Surreal Self-Portrait Reflection

Photo on 24-11-14 at 14.39

Drawing and Concept:

My drawing is of me, but I am made out of wood and there are branches growing out of me. There are also tentacles in the background as well as some bubbles. Other than that it is just a self portrait of me.

I came up with the idea because I was trying to think about how I usually am. When I was younger I used to always be bored so I thought of ‘bored’. Then I got the idea to make myself into a ‘board’ as a pun. I then decided that it would be too empty to just have myself, so I decided to add branches growing from me, to show that I am changing from a board to a tree. After that, I needed something to fill in the background so I decided that adding tentacles would be a good way to fill up the background and I added them along with bubbles. Ms. Zaza suggested the octopus idea which led up to the tentacles, and I also chose to draw tentacles because I thought that they would be fun to draw and look nice if I drew them well. The tentacles are reaching out, trying to grab something. This is kind of how when I am bored I try to find something to do.

I think this picture represents me pretty well, and it shows that I am growing as a person like the branches growing out of me, and also being a board can show people that I get bored easily, if they are able to figure the pun out. I think that the picture stands out since I have a plain face expression while all of these things are going on in the background.

Surreal Techniques:

In my piece, I used a lot of transformation and unrealistic situation. My entire face is transformed into wood, and my hair is transforming into branches on my head. The background has tentacles in it, which is unrealistic since I don’t usually have tentacles behind me, and the bubbles show that I am underwater, where I usually am not. The transformation is a large part of my piece and is the main part of my piece, however the unrealistic situation or setting also makes it more surreal and maybe more interesting as well.

I think that I used the surreal techniques effectively to make my art surreal. When I look at my final piece I can see the surrealism very clearly and it looks very obviously surreal. It uses 2 of the 3 techniques in surrealism, and it might have been more surreal if I used all three, however I think that two out of three is quite surreal on it’s own.

Surreal Artists:

Specifically while doing the project, I was not inspired by any surreal artist in particular, and I didn’t use inspiration from any of the surreal artists we studied before in the unit. However, I did like the art of Rene Magritte and I thought his use of transformation and unrealistic situation was good, but I don’t think this affected my art in a big way.
Even though I wasn’t inspired by a surrealist, I was inspired by another artist.

Dan Mumford is an artist who I found on the internet by mistake and I liked his art. He uses pointillism and what I really liked about his art was the textures and patterns he uses in the objects. 

Above is an example of his work, and the way that he made the wood on the tree inspired me to try to make textures that pop out and look cool. Other than this artist, my work was mostly inspired by my own ideas and Ms. Zaza’s suggestions.

Pen & Ink:

I really liked using pen and ink because I found it much better than pencil since I could use thick and thin black lines. I’m not sure why but I found drawing with pen much funner than pencil, probably because I can use lots of contour. We learned three shading techniques with pen and ink and I tried to use all of them in my piece.

The first one was hatching, I used this for my hair, and some of the shadows such as the ones under my eyes and nose. Cross hatching is a similar technique that I used on my neck and on some other shadows on my face. Pointillism was the technique that I used the least, but after I incorporated it into my background, it stood out more. I used pointillism on the leaves and bubbles because I felt that pointillism gave a softer texture to the objects and that leaves and bubbles needed to look softer compared to wood. I also used lots of hatching on the eyes as well as some cross hatching and pointillism.

I think that I was successful in using all of the pen and ink techniques, however I think cross hatching could have been used slightly better and I feel like I might have been able to incorporate more shading into the tentacles. I think I used hatching the best, because the eyes look quite good in my opinion and I think pointillism was used pretty well in the background for some of the bubbles.

Challenges & Improvement:

My biggest challenge was when I was sketching it out before using pen, I couldn’t seem to get certain parts of my face right. The nose was hard for me to draw but in the end it turned out pretty well. It was hard for me to get the nose to a point where it looks like my nose. I redrew the nose and observed it in the mirror a lot so that I could get it right after many tries. I also misplaced the nose a few times and had to redraw it. I also think I could have improved the positioning of my eyes better. The eyes seem pretty good, but they look quite far apart from each other, and one is farther from the middle than the other if you look closely. If I were to improve anything I think it would have been where I put my facial features. I think the proportion was good, but the placement was a little bit off. I also would have tried to use thicker lines in some places to add more depth to the image and I think I could have made more interestingly placed tentacles. I also think that if I hadn’t included the tentacles, but instead included more bubbles that I could have drawn more attention to my face rather than the background. However, I do think the tentacles were a good way to show pen and ink skills since tentacles are usually quite difficult to draw. I also would have liked to add more texture to the tentacles.

What I Learned:

In the project I learned a lot about surrealism and how to make something surreal or identify it as surreal. I learned a lot about surrealism, but I think the more important skill that I learned was size and proportion. This is a skill that can be used in all different kinds of visual art, and can help me draw the face much better in the future. I also learned about hatching, cross-hatching and pointillism which can help me with shading in future art classes. The proportions of the face are very important, and before this class, I couldn’t draw a nose realistically. I think that I learned a lot during this unit.

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