Charcoal Self-Portrait

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Learning to draw with charcoal is a very challenging task. Many people prefer to draw using charcoal over graphite. The reasoning for this is because it is easier to blend the charcoal and obtain a greater value range from black to white. When thinking about what picture I wanted to use for my portrait, I had to consider the medium I was using and how well I’d be able to accurately depict myself. I decide that because I was using charcoal I would choose an image with a high level of contrast in it.

Using an image with a high level of contrast allows certain parts of your image pop out a great deal more, than an image with lower levels. For my image, I wanted the main focus to be on my face. In order to make my face really pop from the image I went with an all black background. The background is an aspect that is typically less considered, but can provide the biggest impact on a person’s work. Also, I chose to only draw half of my face. I made this decision because the picture was then heavier on one side than the other. This helped to increase the contrast in the image along with give it a unique perspective. I also wanted to give the appearance that I was some what contemplative, but at the same time give it a peaceful feel.

I feel like I successfully accomplished the aspects of this drawing that I wanted to. I was able to capture the feelings of being at ease and feel as if the contrast is what makes my piece so strong. Throughout the entire drawing I was able to add multiple value shifts because of the shirt I chose to wear for the image and the shadows that were in my face. The multiple value shifts are what gives my image the depth it needed to look realistic. Also, the bright whites and dark blacks bring the piece to life which is what my goal was when using charcoal.

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