Your own head(Project The head)

Look at yourself in a mirror and quickly draw several five-minute studies of your head, neck, and shoulder.

Quickly draw several five-minute studies of your head.

I don’t know why this one somewhere just like one of my grandmas’ features. Then I am moving on to an A3 paper.

Charcoal on A3 paper


After a few minutes break when I finished this self-portrait with charcoal. I am happy with the result it is like me and what I am excepted. The proportions for my nose to give more of a 3D feeling. The mouth is not the perfect but it shows my character on it.

For the second self-portrait, I want to put emotion in my work. I am going to try collage with drawing.

First, I used scissors to cut my figure(photocopy) to several parts. Then put on the carpet to build up again. I was drawing a project(my personal work) before that was broken up but I didn’t get the effect that I want so I am going give it a go on this exercise.

I print it out as a tester, then draw tearing eyes on it.

At last, I stick these pieces on an A3 paper as I want them like glass shards. Then tear off the edges of the paper. 

My final piece

It is my first time done my self-portrait. I honestly to say I didn’t draw the last one in a subtle way. I only was taking the anxiety from my mind to scramble it, but it does show my situation.


Research point – The face

Look at contemporary as well as historic artists who work on the face in different ways.

Renaissance has brought a revolution in the artist area. So during this period there produced many artists who used the sciences to make art more advanced. They used a Realism approach to depict peoples faces. 

Leonardo da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519)

The Mona Lisa is a prestigious portrait masterpiece that most of the people know. The lady Mona Lisa was sitting elegantly with a subtle smile.

This article is 500 years ago, the original paintings were colorful and lively. For protecting it, the surface is coated with too much varnish. After hundreds of years, the light oil has turned dark brown, like the color we see now. As the light and dark tones on the Mona Lisa’s face, the dark shadows are looming, putting a veil on her eyes and lips. Then her smile is mainly embodied in the eye and mouth. Leonardo Da Vinci, who take these parts painted together, there is no clear boundary, so just can have an elusive “mysterious smile”.

Francisco Goya (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828)

Goya is one of the great portraitists of modern times. He is often referred to as both the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns. Goya’s strange and changeable style, from the early baroque style to the later works of similar expressionism, he has always changed his life, although he never established his own establishment, he has a great influence on the realist painting, the romantic painting and the impressionism of the later generations.

This image depicts a young milkmaid with a scarf holding back her hair and a shawl on her shoulders. From this angle, the bottom-to-top perspective shows the light from behind her(a bit right). So down the shawl and under the scarf are dark areas. Goya used many black paintings and the darker color schemes brought the out the more tragic scene.


Graham Little

Untitled (Reflections), 2014 Gouache on paper

I admire Little’s style on his work. Especially the work of Reflections which is a woman looking into the mirror and her whole face and a hand have been reflected on one side of the mirror and another angle of the side face and a hand reflected on another mirror. This image involved a complex repeat and angle perspective relative but it is an exquisite layout. You can see 3 versions of her face 2 of which are in the mirror.

It has very simple colours and solaces around this woman with pajamas. She may be on the phone and that may explain some expression on her face. This work also includes narrative and portrait elements.

Elizabeth Joy Peyton

Look at the more fluid blocking in the tone from Peyton’s work.

Her strokes are really fascinating. In this image, she used foreshortening effect on the leg which is wearing blue trousers. It seems she only used a couple of letters “V” with fluid colours for the trousers. Then purple colour to draw the outlines of the shirt but these lines are consecutive and sequential and not any surplus on there. She describes a serious countenance on this man’s face shown by the marks around his eyes.

Another work of Peyton’s.

For the next exercise, I am going to do my own head. What will these works inspire me? I really like how she drew the hair in the work of Chloe. In this simple work, the light hits on her hair and the shadows on her face. She has a pair of gazing eyes. One line is used to depict the collar. I am probably charmed by the image of colours in this work and the expression of her eyes.

Facial features(Project The head)

These last 3 weeks I have concentrated on drawing one of the friends in Parish council. I did practice his character and others before. But for this exercise, I have collected last 3 pieces that I am happy with.

