How self-sketching has helped advance his art
Why create self-portraits?
It’s the best reference – it’s always available! It’s also good practice: portraits are about nailing those proportions. You find yourself battling your own perception of self versus how others see you and having to find that true representation. It makes you face those perceptions. Over the years it’s been a great catalogue of improvement as well as the progression of perception of self.
Why illustrate yourself in comicbook form?
It’s one of my favourite art styles, but it also presents a unique challenge. You don’t get the luxury of tone or subtlety – the lines have to be confident and definitive.
Do you focus on perceived flaws or idealise yourself?
I don’t try to improve or idealise, but I do try to capture the positive side of myself. I don’t think presenting the dark side to avoid idealisation is the best approach. I think your feelings about yourself are revealed in your results. Positive will usually yield a positive light, negative self-image will usually yield some negative aspects in the self-portrait. Someone who represents themselves in a negative light are just presentations of an ego that obfuscates who they really are. They’re struggling with self-acceptance.
Do you use a photo or the mirror to create your portraits?
Both! Photo for consistency of angle, and mirror to understand what I’m seeing by being able to look at my face from different angles. I even recently tried a selfportrait from memory only.
Jeff is a storyboard artist, character designer and comic book illustrator who’s worked for DC and Dark Horse comics.