|12/9/15 Kuretake No. 30 brush pen|
Four years ago when I first started sketching, I gave myself an exercise to draw 100 self-portraits. It was torturous at times, but once I got into it, I actually started to enjoy the exercise and process. One goal was to eventually make one that resembled myself enough that if I used it as a Facebook profile image, my friends would recognize me.
Making a portrait recognizable, however, shouldn’t be the only goal. Another should be to capture a person’s essence, some difficult-to-describe quality that makes the person who they are. Some might call it attitude or maybe spirit.
The wet, blustery days of winter (which are fully upon is in these parts) are the only times I have the patience and tolerance to stare at my own face in a mirror for the purpose of drawing it. This time of year is also when I tend to become more reflective or introspective anyway, so self-portraits fit my general mood. I’m not committing to making a hundred, but I’ve pulled out my mirror again, and I’ll occasionally post my efforts here. This time I’m going for capturing the essence of myself in addition to (I hope) some resemblance!
By the way, today’s selfie was done with one of many brush pens I bought in Japan – the Kuretake double-sided pen, No. 30 (it’s available at JetPens). I admit I went a little hog-wild shopping for brush pens because there was such a great selection (and so inexpensive compared to buying the same pens here)! Most contain water-soluble ink (the only one I could find that is supposed to be waterproof requires a long wait time before it stops smearing – I learned the hard way), which limits their use with watercolor, but I also really enjoy taking advantage of water-solubility for shading. These new brush pens will make selfie season more fun.