Self Portrait




self portrait finished

Having always enjoyed drawing portraits of family and friends, I decided it might be time for a self portrait instead! I haven’t drawn myself in several years and an added challenge for this project was to increase the scale of the drawing to A2 size.

In the photos above you can see the stages of drawing process. I started off by using the grid method to help plot the facial features before building up the tonal details over time. Personally I find it helps to add the lighter tones in first and develop darker areas later as you can see. A range of sketching pencils were used from B (very light tone) to 6B (darkest shadows).

If you are thinking of creating your own self portrait then I would definitely recommend using the grid method for accuracy when recording the proportions of the face. Some artists draw their self portraits by looking in the mirror and they can complete a drawing in one sitting. I knew I would be spending many hours on my drawing so I got a friend to take a photograph of me and worked from that instead. If you ask a friend to take a photo of you, make sure there is enough light (you could go outside or somewhere that is well-lit) or use the flash on your camera so it can pick up details.


Expressive Portrait


This expressive portrait of Shakespeare is actually an example piece I made to show my students. I chose a famous image of Shakespeare to work from before completing a grid method (line) drawing of his face and shoulders. Next, I added in colour using oil pastels. I used a range of techniques for this, including colour blocking and layer and scratch to suggest his strands of hair.

Overall this took several hours to complete but it is a very enjoyable project to test out. You could choose to draw your own personal hero or someone who inspires you.

Identity Flags


This is the final result of a project with my year 7 Art Club. I asked each of the students to design their own flag, including their hobbies and interests etc., and then I made them out of fabric before sewing them all together. As you can see, Art Club brings together many different students and I think this is reflected in the motto “not only the outside matters” which was chosen by one of the students.

Light Graffiti

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These light graffiti photos were made using a digital camera, an iPhone torch, and a small flashlight. To capture the trails of light I needed a longer exposure, so I changed the shutter speed on the camera to 2 minutes for each one.

These were quick experiments but you could try using lots of different coloured lights and types of torches to create your own light graffiti. My top tips are to ensure the place you’re working in is quite dark (this creates more contrast for the light painting to stand out) and to use the Bulb mode on your camera to ensure you are on the slowest shutter speed possible. This will allow you more time to get creative with your designs!

Pencil Portrait


I’ve always enjoyed drawing portraits, even though they can be fairly time consuming depending on the style you’re going for. I set myself the challenge of completing a portrait over the holidays. As you can see I’ve spent time building up the tone using a range of pencils. Also I used different marks to render textures such as stippling (dots) for his stubbly beard and faint scribbling to enhance the skin-like appearance. This is a traditional take on a portrait and in a lot of ways reflects my own personal drawing style, however if your style is more expressive then maybe your portraits would have more messy and bolder lines. There is no right way to draw a portrait. Practice, experiment, and find out what works best for you!