145 Portrait of John Dramani Mahama, the president of Ghana


See the article of reference here and the original photo here

The president underlines the importance of not only focusing on material facts concerning the spread of ebola. Instead of focusing on the amount of sick people, hospital beds, available docters, we need to approach it in a more human scale (my own words).

I think the drawing turned out ok, but i do have a huge problem with proportion.. His head turned out much flatter than it is, and i tried to correct it a bit.. I just don’t get why i do not see such important errors straigt on.

Since i started to draw from newsmedia every day, I am beginning to notice the black suits more.. It is strange as a symbol.. I must admit to not knowing much about Ghana or its president, but when you put his portrait beside that of the other suit-bearing guy’s I’ve done, they all appear alike. They’re all wearing the uniform of a common cause, common goals, same importance, same laws, principles.. As if they were all officers of the same organisation. Or so it would appeart.. If I shaved, cut my hair and put on the suit from my wedding and did a self-portrait with a serious facial expression, I would fit in perfectly between Bachar Al-Assad and Barack Obama. We would be three variations of the same subject..

What am i trying to say?.. Nothing really.. But it’s strange how making a drawing of something can make you look at it differently.

0 thoughts on “145 Portrait of John Dramani Mahama, the president of Ghana”

  1. I think this portrait has a strong likeness and is well-seen and well-drawn. I wonder if the flatness you describe is because it’s drawn from a photo. Seeing in three dimensions helps create dimensionality in a drawing. Do you have access to a life drawing class? If you do then I urge you to go along because even if drawing nudes is ultimately not your thing that grounding in drawing the human figure is fantastic practice not just in drawing but also in observing. If continuing to draw from photos, try to select photos with slightly more high key lighting so that the contrast between areas of light and shade help you create that more dimensional quality in your drawing.

    • Thanks! Yes I’m positive that a seeing an object in 3d helps.. I actually think that the proportions in my self portraits (that i drew from a mirror) is better than the proportions in the drawings i did from photos.. Ultimately, I don’t want to draw from photos.. Even though there might be nothing artistically “wrong” with it, i’d like to chose my own angles and settings.. But it’s just way more convinient as for right now to pull something off the internet.. I do try to mix in some “real life” drawing though.. It’s not real figure-drawing, but i find that doing objects, perspectives, self portraits and an ocasional hand helps me to see better… A figure drawing class could be a help, but i’ve just got too many things going on ! Thanks again for your comment!

      • Time is always the enemy. I think you are making fantastic progress. I am sure that if you look at your earliest sketches and compare them to your recent ones you will see how far you have come already.

  2. I agree about both the value of a life drawing class, and not having time…perhaps one of your friends would agree to sit for you? I remember many a drawing class in middle and high school where we had to draw the person sitting across from us. But I also think there is value in drawing from any source, and I like newspaper photos because they are so indefinite. Unless you’re trying to be a society portrait painter, I think the artist’s interpretation is most important, not a photographic reproduction in pencil or paint. You often see a truer rendering (as is your drawing of Mitch McConnell).

    • I agree – I really admire those 20-hour fotorealistic drawings that you sometimes see, it’s the mastery of a craft, and it’s impressive.. But to me, it’s a wate of 20 hours. I have a camera that can do the same in 1/30th of a second.. And even better… The quality of drawing (or painting, etc) is that you can add and subtract.. And then it’s all the hidden traces that you leave behind you.. Van Gogh’s brush strokes are highly recognisable – even if he’s true to what he sees, it goes through the van-gogh filter, and thats a subtraction of reality but also an addition. Had he just taken a photo of the same scene, it would be boring.. My goal is to master the craft – if i can reproduce how it really is, it should also better my ability to adjust and modify. His forehead got a little too flat, and it’s not because i see him that way, but because i saw him wrongly.. I’d prefer to be more in charge of my drawings 😉


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