This is a self-portrait, drawn in 40 minutes this past Sunday evening. The version above has been flipped across the vertical axis so it appears as I appear to others, rather than as I see myself in a mirror. My self-portraits always look a bit angry. I think it’s just the intensity of the artist’s stare. I must look like quite an ogre to the models who pose for me!
While making this drawing I put a camera looking over my shoulder, set to take a picture every 30 seconds. Here are some selected stages in the development of the drawing.
In the first two minutes, I roughed in the highlights, drawing with the edge of my crayon:
Next I started outlining the bright shapes:
And then the dark areas:
I started bringing in the color of the warm-toned light to my left:
And the cooler-toned edge lighting to my right:
Then reddish shadows:
I started looking for the highlights within the highlights, making strokes that followed the three-dimensional contours of the face:
By that point I was about halfway through the process. From this point on I was looking at color, details, and correcting distortions. The face was too thin, so I thickened it up:
Toward the end of the process, I was developing the texture of hair and other details. These features can be drawn with a loose hand, as the energetic feel is more important than the precise detail. Some shadows appear reddish, while others are cooler in tone. I used a bluish green, the complement to the natural flesh tone, to deepen these shadows:
I stopped at 40 minutes because I wanted the drawing to remain loose and spontaneous. Here’s the finished version, as drawn, not flipped as in the version at the top of the post: