Tips for Drawing Self-Portraits


5 Tips to sketch yourself better!

Drawing self-portraits can be a great way to practice sketching techniques as-let's face-it-there is no shortage of material when you draw yourself! Sketching or drawing yourself can be a great way to learn a lot about sketching, shading and proportions. And, when you sketch, your pictures can be kinda funny-they don't always represent a subject the same way. But, making a sketch of yourself, whether you use a picture or look in a mirror, can teach you a lot about art and yourself. So here are some tips on how to draw your own self-portrait:

1. Start with a light sketch.

Start with a light outline. Everyone thinks they know the proportions of a face, but when you really study the human face, its easy to realize that the eyes are not near the top of the head, they are more about half-way between the crown of the head and your chin. Get the major features first, lightly, to create a foundation so you can add in your details later. This way, if you make a mistake, you can easily erase it and it wont affect the minute details you will spend more time creating later on.  

2. Add shadows and smudge them.

To make your sketch look professionally done, add shadows. You will want to go lightly here as well. To create realistic shadow effects, use a smudging tool or your finger to draw out the shadows. This will blend the medium you use whether it is graphite, charcoal, or pastel and your shadows will end up lighter and easier to clean up in case you make a mistake. Lighting is important in finding shadows and one of the best ways to properly "light" yourself is use top-lighting or lighting from above. This is something to take into consideration when you take the photo you will use to do your self-portrait, during your set-up if you plan to use a mirror.

3. Do your hairline after you outline.

Start with the head and work out the proper length. Fill in with thick lines, then add shadowing and highlights as you go along.

4. Fine details come last.

After you have the outline and some of the shading done, its time for the fine details. Take some time filling in places in the eyes and lips, and also add some more shadowing to the neck so that your face doesn't have the appearance of floating in thin air. The finer details are the ones which really lend to the realistic quality of a self-portrait. And, a little extra tip, (4.5) if you've used pencil, you can add some color at this point with colored pencils or even watercolors.

5.  Choose a good frame.

If you like your portrait, choose a great frame for it. A nice frame can complement your art nicely and highlight your sketching skills. A simple black frame is nice when using charcoal, or something made of light wood goes best with soft colors. 

And if you ever get tired of drawing your own image, you can always get together with a friend and practice drawing portraits of each other. Or, do a portrait of yourself and have your friend do one of you as well. Don't look while they are in progress, but afterwards, compare and contrast. Our perspectives can vary much from individual to individual. Give it a try!



An Inspirational Journey


Reflections from Ira Goldstein, President of Jerry's Artarama


I love to travel and one of my favorite places to visit is New York City. This past weekend I made a pilgrimage to New York that included a stop at the Museum of Modern Art along with a visit to Soho both for artistic fuel for my soul and inspiration for my ongoing photography project. 

As I travel I love to collect. I collect small toys, interesting doodads, artwork and lots of photographic images whenever and wherever I travel, and this trip was no exception. I picked up a small metal toy bird that sits on a pile of blocks, a laser printed skull and some great handmade masks.

In addition I got to see and take some pictures  of the recently closed "Rain Room" at the MOMA as well as making a pilgrimage to some of my favorites from the museum's permanent collection including Van Gogh's "Starry NIght."

  Starry Night


The Rain Room, MOMA


Also along the the streets of Soho I found great street art, urban decay and a deep blue construction wall that originally had "POST NO BILLS"  painted every couple of feet on it, the original "Post No Bills" messages were transformed by someone or some group to express somewhat different messages.




Along the way I always ask myself what is art?. Is the "Rain Room" art? Are the altered messages on the blue construction wall I came by art? For me, both of these endeavors are definitely art and both were inspirational. My photography feeds on inspiration and for this I am very grateful to be a part of the art world which continues to amaze, surprise, and constantly inspire me to continue to move on. I like to think of myself as an artist as well as a photographer with an artist's sensibility. 

The images here shot both with my iPhone and my D-SLR are not actually a completed part of any of my photographic projects but are as I saw them along the road I traveled this past weekend. Do they represent art and inspiration for you? Only you can answer for yourself. Would you have picked them out as I had from the millions of impressions and objects I saw this past weekend? One of the things I take pride in about being an artist, is that I am also part of a creative community that shares their ideas and views. And that's just a wonderful part of being me!


