Self-portrait of my inner chimp

Here's a drawing from 2015, I chose to draw this after reading a great book. It's called The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters.

The book is around mind management, the main analogy throughout is how we have an inner chimp that can sometimes run riot. It's a highly rated book that I'd recommend even if you're perfect and aren't interested in managing your mind.

It's surprising how much you recognise of the concepts when observing others, especially if they're in a stressful situation.

Now the real trick is if you're not always in total control (yeah yeah, I know you're perfect) and can spot your own inner chimp acting up. It's easier to spot after the event but if you can spot him before, and even better, change his actions and thus your own – then you'll really be winning.

Anyway, enough of the book review, this is an art blog. I drew this over the space of a few sessions. I wanted the highlights in the eyes to stand out as the whitest part of the picture so I started off with a very basic outline. After that I covered the whole paper with light pencil shading apart from the eyes.

I didn't know if I'd be able to do the eyes satisfactorily so they were the first things to draw. The idea being that if they didn't turn out well then the whole thing was heading for the bin.

Once happy with that it was a case of building up the fur and wrinkles. Again I chose to do whatever I thought would be hardest first. Something that was tricky was when it came to doing the white hairs, I took the approach of trying to keep in mind where I wanted them and ensuring I didn't draw over that area.

I don't mind telling you that was pretty painstaking. If I were to do it again I'd lose the snobbishness about "I refuse to use an eraser" and I'd draw in those white hairs and probably the eye highlights with a putty eraser. However I suppose it was handy practice as I usually draw straight to ink and have definitely used the same avoidance technique when erasing simply isn't an option.

I have shown this picture to a professional artist for some critique. He liked it but said he'd prefer to have seen the shading on both sides of the face the same value. I can see where he's coming from but I had it in mind that the light source was from the right and above, note the eye reflections and under the mouth. But then again he's been in the game for a long while, doing commissions for some very famous people and well paid so I was very grateful for his input. What do you think? Have another go at it maybe?


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