I just had to try the self portrait again, to see if I could improve. This time I took some advice and found a piece of leftover mount board to sketch on; I didn’t worry too much at the time that it was a sludgy green. That, it turned out, was a mistake.
Overnight I’d done some reading about portraits, mostly from Betty Edwards’ book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I’d been impressed by the way she managed, in just 5 days, to get her pupils from producing childish pictures to credible self-portraits. How hard could it be?
Betty gives a lot of useful advice about proportion and relationship between one area of the head and another. I used these techniques in my next picture. They did help, but the portrait I produced looked extremely cross and still didn’t look like me. In fact my son dubbed it Shrek princess, partly due to the green background which shows through the pastels (lesson learned).
I was encouraged that at least the board was a better surface than the heavily textured paper I had previously used, but decided that next time I would choose an even smoother card. And maybe not focus quite so much on the jowls…