Materials: ballpoint pen (black) + black fine-point Sharpie marker + Staedtler colored pencils
Time: 20 hours
Reference: photo of myself taken August 14, 2016. I look tired, because it was taken very early in the morning. And I look sad, because I’d said an indefinite goodbye to someone I love two days before. I took this photo because I realized that I’d never drawn sadness.
Comments: it was very difficult for me to complete this sketch. My style has improved a lot since I first started drawing portraits, but increased skill creates higher expectations, and I was disappointed to feel my old paralyzing perfectionism emerging once more. And drawing my own sadness meant that I was reminded – over and over – of the reasons for that sadness. Fighting perfectionism and embracing sadness for the duration of this drawing was emotionally exhausting. But I found that I was more comfortable drawing a self portrait this time. After my first self portrait, I said I liked my eyes and my hair and my collarbone. After my second self portrait, I realized – with great surprise! – that I actually like my whole face.
“She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.”
– Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated, 2003)