sketches for figures


Sketches for figures

Recently I did some sketches at the High Green art group.

A2 white cartridge paper with 4B and 6B pencil

The bottom of this lady’s nose has the wrong structure and I need to improve the middle tones.

A3 sketchbook with conte sticks

On the back of this lady’s figure, I didn’t draw it clearly from the hips to the legs.

A3 sketchbook with conte sticks

I do need to shade some dark areas.

A3 sketchbook with conte stick
A3 sketchbook with conte stick

I will do more of this kind of practice while a person sits in a chair with different gestures on top of the body. I am interested in this work.

A3 sketchbook with conte stick

I am not comfortable with the drawing of the hand and I need to improve the structure of the human body.

A3 sketchbook with conte stick

I drew his neck with an uncomfortable pose and with untidy hair. It is a cold day when I was doing this work but I drew his top which is looking too big with too many clothes.

A3 sketchbook with conte stick.

Reflection on my portrait work

I have chosen the subject: Using tone and line in a series of portraits and self-portraits with Conte sticks (I may change to some other medium like colour pencils or colourful drawing inks etc.), inspired by the artist Frida Kahlo.

For my final assignment, I would like to experience using some colourful medium, as I haven’t really used a lot of colourful pigments in this course. Through the process, I didn’t really consider exploring the idea of experimental styles outside of the construction.

Drawing a portrait is the most difficult for me because I still don’t know what effect I will be brought out at the end. Because the portrait includes the construction, perspective, emotional expression and character etc. So in this assignment, my aims are put colours on, find out the expression of the facial features.

For the drawing technology, I need to put attention on:

  • Line and mark-making
  • Tone
  • Colour
  • Light/middle/dark tone
  • Chiaroscuro

Facial Features & Expressions:

  • Draw the features with outlines of construction correctly
  • Practice eyes and put much attention on them because this is the area that conveys much of the emotion.
  • Gesture
  • Atmosphere
  • Mood

I know that the concept of “portrait” and “self-portrait” are flexible things and you can experiment with many methods like I have done in the research “what a self-portrait can be?” and gave examples of what artists have done.

How to express the portrait with the way to show more depth is the aim I am going to attempt for this assignment.

  • The features that are personal and distinctive. (Not everyone has same eyes, nose, mouth and ears also the same shape of the face.)
  • The expressions and the thoughts. (The difference persons have separate thoughts and they won’t be the same.)

In Kahlo’s works, she used a few of the elements with the metaphorically way to imply her feeling and thoughts. For example, she uses a few times of monkeys around her face and these monkeys like the situation in her life. There are other examples, Kahlo’s work used some else elements:

  • The Two Fridas (painted in 1939) is a double self-portrait which is included two figures of this artist. Kahlo is holding two items which are a forceps and a portrait. Also, she has drawn vessel and hearts outside of the bodies.
  • Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (painted in 1940). Kahlo used the elements are a thorn necklace, a small black hummingbird( like a pendant), a monkey sits behind her right shoulder(tugging at the thorn necklace, causing Kahlo to bleed), two dragonflies float in mid-air and A black panther over her left shoulder.
  • The Wounded Deer (painted 1946), Kahlo superimposed her face onto a deer which was fatally wounded by a bunch of arrows.

Is The Wounded Deer is a self-portrait? I would say so. As Kahlo has some more works which used the method for her style of symbolism. From her works, she was not painting attempting to conjure a real scene but she did arrange symbolic elements to communicate a feeling or idea.

So what can I do for my assignment five which is about the portraits and self-portraits? What can I change from my real scene? What elements can I add to my works?



What a self-portrait can be?

My last research is of the self-portrait by artists that I have learnt from Rembrandt, van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Tracey Emin. My tutor wants me to go a bit further with it.

Why do the artists draw self-portraits?

Do they want to know more about themselves? Do they want to show the audience more about themselves?

What do they do in their self-portraits and what do they want to show their audience?

