Course 1, Diary 8: Self-portrait Part 4 & Subvert Part 1


The next topic was making a subvert. Others started to move on to that and I took my black pencil and started to color the background. For the sake of keeping broken parts on chains visible in the dark, I added more blood to them. By the end of the lesson I was ready and I tried to take a good picture of the result. The light in the classroom is not very good in addition to my phone’s camera being quite bad, so I did not get very good pictures. I did what I could to improve the quality with Gimp, but I could not do enough. In addition to that the paper crumbled a bit in my backpack (I did not want to fold it so I could not put it to a binder). It’s too bad, really.


Now that his is ready, I want to tell you guys what this represents. And here it comes in italic. I have to warn you, that this is a rant.

Like someone who reads this may already know, I have been bullied in my life. Things have been difficult and many scars have been left even though one cannot see them. I still am maybe even more wary than I should about telling some things about myself to people I don’t know. It did not do any good back when this all happened, not at all. It just made the things worse, I believe. Even though I’ve got friends I see daily at school or with whom I talk via the internet, even though I have gained a lot of courage and self-esteem, it does not make anything undone. It does not erase the scars, it does not make those things fade away. Memories can fade, and I admit that my bad memory has lost a lot of those things, but some things stay in mind. Some things I can’t forget. And what’s more, the traces it has left stick forever.


Outside, I am not a very beautiful person. I am not the beauty you see in an advertisement or at fashion shows. I acknowledge this and I don’t mind. Please, don’t get me wrong: I don’t think I am ugly. I am something between these two. And, of course, this is a very subjective thing. But inside this skin that covers everything starting with the fingers that press the keys which tell the computer to add certain letters to the text that is formed on Word, is something that is more beautiful than the shell. This is why I drew myself more beautiful than I look like.


The girl in the picture is me. That’s simple. The chains represent the bullying. I have been chained, imprisoned, stopped from doing things or going to certain places. It metaphorically represents that. The broken skin that has come from fighting against the chains is the scars I carry. The blood that is bleeding out of the spots previously covered with skin is the hurt I’ve been inflicted to. The shady forms that laugh, that whisper to each other while holding the chains are those who have hurt me, who have wanted to harm me, to degrade me. There is blood on the chains, but those chains have been broken. I am no longer chained by these people who don’t accept me the way I am. It has hurt, but I have broken away. I am putting the darkness of those bad times behind my back. I am walking into the light, and I am not going to turn back. I am not going to even look back, and I am determined to stay in this decision. This maybe even obstinate determination is what shows on my face.


This is part of who I am. This is the symbolic meaning of this self-portrait.

I did manage to get the idea to my subvert. We have the option of making it on a computer. The school’s own computers have only Microsoft Paint, which I have not used for a long time, as I moved to Gimp as I started to make art on my own time. Gimp can be difficult to use, but I think it is worth it. I have compared my MS Paint works to those I’ve made with Gimp, and there is a huge difference in quality.

For these reasons I am going to do this subvert on my own laptop – on my free time, of course.

Course 1, Diary 7: Self-portrait Part 3


A new Monday after the holiday. It really is good to begin your school week after the autumn holiday (and normally) with a double lesson of visual arts. I was ready to continue my self-portrait (I believe I had too much inspiration left from continuing a personal project of mine on Sunday). I had to finish the outlines, and I did that.


I took a look at what I had done and I did notice that many outlines needed to be strengthened. I began to do that, but I did not manage to finish it.

On Tuesday I did manage to get the outlines strengthened and I could start to color the picture. I think that the sharper lines are visible in the picture I took.

Ääriviivat tiistai

I had bought my colored pencils with the thought that they would be the color they seemed to have. I needed them for some personal projects. When I began coloring starting with the skin, I ultimately noticed that I had been wrong about the colors. And that skin-colored pencil was the reason I had bought that pack. Not good, not good. Those colored pencils are some wood-less colored pencils which even I could snap with my hands (I have a similar pencil; I’ve snapped it to a few pieces). They were a bad choice, I think, but I will keep on with them as long as they last or at least are enough for my works.

This truly is why I prefer making my art on my computer rather than on paper. I don’t have the issue of not having the exact color I need on the programs I use. The problem with programs is that getting the right hue can be difficult.

