self portrait practice

Here’s an art challenge to everyone: get better at self portraits. Here are the rules:

  1. Time limit is 15 minutes.
  2. Paper size is sketchbook size (roughly letter size).
  3. Sketchbook must be held in hand while standing up, looking into mirror.
  4. Use only a pencil and an eraser (nothing fancy).
  5. Start with toned paper which does not count toward your time limit.
  6. After time limit, write one new observation about the process on your drawing.

I used this as a warm-up exercise for my high school students in advanced drawing,  and everybody got better.

This was partly inspired by a TED Talk by Matt Cutts on trying something new for 30 days – mostly the idea that you can pretty much pull off improving at anything you try for 30 days.

As a challenge, there is one extra rule: post your progress somewhere on the internet. Below are day by day scans of my progress.

comp tank

the comp tank in action
the comp tank in action

The idea was to end up with a glitchy way of capturing images which would show the ghostly depth of 3-d objects scanned on a flatbed scanner. I cut some clear acrylic sheets and made a tank using my old scanner as the base. The tank was then filled with water to allow things to swirl around. Notice the incredible setup: Windows 98, Photoshop 3.05, 800 x 600 monitor (256 colors).

Part of the charm of the process is not even prescanning, and definitely not doing anything to the image after scanning. This gives it a little more of a ‘fine arts’ element, sort of like digital monoprinting.

[FAG id=1569]

my name

Below are real life implementations of a logotype of my first name. The first version of this was created when I was in middle school, c.1990. After taking art more seriously, or at least doing more art, I have been in search of a symbol or mark which represents me. I returned to a version of the original, adding 2 shades of red (to emphasize the chromatic aspect of אָדָם). The diagram here shows the symbol on a 60° axonometric grid, which reveals some exact proportions, namely that the first 3 letters together have the same area as the last letter and that the entire area is made up of 10 equilateral triangles (shown in light blue).