Archive Sketchbooks (part 5)

Portrait practice and faces – line and shading (1995-2003)

Myface-AnnieCopland-Oct2014webIn my last post (here) I went into some of the writing and articles I was doing as a teenager. Now back to drawing and art.

I want to show some of the areas of interest for me, a virtually untrained, undisciplined art student / art hobbyist / enthusiast. We’ll first be looking at juvenile, unsophisticated first attempts at portrait drawing and then on to some later sketches using greater expression and looser, freer brushstrokes and also different media. (More to come later, by the way.)


I liked faces. Here’s the first known portrait that I’ve still got; a child’s drawing, done aged 11:

Tribal African woman (1991):
Medium: pastels



A study of Degas Self-Portrait:
Aged 13, I did this copy at school for some kind of exercise in painting technique; though not great, I loved doing it. I realised I enjoyed discovering about colour and trying to achieve a faithful likeness:



Experimenting with coloured pencils.

The Kiss, some silly thing I did when I was probably about 14 or so:



This one is Girl with the blue face – for some reason (not sure why!) she was given a blue-toned face with coloured hair.



Self-portrait, aged 15 (when I used to have short brown hair!):
Medium: acrylic



Close up of a mouth, a study of a Red-Lipsticked Lady (1995):
Medium: acrylics

Close-up-of-a-mouth-Standard-Grade-Art-Study-c1995Ah the joys of finding fleshtones.

Self-Portrait Traditional Victorian Silhouette (1998):
Medium: card


Let me tell you about this. It measures about 5cm x 7cm (tiny! – I used the back of a clothing tag, as you can see) and I did it one night while at University BORED OUT OF MY SKULL. It took absolutely AGES. It was painstaking. I’d never tried to do a self-portrait in this traditional ‘Victorian silhouette’ format before, but I was going to give it a shot. (Anything to avoid Chem Eng study, you may remember.) I remember sitting there with a pair of scissors and spot light in my study bedroom all night and agonizing over the detail, and the struggle to achieve absolute perfection – and a true likeness, but in the end I was fairly pleased with how it turned out. (PS I had really short hair when I did this.)


> When I was a teenager I did a lot of those high school-type pencil shading drawings, practising faces, mainly of pop stars that I liked, the aim naively being to copy as life-like and as photographically ‘real’ as you can; thankfully one grows out of that habit once you’ve realised it’s impressive but not particularly expressive.

Prince, A Study in pencil (1990s):



Bono as MacPhisto, A Study:
“Hold me thrill me kiss me kill me…”



Study of Man with Glasses: (not actually sure who this is… but it looks a bit like Jon Bon Jovi??)



Alanis Morissette study:
“…and what it all comes down to…”



Jeff Buckley study (2001):
“Too deaf dumb and blind to see the damage I’ve done”



Self-portrait with no face (2002):
Sitting cross-legged, totally bored and not sure what to do.


Portrait study of a jazz musician (2002):
A quick sketch from one of my art college sketchbooks this time using a looser, more rapid style (and a thicker bolder pencil!)



Self-portrait in makeup (2003):
I had run out of art materials while in a cottage on holiday, so decided to experiment with what I could find in my makeup bag! I had lots of fun doing this.
Medium: foundation, blusher, highlighter, eye pencil, kohl pencil, mascara, lipstick.



Self-portrait on black paper with blue, white and orange pastels (2003):
Very rapid technique, just about capturing the essence of my choppy hair and whatever hooded top I was wearing.


Self-portrait in purple and red (c.2003):
Medium: acrylics
This experimental selfie effort looks very little like me but has some resemblance to my mother rather more! The bold colourful brushstrokes I chose to use make me look much older / wrinklier / more weathered / more ‘tormented-artist’-y than I actually am.  Maybe this was my Van Gogh period..?, haha.



Prince, a study (2003):
“She said sign your name on the dotted line, The lights went out, And Nikki started 2 grind”
From the album cover.



African lady in acrylics (2003):
Messing about now with a bolder, freer brushstroke style and using bolder, more gestural colours.



American girl in acrylics (2003):


Even today, I still enjoy (and you do have to) practise drawing. Though my technique isn’t polished or particularly refined in any way, I still enjoy working out faces, and preferably going quickly at it. This study of A Girl’s Face (Actress) that I found interesting was done quickly and probably isn’t finished:


And finally
Le simplisme:


Happiness is being your best self.


Experiment and have fun.
Annie x

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