Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing
A TACTILE SELF_PORTRAIT
 
Mick Maslen and Jack Southern
towards a feeling of response
 
pp. 84-89    

Duration:
30 minutes

Subject:
Your own face.

Technique:
Orthodox hand, continuous contact, synchronicity.
Not looking at the drawing.
Your drawing should be 16 inches x 20 inches.
Mark out 16 x 20 inch frame with masking tape on
18 x 24 inch bond paper from drawing pad.

Materials:
Use a combination of graphite and a variety of mediums.

Aims:
The aim of this exercise is to create a direct route of
communication between your two hands.

You will close your eyes, touch, feel, and explore your
face with one hand and respond with graphite and other
medium marks made by the other hand. What is important
here is that the hand that makes the mark with the graphite
or other media moves simultaneously, is in sync with, and
responds to, the hand that is exploring your face. The fingers
that are touching the face are the metaphorical equivalent
of a blind person's eyes. Tactile information is being converted
into visual information. You will begin to make and recognise
interesting marks that are made in response to hapic sensation.

     

Method:

1_Attach your drawing paper to a board, or have your drawing pad and media in an accessible place.

2_Register in your mind where everything is, and measure out your tape frame (16x20 inches) on your 18x24 inch drawing paper.

3_You are going to start by drawing your mouth, and so place your drawing hand and choice of media on the paper in the place you think that if you were drawing a portrait, the mouth might be.

4_Close your eyes.

5_With your other hand, explore you mouth, and use a range of pencil marks that are made with your drawing hand to describe what your touching hand is feeling. It should be simultaneous and synchronised response.

6_Try and describe in marks, the range of sensations that your touching hand is feeling - soft rubbery lips, surrounded by unshaven skin/smooth silky skin, fine downy hairs.

7_Put your fingers in your mouth. How do you draw wetness? [you might use wet media] - a slippery warm textured tongue, hard sharp teeth?

8_Push and pull, twist and turn the pencil. Press firmly, or press gently, in order to produce a variety of thicker, thinner, darker, lighter marks.

9_Make dots, dashes, smudges - whatever marks you feel best describe what you are touching.

10_When you have explored teh mouth, slowly move the pencil to your nose, eyes, brows, hair, and find a way to an ear, across to the other ear and down to the chin.

11_Change pencils and mediums as you feel is appropriate.


Result
Your drawing should show a sensitive response to touch and contain a range of interesting felt marks

What is important in this drawing is the synchronised route of communication being made between the two hands, and the transfer and coding of one sort of information [touch], into another [visible marks].