This week we had the opportunity to choose something to draw in detail in the “Fundamentals of Drawing” class I’ve been taking. One of the options was to draw a self-portrait. Some people said “absolutely not.” A few of us tried it.
My husband asked “Anyone we know?”
Other than some quick sketches since beginning this class, I haven’t drawn people. My instructor was impressed that I got the eyes in the right place – she said people usually put them too high. The rest of the proportions were pretty much correct as well. From the quilt workshop with Esterita Austin, I knew not to make the eyeballs perfectly round, but to have the eyelids flatten them a bit on the top and bottom.
(I did have to move the ear up. And my shoulders weren’t broad enough. And my instructor told me that I should narrow the face a bit, and darken the neck. She also had me look again at the tip of my nose and how the nostrils really look when you’re not lifting up your head to get a better, closer look.)
The best part, though, was filling in the background. I didn’t really believe that making the background dark would really make the rest of the portrait “pop” or that my hair wouldn’t just disappear into the background. But it did (and my hair still looked like hair.)
Does it look like me? I don’t know. But it was a great exercise and I know much more now about the proportions of the face, about shading, and about blending. Next week we have real models (okay, teenagers who the instructor knows) and we’ll have the chance to really do some portrait drawing. (Or at least quick sketches before they shift position.) I’m looking forward to the challenge.