-Ira Goldstein

Jerry's Artarama President, Photographer








Whats the Buzz


The SoHo Urban Artist A & H Frame Studio Easel 

In today's round of Whats the Buzz we are taking a look at two of our most popular products: The SoHo Urban Artist A-Frame and H-Frame easels. Our artist friends rave about these two easels saying that not only do they look great, they also perform great. So now lets take a look at what SoHo's fans really have to say and check out the buzz on these two fan favorites.

First up is the SoHo Urban Artist A-Frame Easel. Artists adore it for its classic mahagony finish, that it can hold large canvases, and that it makes a great display for finished pieces. But let's hear it from the fans:

"I love the way this easel is easy to move around and the tilt is great to help eliminate glare. The adjustment lowering and raising are very easy to use also"-Kim, Florida

"This easel is amazing! I love how easy it was to construct, its incredible durability, and just how sturdy it is. I paint with really aggressive brush strokes and the easel just takes it. I have used everything on it from pastels, acrylics and oils, because I'm still a beginner painter! This easel was really one of the best purchases I've made in some time, and definitely the best one I've made in my new life as an artist in America! "-Bence, Utah

"The A-Frame easel from SoHo meets all of my needs as an aspiring artist. Its a great quality easel at an unbeatable price. I love it's smart looking finish. It has done wonders for my paintings and I leave it up in my living room so that all of my friends can admire my artwork on it. Its an amazing easel."-JoeyMeatballs, New York

"I bought the SoHo A-Frame Easel awhile ago and I have never been happier with any easel, and trust me, I've been through a few. I love art and having this easel on my screened in porch brings me much happiness. I feel free to express myself with the colors of the paints and this easel just inspires me to paint more and more. "-Adam, Italy

An amazing easel is right by the sounds of it. The A-Frame certainly performs to standard. The height adjustment system transfers smoothly to hold many different sized canvases. One artist we talked to even said that they covered their SoHo A-Frame with plastic so it wouldn't get messed up when they painted. And we're okay with that!

Next Up is the brother to the A-Frame, the SoHo Urban Artist H-Frame Easel. This particular easel is notorious for being very stable, usable when sitting or standing, and that it is easily movable from room to room or studio to studio with its lockable casters and wheels. Now, lets get the buzz straight from the proud customer's mouths:

"I have used a tripod and field easel and this H frame is far more sturdy and holds my large canvas without a problem. The mast raises and lowers easily even with the larger canvas on board. I chose to leave the wheels off because I have hard wood floors and just applied slider pads. Works great."-lajtd, Montana

"This is my first really good easel; I am well pleased with it. It is sturdy, the finish is pretty and it rolls easily from one room to another. So far, I am very well pleased."-Artist on the Backside of 70, Alabama

"This product surpassed my expectations. It is surprisingly high quality considering the reasonable price!"-Erin, Massachusetts

"I had been looking for a sturdy & adjustable easel for my husband for years and this is it! Its wood and adjusts up to 71" high and will hold a canvas up to 2 1/2" thickness. It has rollers at the bottom for easy moving and storage. It will fold flat both vertically and horizontally, so its easily stored in a corner, closet or even under the bed. It was fairly easy to assemble and was at my door 3 days after ordering. We are very pleased with this product and you can't beat the price!"-Kristen, Virginia

"This easel is great, I've bought other H-Frame easels in the past, but SoHo's is the only one I've kept. I can move it wherever I want because of the wheel and caster system, and use it to display my art after I finish painting in my dining room. My girlfriend says its the nicest piece of furniture in my apartment. I can't express how happy this easel makes me and I love how solid the wood is. I've bought other easels where the wood splits almost immediately, but after 2 years of heavy use, this easel still holds up like its brand new! "-Ming, Mississippi

Wow. We here at Jerry's are ecstatic that you love these high-performing easels. The H-frame is a classic, and from these rave reviews, its obvious the buzz is real on these! And remember, we love to hear what you have to say about our products. And who knows, someday you might see something you said on here! So be sure to tune in next week for another edition of Whats the Buzz!





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