More Than A Portrait Of A Face
Being an artist requires a certain amount of self-awareness and the ability to be self-expressive. In this assignment, we will create drawings that emphasize value more than line, and will explore the core aspects of our own personalities. These large-scale drawings have become a rite of passage to the students of DRHSART, and I have no doubt that you will find this project as rewarding as it is challenging.
You will begin by taking a dramatically-lit black and white photograph. Take some time to brainstorm before shooting your photos. Who are you and what defines your character? How will you be able to portray that in a drawing? This assignment is not easy, and if done properly it will cause you to really think introspectively.
Large sheets of hand-made rag paper will be given to each student in the class. Because this paper is so expensive, I cannot give you more than one sheet. This means, the pressure is on to not make careless mistakes, and you are expected to care for your paper as if it were your own child. Before you begin, you will most likely want to use a grid to ensure the accuracy of the drawing. Should you choose to use a grid, it will be up to you to figure out the ratios of your photo and paper to ensure a proper translation. The grid has been used for centuries, and it is an excellent way to ensure accuracy of proportion. Anytime you are creating a self portrait, having a good likeness is essential. Be careful as you create your grid, as you do not want to leave evidence of it in the finished stage of the drawing.
Begin with the intermediate tones (medium gray) using the side of your jumbo vine charcoal and a Kleenex . For this project, you will build the drawing the same way you did with the drapery -- begin loosely with the middle tones and gradually bring in more lights and darks. Work the entire page so that all parts are developed simultaneously like a Polaroid.
Feel free to use text in your drawing, either handwritten or stenciled, to elucidate the autobiographical "nature" of the study. The aim here is to explore notions of composition and light while investigating questions of content and self. Remember that you do not need to have answers, but must begin honestly questioning with this language of drawing.
This project builds on everything you have learned this semester. The drapery was necessary to learn how to compose and light the entire page. The old master assignment was largely a study in line quality, the figure drawing unit in measuring angles and breaking in planes.
You will need to observe yourself with the same sensitivity and objectivity as you did when you created your blind contour drawings of your hands. Even the "hands and feet" was an exercise in how to place and overlay images. All of these will guide you in this assignment if you pay attention.
View Some Examples