self portrait attempt #1

Well, I’ve made my first attempt at a self-portrait in Gimp. It was kind of fun – it’s been years since I tried doing any drawing/painting, computer or otherwise. The first thing you’ll notice about it is that it’s purple. That wasn’t what I started out intending to do – I was just playing around and wanted a midtone background so I could use both light and dark colours on it. Something like this:

[self-portait in purple, beige and black]

Anyway, I started adding colours for the hair and so on, and found I’d made it very difficult for myself to change the skin colour without fucking the whole thing up. There’s probably a cunning techy way of doing it involving replacing colours, but I didn’t find it. There’s also a brute force way of doing it – painting over the purple with another colour – but I couldn’t face it, today at least. I may use this as a starting point and try to rescue it later, but I think I’ll probably start again on a new version. I’m quite tempted to try a Rembrandt-esque approach – start with a very dark ground and build up the picture with lighter colours. Just to see what it’s like.

[self portrait with mauve skin]


  1. 3 October 2005 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a healthy-looking pallor, is it? The eyes are wonderful, but you bear no family resemblance whatsoever to your 14ish-year-old computer-generated self. I’m impressed that you can even take a shot at using a computer program to make a self-portrait. I’m lucky if I can get the damn things to make straight lines. Cheers. And, as per pffatiquette, I am very much looking forward to the revision.

  2. Harry
    3 October 2005 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know whether the 14yo version is any more accurate than this one. One would hope it was – it was certainly a lot more finished and a lot more time-consuming – but I can’t honestly remember anymore.

    I quite like using computer drawing software – it’s endlessly reworkable. If a line’s wrong, you can move it.

    As I say, I don’t think I’m going to revise this version, but I might try a few more sketches and see where it takes me, now I’ve got the mirror next the computer and everything.

  3. Alson Teo
    5 October 2005 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Charming! :)

  4. 5 October 2005 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s the eyes!
    They just seem to follow you around the room.
    I can’t escape..

    Very clever. In decades to come, we’ll refer to this as Harry’s Purple Period, and people will nod and go, “Hmmm..”


  5. 5 October 2005 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I find YOu are looking like Mao in his early years. And I mean this as a compliment.

  6. Harry
    6 October 2005 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Hi folks. Thanks for your comments. I’ll take the Mao thing as a compliment – it’s never been my ambition to look like a revolutionary leader, but hey, why not :-)

    There’s a new version up further up the page. I’m not sure it’s an improvement, though…

  7. 11 October 2005 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Do you use a tablet or a mouse?

  8. Harry
    11 October 2005 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    A mouse.

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