Gerry Bryceland and the climb of a painter? When you draw from a photo, you have the benefit of a model that will remain in the same position. You also benefit from having a model that has a fixed light source. If you are going to try to draw a self-portrait that is as close to a perfect likeness as possible, then using a photo is the best approach for you. Another benefit of drawing from a photo is that you can use the grid method, or you can use a projector or lightbox to help you establish a rough outline for your self-portrait. Many artists will argue with you for hours on end about how drawing from life is superior to drawing from a photo. After all, if you already have a photo of someone, why should you try to recreate that by drawing it? That logic is a bit skewed since many artists that are drawing portraits or self-portraits aren’t interested in copying a photograph. They are trying to create an original piece of artwork that is based on a photo.
Before starting, here’s a personal tip: Place a mirror in front of you and look closely at your own facial features as you draw your portrait. Why, you ask? Your face is the most familiar face you know, you see it every day of your life and have unknowingly practically memorized all the vital details, so much so that you more or less know if you’re getting the proportions right or not. Now, you’re ready to start! The important thing to keep in mind in this first step is to have a good sense of the space on your paper where you plan on drawing your face, so that you can plot out the optimum placement of your subject that will make for a good composition. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending so much time perfecting your drawing, and then belatedly realizing that you ran out of space.
Gerry Bryceland‘s tips on portret painting: The White of the Eye: a dark grey glaze is mixed from scarlet red, yellow medium azo and phthalocyanine blue and lightened with opaque titanium white. This is then applied in graduated layers to render the dark tones of the white of the eye. Note how the upper eyelid casts a strong shadow across the eye while the lower eyelid registers a weaker one. These shadows create the illusion that eyeball is resting comfortably in its socket. The Iris: glazes of burnt sienna and titanium white are combined to suggest the refracted light of the brown iris. A little Prussian blue is added to darken the burnt sienna around the outer edge of the iris.
Self-Portrait Drawing Tips: Don’t obsess over creating a perfect likeness of yourself. As an artist, you should be working to express yourself, and that expression includes drawing what you feel as much as what you see. If you want a perfect copy of your face, you can take a picture for that. If you want an intriguing and thought-provoking self-portrait, then worry more about the mood of the piece rather than trying to create a photo-realistic drawing. Color can be your friend. Whoever said that a self-portrait has to be black and white? You could draw your self-portrait in graphite or charcoal, or you could be more adventurous and try colored pencils, pastels, or oil pastels. Or, you could really step your game up and try painting a self-portrait with watercolors, gouache, acrylics, or oils.
About Gerry Bryceland: I’m Gerard Bryceland an artist based in Maidstone Kent and regularly get commissioned to do work doing paintings and portraits of people and their families. I’ve always been an artist from my childhood, I loved drawing my friends and family initially just to mess around with my friends and had a lot of fun drawing them. But as i got older it really just became a business as my friends and their families would want me to do family portraits and that type of thing. With word of mouth word gets out and before you know it you know it I’m 35 and still doing the same thing.