew my nose, but those are some straight teeth! I also chose to use a yellow background because... yellow is my favorite color! Nothing special behind that, I just really like yellow, and I also didn't want to go with a plain black-and-white background, as previously mentioned. And I didn't want to tackle some fancy pattern or anything after spending so much time creating a big picture of myself using just my signature.