Jeff Wamester

How self-sketch­ing has helped ad­vance his art

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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.

http://about.me/jef­fwamester

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