The first week, I got this one I have happy with it.

Charcoal on A3 paper

The second week, I got the one I liked.

Black ink on A3 paper
Charcoal on A3 paper

Then the third week, I have got this one.

Before this, there is an attempt but I didn’t like it just folded and put in the sketchbook.

Everyone in the class said it is him so I am happy with the outcome.

I think the second one it the best. The last one I lost control for drawing his mouth.

Well, these ones above have been taken home. I got the elements of his face before the whole features but I didn’t like it so didn’t bother to spray them to keep.

For the ear, if I can shade the top auricle and let it stand out of the head will be much better. For the mouth, the first and second attempts were more realistic than the third.

Groups of figures(Project The moving figure)

I was watching outside from a building to a bus stop in Chester. This is a shopping street and many people carry their shopping in their arms.

Watching children at rock climbing.

I got a chance to visite York railway museum. This is the view when I am at the entrance of the workshop.

Charcoal and watercolour on A2 paper

I was enjoying doing the moving figures because it is very useful exercise. Even some bits and figures are not perfect but these experiments gave me some exciting effects that I would like to practice more in my further sketchbook.

Three figure drawings(Project forms)

Using different tools, materials and supports, work on three positions of model:


Quick sketches on A4 paper by charcoal. This model I found from Croquis Cafe and I like her pose. For the 4 sketches, I didn’t show her body leaning back with her trunk.

Charcoal on A2 paper. Bear in my mind, I need to put attention on her shoulders and let them lie back.

For now, it is really a mistake with her hair style. Apart from this, I  feel this body is flat. How can I change it to shown more volume? This has been done a few days ago, I have spray it already. Now I am trying my best to correct it. But I am worried it will be very dirty and messy later.

The neck, hairline, hairstyle and the outlines are the big problems of this work.

I can’t leave it because it’s the serious problem that her head seems too small for her body.

What can I change?

I Brushed the face area with W&N white ink. Then I used black ink draw in the outline of the face. After I used yellow, red and blue oil pastels to cover the mistake which is between charcoal and ink. At last, I used yellow acrylic putting the top of the yellow oil pastel.

The head is much bigger now but it is bigger than it should be. I used the strong colours to catch my viewer’s eyes. However, the neck is not bending down. My problem was the first step and I should control all the parts. Also by drawing with charcoal, I need to be quick and accurate with the lines but I kept changing them a lot.

2. Standing

Follow up with the strong colours to attract the eye. Also, my original plan to use charcoal, oil pastel, and ink. I am going to use oil pastel for this practice.

Draft on the small sketchbook.

Bear in my mind, the body is constituted by volumes. Just make it swollen on A2 paper.

This is the first time I experiment with this style of drawing. There are many mistakes because I couldn’t control the lines in accurate ways. For overlapping colours it just makes it worse, the left hip shows a mistake. So this body is distorted and does not look natural.

For changing the left hip, I used the acrylic to cover the oil pastel.

Even though it has many mistakes I  am still excited by the depiction of some parts of the body. I like the right side hip, the left side of the head down to the neck. The hand on the top shoulder is better than the one on the wrist. The right leg is a little bit better than the left one. The left leg is not perfect. The right side shoulder down to the scapula is not correct. At the moment it looks like the upper arm beside it.

3. Lounging

Work on a small sketchbook.

For the draft, to improve it. I was thinking about two ways, one is using black ink for line drawing, the other to use charcoal and make the body shape have more volume.

Then I chose the second way which is using charcoal to create a 3D shape body on A2 white paper.

For charcoal drawing, I am happy with the most results but I want to push it to a special effect which is to match with the two I have already done. Also to practice my colour inks.

To block the outline out.

For my honest assessment, my skills for accurate and experiment mediums are not sophisticated. I need to more practice on figures.

I did think about when the model sitting or lounging that some bit of the skeleton are distorted or foreshortening. My problem is probably put more attention on the special effect after the first figure I drew the head is too small.

Well I need to draw some more figures for practice.