Lifebook Self-portrait (kind-of!)

These were from lesson 5 of Lifebook 2012. Anna and I did them only a few weeks “late”–in late February. I’m finally getting around to sharing the process here:

First we each had to choose a photo of ourselves that we liked. It needed to be a close-up of the face. I cropped a photo I like and we used Anna’s sassy school photo from this past fall. Each photo was printed in black-and-white in reverse format which we then cut out to being just the face-shape.

step 1

background preparation

Next we prepped the background. We glued on a face-shaped piece of flesh-colored paper, then collaged torn pieces of scrapbook paper to make a colorful background.

step 2

getting ready to glue on the “face”

Next we “painted” over the background paper face shape with gel-medium and put the b&w copy over it. This had to be rubbed and rubbed thoroughly with the back of a spoon to make sure every bit of the photo/copy was stuck to the background. We then let it dry overnight.

step 3

exposing the face print

After it was completely dry, we dripped water on the face area and started to rub the white paper off of the background. This took a lot longer and was alot harder than we thought it would be.

step 4

…keep on rubbing…keep on rubbing…

Anna needed some help when her fingers cramped up!

step 5

oops! pieces of me are missing! (and the paper backing still needs to be completely removed from the portrait…)

Once all of the white paper backing was finally rubbed and rolled off, we had the face transferred onto the background. As you see, there were some blank spots where the transfer didn’t stick like it was supposed to.

step 6

adding details back onto the portrait

Next we had to use a pen and add details back onto the portrait. This was harder than it might look and a little terrifying as well. What if we messed it up after all that work?!

step 7

adding whimsy (and no, my hair is not red or curly in real life!)

And then came the fun part. We added cartoon style bodies, fanciful hair, and details such as jewelry and a crown.

step 8

balancing the whimsical portrait with the background…

Anna decided that the her background was too wild—it both took away from her portrait and it would have been hard to write visible words on it. She added a wash of watered down yellow paint to mute the collaged background a little bit.

step 9

adding attributes in alphabetical order

Finally, we added an alphabetical list of our own attributes. That was also a bit of a challenge!

step 10

a close-up view of magical me

Here is a close-up of my final portrait. I really like this part plus the list of characteristics. But I’m not so happy with the muted background and the cartoony body…

step 11

colorful, star-studded ANNA!

I absolutely LOVE Anna’s portrait. Doesn’t it look just like bright, colorful, lively her?!

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