Self Distortraits

As I flip through my last few journals, I see that I am more and more drawn to drawing faces. Maybe that’s just a function of winter — when the weather is warm I can go out and plunk down on the sidewalk somewhere and draw landscapes, buildings, dogs being curbed. When the weather is inhospitable, I sit at my dining table and after I’ve drawn every object in the room, I flip through magazines and start drawing faces.

I tend to draw a lot of self-portraits — not become I am so fabulously handsome but because my face is always handy, right there, wrapped around my eyes. I’ve done hundreds, none of them even remotely alike. This winter, fiddling with my computer, I started taking distorted pictures of myself with my laptop’s built-in camera, then distorting them further with dip pens and brushes and sumi ink.

They’re part of my effort to do more than just draw exactly what I see but to add some feeling to the exercise. Of course, it’s impossible for me not to inject some subjectivity into any drawing. That’s enhanced when I keep it loose and free, the flaws enhancing my point of view.  But I find that when I start with something that’s unfamiliar, like the bulges and twists the computer puts into my face, I tend to pay more careful attention, take nothing for granted, create something that looks like a photo in the degree of detail; and yet feel free to push the lines further and add more sweeping grotesqueries.

I’m done with series for now as the sun has come out and my park beckons

5 thoughts on “Self Distortraits

  1. whoa – these are some incredible mugs ;)

    I really enjoyed looking at them and trying to find what exactly makes is distinctively you – even after (or because of) distortion. There are only two that I think I would not recognize as you: the very first one and third from the end. Some trouble with the 4th form the end too – but the rest are completely fine to paste on your driving license! :)

    I've been doing two series of portraits lately – will post about them on EDM. You are right – something has happened to the pace of EDM – I am not even lurking as much as I used to…

  2. Nice job Danny! I tried this a couple of years back, using Photobooth, and I was in a bit of a dark mood (thanks to the crappy weather), only I used some calligraphy pens and further tweaked 'em (the actual drawings) in Photoshop. Still, I really love the dip and brush pen action going on here. This reminds me, I should break my dip pen out this summer – been years since I used one.

  3. Interesting! I want to try it. Once a drawing teacher asked me whether I had models to draw and when I said 'not really', he replied to draw myself, every single day while in front of a mirror. After a research I came to know that he published a book full of his own self portraits…surely it's another good exercise!!

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