Sketchbook Scans: Self Portrait

Drawing people is not something that I am good at (in fact, apart from a few sketches, I have not done it since I was at school), but practise makes perfect as they say, so I use myself as the only willing model available. Although I wear make-up, I don’t study myself in the mirror closely, (I still imagine myself c.1980s in my head) so drawing myself is a rather depressing thing to do. I decided not to flatter myself, but to include the sagging jowls and dark eye sockets, with strong artificial lighting above and to the left. I picked a random pencil out of my set that turned out to be ‘pure graphite 9B’.


I managed to put my eyes too close together (the left one should be further left!), still I can just about recognise myself from this. It encouraged me to look out the three other self-portrait drawings I had done over the years as they make an interesting sequence.

Self-portraits are probably something I will research at some point, because I find them quite fascinating: how you choose to portray yourself, what you are doing, where you are, what you are holding, your chosen expression, how you present yourself to the world, in short. (My natural expression seems to be a cross between “anxious” and “frightened”). They seem to be as autobiographical as writing. The earlier drawings (not shown) were made as records of particular moments in my life, but they were never meant to be seen by anyone else. If I was making a finished piece of artwork for public display, I would present myself differently (looking more defiant and fierce, and getting rid of some of those unflattering lines and shadows!).

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