Self portrait 2017

The Portrait Artist of The Year competition is in full swing, and I'm hooked (as usual).

I've spent the last decade thinking that I can't draw faces and that my portraiture skills are a bit rough around the edges. Noses, eyes and ears point in the wrong directions. Everything's there, but it looks off-kilter.

Desperate to right these wrongs, I experimented with a technique that many of the painters use in Portrait Artist of The Year.

Usually, I trace the shadows of the image and build up the picture freehand. This gives the cartoon/graphic effect you can see in the Jeff Goldblum illustration I published last year.

The new technique makes use of a crisscross graph, laid over the top of a digital image. Then, square by square, you recreate the image on the page.

It's. A. Revelation.

I remember trying this method at school and failing miserably - clearly too distracted by boys to care one iota about drawing graphs and observational drawing.

I did this portrait of Dave Grohl in an afternoon - a timescale unheard of in the Bathory-Griffiths household, particularly without at least a few false starts.