self portrait: working towards the final

a documentation of the process towards the final piece, and some feedback

  1. Painting on Photoshop. One component I wanted to implement in the final piece is clean outlines. Initially, I used a Photoshop brush to outline the painting. However the line weight was not as varied as I would have liked them to be, and they looked a little too artificial. In the next rendition, I decided to use traditional methods to ink the drawing and transferred the outlines to Photoshop.
  2. Transferring traditional medium to digital. The messy scribbles on top was created using acrylic paint on canvas paper. I only realised a little too late that I only had acrylic tubes of the basic colours of red, yellow and blue to work with, so I had a lot of colour-tweaking to do on Photoshop. Nevertheless, I found the texture created to look better and more genuine than if I would have done the same thing with Photoshop brushes.

    what the colours actually looked like…
  3. Additional elements. Aside from the mess of rainbow puke, I also wanted to include the things I hold dear—Skink my pet lizard, Charles the succulent and Mei the tiny cactus—and some of my favourite things on the side. I attempted the same method of using traditional inking and digital colours for these elements, however they looked terribly out of place and the colours did not harmonise well with the overall composition.


(not so) Final Composition


feedback after critique
  1. The negative space in the middle of the jumbled mess is a little too jarring and could be reduce a tad bit. As how it is now, the eyes are attracted towards the negative space too much.
  2. As this is a portrait, it is still possible to emphasise more light on the face while still keeping the concept of using subdued colours to represent the calm and stoic atmosphere.
  3. One suggestion offered in relation to the second point is that the bright mess could cast light on the face instead—something just as subtle as a yellow light cast as a reflection on the glasses.


self portrait: conceptualisation and references

In-class exercise: Portrait

some takeaways:

Sketching a portrait was more intimate than I thought ; it was different from the usual live drawing sessions where I had to focus more on the model’s dynamic postures rather than their faces, and it definitely got a little awkward (perhaps because my ‘model’ was also drawing my face, so we were just… stealing glances at each other.)

Looking back at my illustration, I think I would have preferred to use a wider range of line weight as well as stylise certain facial features to make it look less realistic.



Assignment 1: Ideation and Initial Sketches


some things about myself I decided to focus on:

  • forgetful; just really terrible memory
  • the first one is due to my head being a jumbled mess
  • i always look calm; people say this often but sometimes i might just be internally dying
  • some things i hold dear: my succulent (Charles), my tiny cactus (Mei), my ex-pet (Skink)


Initial sketches; throwing random ideas out to portray both my forgetfulness and the juxtaposition between a calm exterior and messy interior. Eventually I went with the one on the most right, where it shows a messy scribble around my head to represent the many things I think about. I also decided to use subdued colours for my face, and bright, noisy colours for the scribbles to show the contrast between what is expressed on my face and what actually goes on in my mind.

Final composition; sketched a small thumbnail of my desired composition to visualise better. Decided to draw myself looking down instead of up; I found it to represent myself better because I tend to look at the ground (whether it be when I am walking or thinking).


Assignment 1: Reference Artists


Gabriel Picolo


Brilliant use of subdued colours with minimal bright accents; clean lines and smooth gradated colours


Carlos Villarreal Kwasek

Absolutely beautiful colour palette; subtle use of texture (not too overwhelming but still gives a nice effect)


Kathrin Honesta

This series in particular inspired me to use similar techniques for the colourful scribbles (will try to use acrylic paint instead)