Portrait comparison

Sarah and I talked about the spiral of improvement—working on a different skill with each drawing/painting/what-have-you, but not always being able to improve on (or even represent) all skills at once. So here are two self-portrait studies, each painted with a focus on a different skill. Inspiration came from a photo I took last year of some epic bedhead—inspiring indeed.

On this one I jumped in with my Kuretake waterbrush with no preliminary sketch. I like the spontaneity of the brushwork and most of the colors, which sadly don’t show up accurately in the scan. The proportions are in some places more realistic than in #2, PLUS I managed to make myself look a bit like David Bowie, not bad, not bad.

For #2 I challenged myself to spend more time with it and work on increasing the contrast. The pencil sketch I laid down first helped less than I expected, but there’s more dimensionality in the color and brushwork than in the first.

You know what? My scanner sucks. Let’s see what an actual photo looks like.

With watercolors, I prefer to work in a less realistic style, just filling in line drawings with color, so this exercise really challenged my abilities. I highly recommend it as a way of checking in on your location on the aforementioned spiral.

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One Response to “Portrait comparison”

  1. What a fantastic exercise. I love them both — aspects of each shine off of the page, though both necks are exquisite. How DO you do that?
    Weird how different the scans and the photo are. V. different impressions.

    Hard to resist the Arches price code

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