Observational Drawings

DECEMBER 5, 2015

The purpose of the first assignment was to create a self-portrait, however we were unable to use a picture as reference, and instead we had to draw ourselves as we saw in the mirror. We also were to use charcoal, although we were allowed to use multimedia, if we had wished.

I started by sketching out the basic outline of my face, hair, and body with pencil. Once I felt that I had gotten the proportions decently right, I went ahead and started to fill in the picture with charcoal. I first filled in my eyes, then once I felt that I had gotten the hang of using charcoal, I moved outwards and began to work on my face. For any section of my skin that I shaded, I first wet over it with black charcoal, and then I covered that with white, smudging it all together until I got the color that I required. Then I worked on my hair, which mostly just consisted of using black charcoal and smudging it until I liked how it looked. My shirt was made mostly just by going over the area repeatedly with charcoal until it was sufficiently dark.

I actually rather was pleased with how this turned out. I made an effort to not outline, since that would have been unrealistic, and instead I just erased around the edges until it was all smoothed out. As for shading, I could likely have done better—there isn't much of a range of value in this, which could have easily have been remedied had I focused more on this aspect of the piece. As for proportion, I think that I did pretty well with this, considering that I had to use a mirror to look at myself as opposed to using a mirror. With this piece I also tried to fill in the white space in the back by drawing a pattern, although it is light and therefore not all that prominent, but I think that it does help to balance things out. Of course, there is not color so I can't really talk about that, however perhaps I could have added color to the background rather than leaving it just a black and white pattern. Overall, I think that this piece turned out nicely.

The second observational piece which we had to do was one of poseable figurines. We had to choose three or more positions for them to be in, and then we had to draw them like we saw them.

I first, obviously, drew the figures in different poses. This was done in pencil, so I could make sure that the proportions etc. were correct. Once that was finished however, I then went over the lines in ink. The outlines now finished, I used several different methods--such as crosshatching and stippling--to show shading in each of the figures. I varied as I thought looked best, using crosshatching for the darker spots and stippling where I wanted it to fade into a lighter shadow, and I did my best to accurately represent how the shadows would look. Finally, I filled in some areas with ink (this was done using a paintbrush, as opposed to a pen) and I then did an abstract pattern in the background, to add a better sense of balance to this piece.

In all honesty, I rather like how this turned out. As I've state before, I'm a fan of the contrast between black & white and color, and so I find the background very pleasing. I also think that the lines in this piece turned out very well and not too shaky, despite me being unused to using ink in this manner, and that the proportions of the figurines were rather well done. The shading was something that I was proud of as well, since I worked pretty hard to make sure that it looked as realistic as possible. I alternated between each of the methods when I thought I should, which was mildly scary since ink is something that is permanent, and if I messed up, I would just have to go with it. Luckily there were no ink splatters on this piece, however I am sure that if there were, I could have found some way to make it work with the piece. All in all, I think that this drawing looks nice, and I am glad that it ended up this way.