Getting Started: Charcoal Self Portraits

I like to use charcoal self portraits to get my drawing started. The reason artist self portraits have been so popular for centuries is that they always had a willing subject.I like to use soft vine charcoal on sketch paper for the project.

Step #1: Use a small hand mirror or compact mirror to study your subject. Take the charcoal and start with a oval or egg shape.

Step #2: The first feature to start with is the eyes, I use a light guideline in the center of the oval for the eyes (most common mistake is the eyes are too high). Continue to look into the mirror as you draw. Are your eyes close together? Are your eyes far apart? The eyes are generally a oval or football shape. Don’t forget to add eye lids, pupils, and lashes.

Step #3: Eye Brows – Look into the mirror and draw your brows. Are the brows heavy or light? Do the eye brows follow the entire eye or are they just on top.
Step #4: Use one of the eye brow to draw the nose. The nose can be drawn a s a “J” shape, look into the mirror ans see if its long, short, small or fat.
Step #5: Look into the mirror and draw the two line under the nose.
Step #6: look into the mirror and draw the lips, start with line for top of the lips. Then draw the center line to finish the lips.

Step #7: Look into the mirror for the ears, the generally start at the eyes and end at the top of the lips.
Step #8: Look into the mirror and notice the the neck starts right below the ears.

Step #9: Look into the mirror and see where your hair begins, its generally half way between the eyes and top of the oval.

Step #10: Time to add your finishing details.

Step #11: Lets try it again.

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