Today’s featured student artist is Shannon M. Shannon is a 9th grader at Hempstead High School in Iowa. Shannon’s art piece, “Watching My Face,” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Fall 2011 national art contest. Shannon’s art was selected as a winner out of thousands of pieces in her age division (7th – 9th grade).
“Self portraits are hard.” Shannon explains, “I believe the most challenging face to draw is your own. Maybe it’s because there are so many details only you yourself notice, and you keep messing up on the tiny things. Maybe it’s just because you’ve seen your own face so many times in the mirror that, when you actually study it, you can’t take it apart to draw. Either or, it’s a hefty job.”
As her art was selected as a Top Ten Winner, we asked Shannon what inspired her winning piece.
“I chose to draw myself for the challenge, really (It was definitely a challenge.) The last time I drew myself, I knew it didn’t look like me. I decided to start to actually think, not just do, drawing. I did studies of my face, separate parts- my eyes, my nose, and my lips. I even did some studies on my hand so I could have something other than a face to practice on.
Over time I learned about form, depth, shading, and texture — all those terms from art class. I realized I often didn’t shade that dark, and when that happens, you don’t get as much depth in some areas of your drawing as what could be. I also realized I was drawing shoulders way too small- when I drew myself I looked more like a caricature than a real person- so I also learned a bit on proportions, too. Not to mention the ‘Rule of Thirds,’ which pretty much means, ‘Don’t just stick something in the center — Put it off to the left, right, higher, or lower so the art isn’t boring.’
I then started my actual drawing. It was hard at first of course, due to the fact I was supposed to put my face on a blank piece of paper. But, I carried on, knowing sooner or later it would actually resemble me. And it did! All that practicing helped me — I wouldn’t be as developed as I am now.
Basically, this drawing was more like a learning experience instead of just a drawing. I don’t often make art like this, pretty much because of time issues, but when I put aside some time I know I can actually do something that I can be at least pleased with. I hope soon I can start on another project — I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Congratulations, Shannon, on being selected as Top Ten Winner in our national art contest! This is a great achievement and we hope to see much more of your talented work in the future.