First travel self-portrait (self-portrait #15)

Yesterday I attempted my first self-portrait since we set out on our travels. Water-soluble pencils and graphite, forty minutes, about 11″ square.

Self-portrait in water-soluble pencils

I wish I didn’t look so disapproving, but when I compare this effort to my previous one in March, I’m very pleased. I don’t look flat! My colors are happy! My skin looks young!

Of course, I made this one using pencils and not paints, so I had more control over my marks, and there wasn’t as much potential for everything muddying together. I still think it’s too difficult to pose and draw at the same time, so I want to try something more active next time (I think I said that last time too). Erik suggested I think more like a caricaturist, and work on getting a few features very lifelike, and then not worry so much about the rest. It’s a thought.

Another thing I could do, next time, is use my regular brushes with the water-soluble pencils, instead of my little waterbrush. The waterbrush is fantastic for travel, but when I’m sitting in one place, it’s not necessary — and it’s so small that it makes it hard to fill in large areas quickly.

Anyway, as I say every time: progress.

(Note to self and fellow artists. This actually started out as an attempt to make a quick sketch before doing a longer painting, but I got into it and just never bothered with the painting. I did a fast sketch first with the water-soluble graphite pencil, shading lightly. Then I ran over everything with the colored pencils, and then with water. At the end, I noticed that the differences in color meant some areas that were shadowed didn’t quite look dark enough, so I went over those again with the graphite and then left that dry.)

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