Industrious Illustrating #30 – Self Portraits

While most of what I post is related to freelance work, commercial art, illustration, etc., I do also enjoy drawing from observation to learn from and reinterpret what I see around myself. Just as I try to find visual solutions to questions and problems (what would a giant military robot engineered from a construction model look like?) through stylization, I also try to find ways to convey information about the real world in the most efficient and expressive ways possible. Which is to say, for the self-portraits I’ve made for class over the past few weeks, I’ve simplified my features and the shadows on my body down to express what I’m seeing and feeling in the moment, rather than committing a photorealistic representation to paper. The self-portraits are shown below, starting from the earliest to the most recent (drawn last week).


Out of all of these, I like the most recent one the most because it looks the most developed and thoughtfully realized. It also helps that it was at the largest scale (18×24″) and on the nicest drawing paper I own (Strathmore 400 series), whereas the others were at 9×12″ at the largest and drawn on mediocre drawing paper or mixed media sketch paper. The quality of materials really does matter for traditional art, which is both a major annoyance (supply costs add up very, very fast) and an interesting limiting factor (making the most of the given materials is immensely satisfying to me).

While I’ve been pretty busy with schoolwork and making game assets for “Flamechaser” lately (we’re releasing the 0.58 build soon with an expanded story and more complete visuals/animation/sound effects), I’m also going to try to find time to make watercolor and oil paintings again, either stylized or observed from life. Having to draw people from life on a regular basis has reawakened my interest in traditional art, and my improvement over a few weeks of study feels promising for what I could do if I practice my traditional painting skills more.


I'm Robin (he/they), a third year enrolled as a User Experience Design student. I'm especially interested in eventually professionally creating artwork for entertainment such as animated films, books, and video games. I want to share my artwork with a wider audience using this blog, and I also want to open up a conversation about what goes into making illustrations and artwork both on the creative and business sides..

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