in Assignment 1 – Research & Process

In this post, I will talk about the class exercise, analyze my artist references and assess some compositions I have made.

Class exercise: Drawing Portraits

Sketch of Liying

Sketching someone feels very intimate as you unabashedly have to maintain your gaze on them for a prolonged time. Social customs deem looking at someone for too long to be perhaps taboo or just plain impolite. So going against that custom feels very peculiar, almost voyeuristic. Add on to this the fact that the other person is doing the same thing to you, and the resulting thing is even more peculiar. Not quite uncomfortable, but rather a quiet moment where two individuals pay attention to each other fully. I could now appreciate the artist who inspired this exercise, as I think it does wonderful things to the soul.

As a note for the self-portrait assignment, I conclude that this exercise teaches us to really look at the other person in order to capture a certain likeness. I feel that in a self-portrait, I should also give myself the undue attention and pick out parts that make me feel like me.

Artist References

Kathrin Honesta

For Kathrin Honesta, I immediately find the complexity of textures she uses appealing. Her controlled pencil strokes contrast with her rough crayon swirls, conveying the subject matter of anxiety very well. For the second picture, the building feels very tall due to the upshot and the scale compare to the little girl. Although similar composition would not work out in my case as it does not focus on the face, I enjoy her composition skills. Lastly, the paper texture and intense detailed linework for the last page is appealing in relation to the words, especially ‘rejected’ with the crumpled paper visual just makes sense as a combination of visuals and semantics.

Chuck Close

For Chuck Close, I find him inspiring more in terms of how he makes the rendering of his portraits his own, and how he utilises his weakness and the accident that happened to him into something that makes his portraits unique. Although previously he painted himself in a hyperrealistic manner, he then fell sick and his motor skills were limited. Unable to paint as before, he devised a contraption that allows him to paint square by square of the painting, creating a whole new look. His use of colours also changed, maintaining his expertise of colour and yet renewed with a freshness that wasn’t apparent before. I find this inspiring as he turned an unfortunate event into something that motivates his art. His self-portrait was rendered in a way only he can and thus he made it his own.



I sketched some more items that describe me, such as love of weird-tasting food and my love of bootlegged recordings (rendered in shady film noir style). I put myself in the composition as delighting in all that are falling from the sky, but I felt that it was not strong enough. Additionally, the right-hand side of the composition were done after the consultation. Prof advised me to look up some kitsch 1950s advertising materials, and I colour picked them for potential references later. The ring with blings were also subtler ways to describe my pirate/illegal downloading life (who said that? I did not not never not said that), which is quite tongue-in cheek.

Composition Thumbnails

I wanted to emphasise on my wanting things, and so like I said in the previous post, I wanted to portray myself up against glass windows/computer screen. As I wear glasses, it would also be a perfect opportunity to have the items reflect on the my glasses, such as the supermarket shelves that I’m rather fond of.

I decided to exaggerate the eyes in most of my composition, but the best composition yet came from a squished face which takes up most of the thumbnail, with the caption “I want milk!!!!!!” in the picture above. It signifies everything I am and my eternal state of wanting, hence the fingers pressed against the supermarket fridge, or maybe windows at a shop, or maybe the computer screen watching my bootlegged (what? no. what?) Broadway musicals.

Scanning my face turned out to be very fun, but also very tricky. In some instances my face was too squished or my hands were too much in the foreground. Some came out real scary too, as the dark shadows did not help. I did however, got to study the effect of squished-up nose and lips against glass which is useful.