"AS good as it gets" (self-portrait)

yeah, kind of agonized whether to share or not, as I’m far from happy with the results. this is my self-portrait; done carefully from a reference using the grid method.

but you know . this just MIGHT be one of my most intense drawings and I did in fact really try very hard to do it! by that measure alone I suppose it must be considered a success.

also it “taught” a lot of little lessons about drawings

Getting beyond resemblance means a LOT of accuracy! even a grid (which I obviously used) didn’t make it accurate enough.

the Glasses particularly was a place where there was insufficient accuracy. clearly I needed to scrutinize much more closely what its exact shape was. as Matt often says in his demo’s; you get very Exact shapes by sketching Loose; and then finding the most exact line at every place

Shading problems still plague me. In fact i could still me making small amounts of improvement in various places by scrutinizig shading. every time you darken an area of a drawing; you are lightening other places of contrast; so there’s a immense amount of shading to be done.

the demands of accuracy in the key facial features are HUGE; the eyes, nose and mouth get a huge amount of focus in a portrait.

lastly; its probably universally true that one could spend many many years working on portraits and still routinely miss the strict demands of drawing a portrait. So I probably ought to try to be happier about this n00b effort than I am.

Truthfully though, I don’t think I’m passionate enough about portraits to work through all the tough issues of perfecting portrait drawings.
the point was to tackle something truly hard; get some kind of resemblance and prove to myself that I’m willing to tackle nearly all kind of subject matter.


I think this is fun to look at. Sure, it may not be 100% accurate but I like the slightly distorted angle. I just think you’re not done yet: maybe go back and refine your shading/values with more layers of graphite. Then really stand back from it and evaluate where you need to add more dark values and/or highlights.

I really do enjoy this as it is, though!

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I really like it - some of the detail, particularly around the neck and collar of the shirt is great, though I agree the values in the face need a little refining.

I did a portrait of a friend lately and I totally agree that it’s super difficult, and I also agree that it teaches you a lot of things all in one exercise.

For that reason, I’m going to try more portraits, and I think you’ve inspired me to make the next one a self portrait!

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I think this is great. Don’t be so hard on yoursef.

i think you did a nice job here. Maybe as stated a little more value and pull up the grid lines with a kneaded eraser. Ive tried a few portraits too and the results are always mixed. Ive done a few self portraits sometimes
exaggerating the features for fun. tom

that’s a lot of positive feedback actually.

portraits are quite the challenge aren’t they? I meant to tell you guys that I had the opportunity to layer it on top of the reference image using the website; http://pxlr.com/

i was very, very interested to learn that many things aren’t that badly distorted. probably the biggest difference though was the placement of the eyes; just a little too far away from the mouth and nose.

I think mouth, nose and eyes have to be pretty much in the perfect place for an exact resemblance. the next time I do a portrait- I think I will try harder to obsess on getting the placement perfect; and the depiction as close as possible.

another quick thing to say is that I’ve skimmed through Matt’s very good training materials regarding portrait drawing. its excellent! and very comprehensive. Matt goes slowly through the process; culminating in two seperate portraits.

I’m goofy (in a way ) to have skimmed through this material, and I’m sure my portrait skills would have been So much better if I have slowly participated in the portrait pencil drawing course… but

its not really my thing.

I can imagine doing it again in a little while; because its a fantastic challenge- but I have little passion in becoming a photo-realistic portrait sketcher.

ty for all the great feedback.

I see hints that “shading” is a universal challenge in most of my graphite sketches; so your all correct in pointing out that there was work to be done in getting it right

Very good with graphite. You captured some good light and shadows to make it realistic.

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Maybe could use a little more contrast…I don’t know. Something about the way it is drawn says something to me. I like it the way it is, I think you did good.

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There are many things I like about this picture. Don’t be hard on yourself and it is successful.

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