The art of the Selfie

Anyone who draws or paints portraits has most likely done their fair share of self portraits. While it may seem to some like an exercise in narcissism, it is in fact mainly a matter of convenience. It’s not easy to find people willing to sit still for several hours while you draw them, so it makes sense to draw the one person who is guaranteed to be sitting still for as long as it takes!

It also makes for a decent profile picture!

I drew a new self portrait recently, and I thought I’d share a few others that I’ve done over the years, in a variety of different styles and media:

It’s always interesting to see with each new self portrait, how I’ve developed in my drawing/painting ability, as well as how I’ve aged! Look at those long flowing locks I used to have😦

I think it might be fun to do a new selfie every year around my birthday. Maybe I’ll try an oil portrait next time.

The Sausage Seller

A few more graphite drawings

Since taking the portrait drawing class last month, I’ve done a few more graphite drawings (click/tap to enlarge):

I’ve had some fun with these, and enjoyed putting some new techniques to use, such as blending shadow areas with a paintbrush, and most importantly, keeping my pencils razor sharp!

Key to a successful drawing – keep your pencils sharp! ✏

A photo posted by danjohnsonart (@danjohnsonart) on

I’ll probably do more graphite drawings, but I also want to try some charcoal portraits. I love how dark you can get with charcoal, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of effects I can create (and mess I can make!)

I have ordered some charcoal. Stay tuned!


Learning to Draw (again)

I’ve been working on portraits again recently, after focusing mainly on landscapes for a year or two (I find landscapes to be much less challenging when you’re still getting to grips with how to paint in oils), and what I’ve found is that by far the most important and most difficult aspect of a portrait is the drawing. Continue reading


My Strange Cyclical Painting Habit

So after painting almost daily for several weeks, it has now been around 2 months since I picked up a paintbrush!

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is just the way I operate. I get engrossed in something for a few weeks or months, then I lose focus and take a break for a few weeks.

It’s not just painting, it happens the same with other things – playing the guitar, reading, blogging. I’ll get into it for a while and then lose interest for a while.

I don’t think it’s a problem. Perhaps it would be if I was relying on any of these things to earn a living. Maybe that’s why I’m not!

Anyway, I can feel the urge to paint resurfacing, so it seems I may be approaching the start of a new painting cycle! Stay tuned.

Rhino painting by Dan Johnson