My Surreal Self-Portrait Reflection

My Surreal Self-Portrait

My Surreal Self-Portrait 

Surrealism is a type of art, which includes fantastic imagery expressing it with the three main aspects; Size and Scale, Transformation and un-natural setting.  The central interest of surrealist artists was dreams and the subconscious. These three techniques make the artwork surreal and make it different from other types of art. The surrealist movement was a change in art, which was simply based on randomness, the unexpected, and comparison between two or more things that wouldn’t usually be compared. Although these were the basics of the movement, artists related their work to philosophical subjects. The Surrealist movement started in Europe in the 1920s after World War I. This movement stemmed from the Dada movement being a movement where artists portrayed their disgust.  The Surrealist movement was founded in Paris influenced by Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. It was officially founded in 1924, whenAndre Brenton wrote Le Manifeste du Surrealisme. Figures such as Salvador Dali and Man Ray enhanced a large amount of audience with fashion photography, advertising and film as well. There were many surrealist artists with many surrealist artworks that still remain extraordinary for many. Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Hans Bellmer, Victor Bauner, Giorgio de Chrico, Pierre Roy, Jindrich Styrsky and many more were associated with the surrealist movement and have many inspiring artworks left from them.

As mentioned above, the earlier Dada movement inspired the Surrealist art movement. During the Dada movement, artist created “non-art” pieces portraying their disgust and how European culture had lost meaning to them. After this movement art became violent and after it ending it 1922, two years later the Surrealist movement officially started. The difference between the movements was that the Surrealist was less violent and more artistically based. Brenton wrote the Surrealist Manifesto to describe how the combination of the conscious and subconscious would be his wish and as he opened exhibitions, it became influential over young artists in he United States and Mexico.

My surreal self-portrait met all three elements of Surrealism; size and scale, transformation and un-natural setting. My head was drawn fairly large covering up three quarters of the piece and had my shoulders visible a little bit coming out from the clouds. I also used all three techniques for value. I used pointillism for the majority of the artwork especially for my background being the clouds. For clouds behind other clouds I used pointillism however made the points very close to each other giving it a darker value and showing that it is at the very back. I also had rain all over my piece dropping from the clouds and used pointillism for each raindrop as well. I used hatching for the values on my face and shoulders and small amount of cross-hatching. To go in more deep about the surreal elements, I used transformation twice with my body coming out between the clouds and my left eye transformed into space with a planes and the moon. I had an un-natural setting with several clouds behind me, some large some small and in different shapes. I also played around with size and scale making my face as well as body fairly larger than the clouds in the background.

I did not have any special meaning to my piece however since I like travelling as well as rain. I tried combining the two and portrayed it in my setting. I connected travelling to plane and flying in the sky between clouds and then related that to outer space transforming one of my eyes.  Besides this I did not have much of a meaning in my artwork however I think I was successful at meeting what I was trying to portray in the setting. I tiered connecting a rainy day to travelling and I strongly believe that I did and it gave the piece a different and surreal effect.

During the surreal self-portrait project for medium, mainly pen and ink was used. First, the piece was neatly but lightly drawn of thin card with dimensions larger that A4 paper but also smaller than A3 paper. After we finalized the artwork with pan and ink with thick lines or thin lines according to out preference. We also had a preference with either a thin nib, which the majority used, or thicker nibs. Using this medium I used thicker lines to give a rounder and 3 dimensional effect and used hatching, cross hatching and pointillism for value. I think I was successful with my surreal self-portrait because I really used all the surreal elements as well as used the value techniques in as many places possible. I also think it was successful because I portrayed the meaning I planned in my head on to the artwork and think that the piece I drew actually does look like me. I had proportions accurate as well. The area I thought I was most successful at was with the pointillism in my clouds, it took quite some time however realized it was worth it once it was done. I think pointillism was the key element to the success in my surreal self-portrait. I think I could improve my being more careful with pointillism because at some areas of my drawing my hand moved and the point formed into more of a line which if there were too may, it would defeat the whole purpose of pointillism. Another aspect where I think I could’ve improved was with my lines, especially with the outline of the face, I did not have smooth lines and hand lines overlapping each other being mostly wavy.

Using pen and ink really gives a different effect to the piece and I think it is a very nice medium however it needs patience and care. If for example, the nib has not been drawn with after dipping into the ink, there is a high chance of extra ink still remaining on the nib and as soon as you start drawing it may either make the line quite think or in the worse case might drop and smudge and eventually ruin your drawing. This happened to me twice during my surreal self-portrait and in order to hide it and make it less obvious as possible, I covered it up with rain and clouds. But overall I think pen and ink is a great medium and really gives the artwork a nice effect.

Sources used:

“The Origins of Surrealism.” The Origins of Surrealism. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <>.

“The Art – Your Guide to Modern Art.” Surrealism Movement, Artists and Major Works. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <>.




Surreal Self-Portrait Sketch Reflection

One of the objectives for this project is to combine Surrealism and your self-portrait to make a surreal piece.  As we have learned about Surrealism as well as about drawing self portraits accurately in terms of scaling certain things proportionately now we will combine both and create a final piece. Another main objective is the use of shadows, or in other words, value. It is to put in value in our piece using all three techniques being hatching, cross-hatching and pointillism. The mediums we will be using are pen and ink on paper.

My first idea/sketch included all three aspects of surrealism. My hair transforms into a slide from the side with a very small person sliding down and I was in the air with clouds in the background. I also had my eyes transform into a football. My face was going to be fairly large covering up most of the page too. I thought my second idea would look better on the final piece with larger paper therefore I chose that for my final piece. My second idea was once again in the sky with clouds around me and covered up all 3 aspects of surrealism. Some clouds are larger than others and with different shapes. My left eye transforms into space with a planet, a moon and a star inside. My body is drawn, in my idea I come out through the clouds once again filling up almost the entire page.

As mentioned above, I chose my second idea which I thought was most successful meeting the objectives and it made more sense when I related the setting to the eye being transformed into space rather than a football. I used transformation, Un-natural setting as well as size and scale. I also thought through the places where I could use specific techniques of value and found it quite successful when I attempted to put in value on some places. My second idea is more convenient and has more places for these 3 techniques.

In more depth of the techniques I will be using, I will use pointillism for the majority however will also use hatching and cross-hatching. I will definitely be using pointillism for the right eye as well as the shadows on the border of the face. I will be switching from hatching to pointillism for other parts of the face. I will use hatching and cross hatching for the left eye and pointillism for the clouds. I will occasionally use thicker lines for the outlines of the face towards the bottom to give it a rounder look. I will also use thicker lines on the bottom of the clouds.

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