Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 6 Exercise 2 – Your own head

Another interesting and very enjoyable exercise – I placed a large mirror in front of me and had to make my drawings in the evening with an absence of natural light.  The light was from my left reflected against the wall using a bright LED spotlight. In addition there was light from above to give me light to work.

These were my quick studies and the larger one on the right looked a bit like my nephew – so starting to get a likeness. I omitted to measure – just drawing fast.



To achieve a better likeness, I drew a construction in my sketchbook based on the guides on page 109 of the course notes:


I used my pencil to take measurements of key features of my face in front of the mirror.

This then helped in making my second self-portrait – this time in pencil and watercolour:


Watercolour is a medium that I love and want to develop further in POP1 if possible (alongside gouache/indian ink) – this portrait is a good likeness and it helped having the measurements. My wife and other colleagues at work all confirmed this for me.

The portrait benefitted from good lighting, and my use of pencil (4B) and watercolour with limited palette worked well – I was too heavy with the pencil around the mouth and the area around my Adams apple did not look natural. I do not have curly hair but this is artists licence!



Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 6 The head – Research point

Contemporary artists as well as historic artists who work on the face in different ways.

For my research in this section I selected artists and their works which both interested me and relate to works on paper – drawings, watercolours, ink etc. The works also inspire me in terms of the techniques employed:

Edouard Vuillard – An artist that I admire for his paintings of interiors, he also drew/painted many portraits.

Edouard Vuillard portrait

Predominantly a line drawing which has been substantially enhanced by his addition of white chalk. The choice of a neutral coloured support acts as the middle tone.

During this course I have enjoyed experimenting with ink and have started to use gouache (something I want to explore further). Graham Sutherland is an expert in these mediums:

G Sutherland portrait
Helena Rubenstein 1957 Gouache on paper

Alberto Giacommetti has to be on my list (even though his works are predominantly oil on canvas) His style is a drawing type style which is impressive – I recently saw one of his works in Colombia.

giacometti portrait
Caroline 1961 Oil on canvas

One thing I find strange within his faces is the face itself which appears flat and overworked with lines – the model staring straight at the viewer. Normally his portraits include detailed backgrounds (usually his studio) which add depth and place the portrait within its environment – but this image is flat, no modelling and an absence of environment (very feint details in the background).

David Hockney has to be included as a favorite painter of mine – especially in terms of portraits. His works on paper include many detailed portraits using coloured pencils – see below:

After seeing a portrait of Churchill and his wife last year by William Coldstream, I have added an inspiring portrait by him of Sir Trenchard Cox:


Coldstream Sir Trenchard Cox 1967
Sir Trenchard Cox 1967 Oil on canvas


John Singer Sargent also was a master at drawing and painting in watercolour – here is a favorite of mine:

JSS portrait
Portrait of Ambrogio Raffele 1904/11

Frank Auerbach´s techniques with charcoal and also his sketches in pencil are an inspiration to me and I will explore this further:


Finally after visiting a major exhibition of the work of Otto Dix in Germany last year I have included works here by him in watercolour and pastel:

I was impressed by his masterful use of watercolour and indian ink.





Russian You tube video – Contemporary Drawing

Interesting and varied contemporary drawings in a Russian exhibition:

There was an interesting range of contemporary drawings – traditional drawings in pencil/pen, installations using wire, video and photography, large and small formats.

I liked the wire installation of electrical pylons etc – a subject in one of my drawings for Part 3 and also similar to the work of David Oliviera – who also works with wire.

Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 6 The head Exercise 1 Facial Features

For this exercise I cut out various elements from magazines – mostly fashion type images and stuck them in my sketchbook. I then drew some elements before making a couple of head drawings based on my own head looking in a mirror.



Then I compared a few images of eyes drawn/painted by Picasso – the master of eyes and creativity….

What a variety of different styles and mediums! An example that there really is no limit – the limit is your own imagination.

My drawings of a couple of self portraits:

They were not big as I drew them in my A5 sketchbook.

The first in pencil and the second using Prismacolor marker pens. I then made a blind contour drawing:


I did not use any form of measurement in these drawings and that was the reason they did not really look like me. They do however represent the head in a believable form.