Advanced art school students are learning to do large-scale self portraits on cardboard. The exercise presents a challenge both in terms of the larger than life size of the pieces, as well as exploring the nuances of cardboard as a medium.
“The cardboard was huge and there was much potential to add texture other than the charcoal lines, so I tore the cardboard at certain places to add contrast to my subject. Next time on a large-scale canvas, I want to try adding more contrast, especially some highlights, at certain points to create some dramatic lighting.”
“This is my first time working on a large unconventional canvas, which can be intimidating at first, but the larger scale added more impact on the artwork. Working on this piece was a journey for me, abstract was and still is a concept I’m exploring, which is part of why I chose to do abstract instead of realism in the first place, to step out of my comfort zone, and it worked. Despite struggling during the initial stages of planning and drawing, the portrait takes form and the final product ends up being a blend between abstract and realism. If I were to do this project again, I think an art series would better illustrate my process.”
Sung Yeon (G11)
“After completing this project, I can now work on a large scale by using square grids for an accurate composition. I also learned different techniques of charcoal by using the edges of the compress for different textures. If I do a project like this again, I want to spend more time on the background, and experiment more with the cardboard by tearing a few sections to add more emphasis on the figure. I would also work the hair differently by incorporating both compress and white pastel for better contrast. In the end, I feel my project was successful. I had a lot of fun experimenting with the large scale portrait and the charcoal.”
“In the beginning it was hard to draw big. But then during the drawing, I finally figured it out. I should draw close in first, and then step back and check my work. I learned that small work changes in many places increases the scale. One of my challenges was that I had too much light in my initial pencil drawing, so next time I would add some darker contrast.”
“I’ve challenged the students on how to work with this kind of medium,” said secondary art teacher Mr. Green. “Artists often utilize cardboard for its versatility and unpredictability, and I asked students to tear away part of the cardboard surface to add depth and texture to their pieces. The big thing is to step outside their comfort zone in size and scale, which is key to working in an authentic studio environment.”
Stop by the art display in Building B next time you’re on campus!
Learn more about Concordia’s high school program.