Enough about this topic. Half of the students have finished the self-portraits, so we are moving on while those who have their self-portrait in progress can continue their work. I decided to take my paper with me and finish coloring as I had some spare time right after school. I also did feel a bit like I was getting behind.

I took a better look at the face and thought about what this picture represents. I realized that anger did not belong there. I needed some stubbornness, something that made “me” look like I could say: “Now I am walking this way and you have nothing to say about it!” Therefore I took a selfie for some slight reference and changed the mouth.


After making this the way I deemed good enough, I returned back to coloring. In the evening I got it this far. I decided to leave the background blank and ask some people at the class on the next day if it needed something there. However, very late at night I suddenly got an idea: making most of the background dark and leave some of the bottom white. For me it had a very fitting symbolic meaning, so I put the idea on my phone to the same text file I had put the homework to. I knew that I would not remember it otherwise in the morning anymore — that has happened to me many times before.


What was that homework? We had to pick something (TV, newspaper, social media, etc.) and pay attention to the advertisements and tell on the next lesson about an ad which we could remember the next day. I admit that I forgot it and then remembered it when I checked the user interface my school uses for marking absences, courses and so on. The homework had been marked there by the teacher and as that was the evening, all I could do was to make a makeshift thing and wander around Youtube, paying more attention to the ads than just the normal “skip after 5 seconds”. I wrote a couple of them down on my phone. I told the one I encountered first and a couple of times after that on Wednesday’s lesson then. It was simple enough.

Course 1, Diary 6: Self-portrait Part 2


Like I said in the previous journal entry, I discarded the idea I had gotten. This decision came after the lesson as I thought about a rough idea I have had for some time. I have wanted to do it for a good while, but I haven’t had time for it. I decided that I would do it as my self-portrait. The resolution to make this picture right now most likely this came from the fact that I am, once again, facing the picture’s depicted problem. It really aggravates me, but I am not going to fall. And actually this issue I am currently facing has lead me to think even deeper about two of my original characters I’ve made for a fanfiction of mine. What I realized was actually astonishing.

But enough about that, I am sidetracking here!

The picture I started to make is a full-body picture, and the pose of “me” in it – it really doesn’t look like me at all, honestly! – is quite easy for me, so I did not have to get any reference pictures (my collage will be enough if ever needed for this one). I am making it – especially its details – while drawing. By Thursday I had drawn most of “myself” there, but it’s still in progress. Due to this Friday being a special day (corvée) we don’t have an arts lesson then. However the teacher said that we have plenty of time to do our self-portraits, so I did not take my picture with me for autumn holiday.

Once I have finished the picture’s outlines, I will post a photo of it along a course diary entry. But not now because it’s not finished enough.

I do hope I will make it ok.

Course 1, Diary 5: Self-portrait Part 1


The presentations have been given. Now it was time to move on to the next topic: making a self-portrait.

As was expected, everyone got horrified. “I can’t draw!” many – including me – said. But we are in luck: we can choose any style of modern art or modernism. The portrait does not even need to look like us. And indeed I am not making one that looks like me just to keep my drawing skills from making me look even worse.

The music class is right next to visual arts class, and the music can be heard well through the wall even in the middle of the arts classroom. So I decided to make my self-portrait one where I listen to music. It was going to be a dark picture, telling something about silence and peacefulness. I wanted some feeling to it. So my choice was symbolism. I thought of drawing either a Jedi tunic or an aikido outfit on me (even though most of what was to be seen in the picture was my head).


This is what I drew. I think it went ok. However, like the cross over it indicates, this idea has been discarded. So the picture of me I used as a reference is now useless. I’m drawing a new one on the other side of the paper.

Maybe I’ll finish that picture someday in some form. Who knows?

If I am using a picture for that, I do need to wear different clothing in it than what I wore during taking the original picture, though…

We were given questions we have to answer. Now I am making a small writing to answer them.

At first I was worried about making this self-portrait thing, but when I heard that it does not have to represent the person who has made it, I relaxed. Of course my original idea could have been a good face study, but using my own face? I’m not really into that.

So I did not want to make it look like me. I had to choose a style which did not require realistic drawing. I first thought of using a style which name I don’t recall now, but my teacher reminded me about symbolism when I told her about wanting to have the emotion coming from my picture, so it became my choice. And symbolism is even clearer choice for the idea I am going to execute for this self-portrait, so that’s it.