a couple of quick little self portraits

8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

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Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann

Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann
Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann

This was created using an old car rearview mirror so I could only see half of the face without shifting location so it was a bit of a challenge. As you can probably tell, I was focusing primarily on the lower nose/chin/neck area more than the rest of the face.

It took me 29 minutes overall, and time flew by because I was so intently focused. Getting good greyscale gradation levels with a small drawing surface like a ball point pen is challenging, especially when on a timeline like I was with this. I did complete it in under a half hour though.

I can see some improvements already in the self portrait drawing skill vs the last self portrait like this I did. I use self portraits as sort of a checkup on my skills since the human face is a good indicator of art skills on a lot of levels. Drawing faces with glasses on is always a bit of a challenge too since it changes the lighting a lot and gives areas that need new details.

I did the glasses on though because I’m working on a color pencil drawing in the mornings that has Tekla with glasses on, and I wanted to study a little in these ballpoint pen drawings how the glasses affect the light and shadow on the face so I can do better in that and future drawings with glasses. The color pencil drawings are very tricky since I’m using a lot of different colors, layering techniques, and a lot of erasing and actual burnishing techniques – actually in some areas on those I’m using real print making etching tools to do scratcherboard type techniques in limited areas since I’m using gessoed hardboard. That is definitely something I would not be able to do if I was using paper for the color pencils. The color pencils are almost like mini-oil paintings. Now it’s after 6 Am so I better start on the color pencil as the time allocated to it is before 6:30 AM, lol.

5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait

Image

5.26.2011-15/26/2011 - 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011

5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ballpoint Pen on Paper

I’m not too keen on the that big right eye and super dark area right below the chin in the neck, but that’s the sort of stuff that happens when you are doing a self portait. Actually, the eye kind of adds to that expression I think. I probably went in to too dark and harsh lines too quickly about 20 minutes in — easy to do in this type of drawing. Also, working near the edge of the paper is always a tricky thing to do, but an important thing to do.

Emotions play a big part in drawing. I had a pretty rough/stressful day at work, so I think that played in to this a little in the expressionism gestures in the line quality, etc.

I stopped it at 22 minutes instead of half an hour because I felt that if I kept going I was really going to overwork it way too much. Getting fine details in a quick sketch is always a tricky thing to do. How far is going to far. How much time is left. The clock starts to not matter much but I want to keep these below 30 minutes for now.

I ultimately want to do one quick sketch like this daily and then one longer work that takes a long time on the side after that. This is a transition in to that. Currently I’m working on some color pencil drawings for the longer drawing, but didn’t work on it yesterday or today. I want to make the quick sketches be done every single day regardless of how I feel or if I want to or don’t want to draw that day. If I keep them below half an hour, that’s a lot more possible and realistic then trying to do a masterpiece that takes hours daily, etc. Time management is an important and difficult thing to master.

5/25/2011

5/25/2011
5/25/2011 © 5/25/2011 Jeff Thomann

20 Minute Sketch
Media: Ball Point Pen and China Marker on Paper

I’m not super happy about the results here. I got the proportion off a little on this and was a bit distracted too since the tv was on when I was drawing. I was going to skip tonight since I skipped working out tonight due to the weather (tornado watches and warnings earlier this afternoon) but really don’t want to do that. I really need to do at least one drawing a day to get in to the good habbits I need to develop. Ink is not a forgiving medium, but that makes me know that I need to work harder to get it right the first time.

a few more quick drawings.

I’ve been sketching after work for 30 minutes or less to just sort of work my way back in to drawing. I’m using ballpoint pen for these so far since they are easily scanned without a mess, and also are not messy. Here’s a few of the recent drawings. I’ll try to upload more of these as they are made in the future. I KNOW my skills can get better, and practice is the ONLY way to make that happen.

5/3/2011 – 5 minute drawing
5/3/2011 - 5 minute drawing

5/23/2011 – 25 minute drawing
5/23/2011

5/24/2011 – 25 minute drawing
5/24/2011

A couple of fast sketches.

I’ve started sketching again a bit. Here’s a couple from the last week.

Copyright © 2011 Jeff Thomann

I’m going to try to make it a point to do these 20-30 minute drawings daily after work, and then do more complex artwork after that. It’s sort of a fast way to retrain my art skills, transition from work life to art life, and try different things out to learn or relearn techniques, etc. I may upload more of these type of drawings in the future.

working on folio

Slowly working on portfolio website (see link on right). This weekend I put together a few of the pages over there. So far the Charcoal and Ball Point Pen sections are starting to shape up.

I have not put together the other sections yet completely since those require shooting digital photos of my works. Not being the greatest photographer in the world doesn’t make getting the quality that I like out of the camera the easiest thing in the world. Also, it does not help much that I’m shooting outside when I do the shots, and it’s been fairly windy the last several days. The other day I shot some of my brother’s old artwork from highschool and the tripod fell over with the wind while I was swapping drawings with others in the house. The part of the camera that attaches to the tripod flew off of the camera when it hit the pavement. I luckily got it back together, but have not tried to attach it back to the tripod since then. Note to self – add weights of some sort to tripod the next time I try to use it.

The ball point pen drawings are mostly some of the mall small scans I took. I tried to limit it to about 30 or so images for each section. That way a nice little navigation bar table fits well in most browsers. It’s still a little too wide for the smallest screen settings, but I really don’t think most folks use the smallest screen settings usually. If so, sorry folks… I am trying to get this thing looking good, not optimized for your super low res screens… It’s tricky using the floating navigation bars I’m using because Internet Explorer is tricky. If you don’t put the dtd type up at the top of the html, it doesn’t float the css navbars where they belong, and just sticks them at the top of the page where they scroll with the rest of it.

It’s slowly coming together. I’ve been doing some cleaning around the house this weekend since we’ll likely be moving before too long… found a bunch of ol floppy disks and that reminded me that the last time I tried to put together an online web portfolio like this I was doing it on floppy and zip disks on Campus because it was like the year 2002 and I was using the free modem pool that the University of Missouri had back then… a whopping speed of 28k! No wonder I got frustrated and quit putting together the website last time, lol.

This time, things are coming together a lot smoother, and hopefully this blog will help make things work out a little better. I’ll add more to the website as I get more images put together and organized. I really like this click the image to get a bigger copy of it idea. I also like the floating nav bars with transparent backgrounds that makes it nice, clean, and easy to maneuver around in.

Got any pointers, tips, or ideas on how I can improve portfolio? Shoot away and give me some comments. I like listening to what people have to say. 🙂 😉