Part 3: Exercise 3.1 – ink study self portraits

Brief

Look in a mirror and make 20 A4 ink studies of your face. Have three cups to hand: one of black undiluted ink, one of diluted ink (with water), and one of water. Use a mid-sized soft brush and spend no longer than a minute on each painting.

Remember to squint to see the tones. Try this in different light levels. Near-darkness can really help you to capture a lot of different tones. For inspiration you might like to look at the paintings of Marlene Dumas.

HP watercolour paper is good for this exercise but, as these are sketches, cartridge paper, card, photocopier paper, or any other scrap paper, is fine. You’ll use these images as the basis of your monotypes in the following exercises.

Process

Please click on each image to enlarge it and to open it in a new browser tab.

3-way-mirror
3-way mirror

My 3-way mirror, picked up in a charity shop, came into its own for this exercise. I was able to sketch self portraits from different angles directly onto A4 sheets of photocopy paper, using ink as a medium.

Wall of ink sketches – preview

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Wall of ink sketches – a wee peek

Individual sketches

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Ink sketch 1 – First go – used too much ink.
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Ink sketch 2 – A bit ‘pouty’ and washed out.
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Ink sketch 3 – Profile – ‘catching flies’.
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Ink sketch 4 – Ooh, grumpy!
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Ink sketch 5 – Fit to burst.
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Ink sketch 6 – Tight lipped.
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Ink sketch 7 – Just a wee bit scary.
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Ink sketch 8 – A darker side.
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Ink sketch 9 – Looking for something.
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Ink sketch 10 – Profile – ‘Catching flies 2’.
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Ink sketch 11 – A gloomy kind of guy.
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Ink sketch 12 – ‘T’was the morning after’.
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Ink sketch 13 – Itchy nose.
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Ink sketch 14 – Full-on ‘catching flies’.
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Ink sketch 15 – Kinda weary.
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Ink sketch 16 – Not fade away.
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Ink sketch 17 – What have I done?
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Ink sketch 18 – It’s not really me.
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Ink sketch 19 – Ouch!
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Ink sketch 20 – Reflecting on the rest.
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Ink sketch 21 – Somewhat troubled.

Wall of self portraits – reprise

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Wall of self portraits in ink

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
7 December 2017

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