Self-Portrait Starts

I started work on drawing and painting my self-portrait while looking at a mirror. My previous experience with painting self-portraits with Catherine Kehoe made it easy for me to set up my easel and my lights source. Instead of identifying angles to create flat shapes, I focused on making masses of values in roughly accurate proportions on the page.


To achieve a bigger range of values, I used a variety of pencils to build up the values. I made different levels of value by using harder 3H pencils first, then gradually adding darker and heavier marker with softer HB and 3B pencils. I also used a white rubber eraser to help me with the highlights and reflected light in the shadow areas. I noticed that my tendency is to draw the face much smaller than it really is in the mirror so I had to make extra effort widen and lengthen my face in proportion to the mirror image.

9x12 self-portrait sketch, pencil on paper


I switched to a canvas board and blocked in my head. I paid attention to the shadow shapes I made in my drawing and I roughly blocked them in. I also added blocked in the background in a dark blue to contrast with my hair and skin. I painted fast with thinner layers of acrylic paint. I'm not sure that my drawing is accurate so I need to check it tomorrow.

Self-Portrait Progress Day 1 - 9x12 acrylic on board