Do they just draw a solemn face, a face and shoulders, half-length portrait, full-length portrait? Where do they draw the self-portrait? In a couch, in a corner of room or in a bath? Who else can be in the image (a pet, a friend or a family)? When do they draw? 0:00 AM to 2:00 AM? Maybe some artists can put up the good skills at this time.

So what a self-portrait can be? I am going to learn some more artists.

Edvard Munch (12 December 1863 – 23 January 1944)

Munch had a miserable life since he was very young, also his father was obsessively religious. He said:” The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born. I inherited two of mankind’s most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity.”

Look at this self-portrait by Munch in 1895. He has drawn his face and neck in Realism. But his eyes are gloomy and dark without light. From the first view, I thought he folded his arms in front of his chest in this lithograph work but there is only a skeleton arm. All the rest of the space is evil and fear black. Will he be swamped by the darkness?

Andrew Wyeth (July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009)

The Revenant (self-portrait), 1949

In this article Wyeth have drawn himself with most of the body in an interior. It is authentic and persuasive work. The viewport is quite low so the perspective of the wall and the feeling is very effective. Wyeth was wearing a white suit which is colour to match with the pale colour of the wall.  So the lights (The lights come from the underneath of the curtain on the window.) comes from the bottom of the corner also behind of the body. Why Wyeth arrange this? Does he want a special effect?

Norman Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978)

Triple Self-Portrait, 1960

This is a dramatic work from Norman Rockwell that it seems you can see the process with perfusion. There are a few portraits in this article. As you can see his whole back of the body, a colourful head and shoulder in a mirror and a black and white on the drawing board. A couple of quick monochromes on the left of the board. Also, he has drawn his gesture and you may see his movement from it. In addition to this, on his right side of the board, there are in order of the works: Albrecht Dürer‘s self-portrait at 26, Rembrandt “standing” self-portrait in Vienna (1652), one of the works of Picasso and one of the self-portrait by Van Gogh.

Through this completed work, we can see Rockwell is a stickler for neatness and most of the features are real. He has exceptional insight that he didn’t simply depict his own face and also he didn’t only put attention on his half top’s character. He used humor and humility with a pipe in mouth breezily, then looks at the mirror to draw himself. Yet he didn’t actually draw what he has seen.

Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)

Picassos is a lucky artist. There are some articles about ” Picasso Made Self-Portraits from Age 15 Until His Death That Show How His Artistic Genius Evolved.” Posted on Jan 10, 2017

Picassos’ style of naturalistic,  expressionism, surrealism to cubism.  He used abstract style thrived at showcasing what he was in this world, painting self-portraits from teenage to a wise older self.


Salvador Dalí (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989)

Compare to the artists above, even Picasso just used a distorted but fluid line to describe a character. Yet Dali used deformity flayed skin for a face appears to be instead of his character. But he presents his character that with his upturned, antenna-like moustaches. This spectre is supported by several crutches.Though, what is the correlation with a piece of bacon? Why used this pedestal? Why is called soft self-portrait? After I read this article I realised that there are some ants around the eye and mouth also signifying decay or weakness.
What a self-portrait can be? It is a wide-ranging theme.

The personal project

Select one of the previous four assignments as the starting point for your personal project.

The options are:

  • Line, space and form
  • Your immediate environment
  • Outdoors
  • The figure and face

In this part, I have the freedom to pursue some of the things that I am interested in.

I was confident doing my assignment 1, assignment 2 (but not perfect for some interior exercises) and assignment 3 (but a bit like “casting the net” throughout the exercises). For the assignment 4, it is a large aspect so it is never finished.

For outdoors, at this time of the year. I don’t think I will sketch out a lot but I never throw out my sketchbook so that I would like to take it and to draw when I get free time. Maybe from out of the hotel window and on some trips. The landscape is one of the aspects in my future drawing.

So for this assignment, because I am regularly attended the Parish Council art group that will give me some opportunities to get free models so “the figure and face” will be my preferred subject of this assignment.