Drawing self-portraits is the worst.
Which is exactly what we did in class last week. It was actually quite funny in how uncomfortably focused everyone was (including me). In that, hey, jowl-of-pudge-that-definitely-wasn’t-there-last-year uncomfortable.
Before we started, our professor showed us some examples of self-portraits by other artists. I was definitely inspired by Käthe Kollwitz – her lines were bold and heavy-handed from the beginning, which was completely the opposite of how I planned drawings. She was also the first female professor ever appointed at the Prussian Academy (but sadly forced to resign during the Nazi regime), survived both the World Wars, and used self portraits as a way to communicate women’s fight for representation.
I wanted to branch out into new media, so I tried, for the first time, using ink. And a bamboo pen. A bamboo pen is essentially a poor-man’s quill, in which a hollowed ( bamboo rod is sharpened into a point. It’s extremely porous, and for the first few strokes, acts as if you had just changed your font size from Brush Script, size 12, to HELVETICA BOLD IN SIZE 56. (I should have tested it out on scrap paper first, but I didn’t.) Particularly in the first half of drawing, I heavily edit my work, and not having the liberty in doing so was a great challenge. So the portrait doesn’t look too much like me, and I ended up trying not to laugh through most of the portrait despite the sun beating through the window on my face, further pointing out my dark circles upon dark circles. I think the suppressed laugh came through.
I also showed this to Jehna who immediately made it into a Snapchat sticker and has already face-swapped with it and it’s truly marvellously horrifying. You know you’re golden when a face swap happens.