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self portrait drawing by arminmersmann self portrait drawing by arminmersmann
9 x 6

Fifty-four Trips Around the Sun

This is the smallest portrait drawing I have ever done; its the size of a hand. Most of my work is huge (four to five foot) I had to really draw in a different manner which took time to get used to. What fascinated me was the hand, I was pinching a black cloth with my thumb and forefinger giving it an almost arthritic look and the bald head was great to draw and l liked the look, but my wife hated it so now I have long hair again.

Here is the size example


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erwinpineda Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Amazing work.:D
JimmiGilbi Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have to agree, a very interesting pose. I think it has to be really when doing your self portrait. Took me sometime to choose my references and which pose I liked.

Hands are on the top of my list to start studying.

My Selfie and first I might add. Thoughts and opinion is much appreciated :-)

bluepainthorse Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I enjoy the subtlety of this, as a self-portrait... extremely well done. Did you use mirrors? Or a photo? Just curious, I am working on a self portrait now, from a photo, but much as you have mentioned, it's hard not to alter it too much through the psyche. The details you offer are stunning!
arminmersmann Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
i use both all the time but here because of the pose 80% photo, but many photos
bluepainthorse Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, that makes sense. I'm using several in my self portrait, but I've got other elements involved. I love how your pose engages the eye, not a 'typical' face-forward pose. My hat is off to you! :)
Maaro Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
u know i like small drawing i don't know why people amaze just with the big ones
even the small drawing is hard
i like the hand and the hair in the arm
how did u make the background ??
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
i like the small ones as well a matter of fact its quite hard to draw this small, the back is drawn with ten layers of graphite with a very small .3 mechanical pencil
fawad87 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Student
its very hard for me to believe; is it a drawing,really ?
this is excellent!
I can call it perfect,yes its perfect...
Dangrace Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
Amazing work.
Superfreshhh Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
I love this one. It reminds me of a gallery I went to with my sixth form art class in 1998 which was of the most real picture I'd ever seen. I went inches away from it and was still struggling to believe it was a painting. This is so amazing as well. Your talent is perfect Armin.
Sylvanwoods Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Simply astounding. I cannot conceive of the patience (not to mention talent) it must take to do this on such a scale (4 or 5 feet).
arminmersmann Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
this one is only 9 x 6 inches not much bigger then whats on the screen, not the tree one in doing thas 45" x 85" and that a monster
Michael-Sherman Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
it makes for a strange allusion to duhrer's hands. Of course alot of those learly renaissanse hands seem to capture that slightly spasmodic affectation.

interesting grouping of fingers, also, the index usualy pulls away from the middle and ring fingers
jjkiefer Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just want to click on the zoom button to check out the detail! Old habits die hard when view your master works! It has a Renaissance look and feel to it. Thanks for sharing!
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
its not any bigger then the image on your screen so its kind of like you see it
jjkiefer Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, I know! That's what makes it so fascinating to me. Did you use 0.3 pencils on it?
orinoco1973 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Excellent as always
Vladimir12908 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
You have hands of gold and a magic pencil!! Your work is beautiful!
BurntBrightSky Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
Spectacular. So small yet so powerful.
Hallucinogenius Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011
lovely. are allusions to Schiele in the hands unintentional?
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
not really but my grandmother last name was that's connected i never checked
agfox49 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011
Nice, great detail, even down to hairs on arm ... knocks mine well into the long grass!
alititch Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2011
Excellent !
vedrana7 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
great drawing
fengarm Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2011
Very well executed piece one has to admit. The choice of average contrast gives the drawing a kind of mysterious look. Expression of the face is really deep and well captured.

Technique is, of course, excellent as always, but seems to be different from your other drawings. Maybe it's because of the size. Gentle tone changes on the skin are extraordinary well done. Did you use circulism as the technique of drawing skin on that piece or something else?

The way you hid your artist sign in that drawing is just brilliant. I'm curious about that sign though and have wondered sometimes what that symbol means to you?

Keep up the flawless work!
swear-by-the-pencil Featured By Owner May 23, 2011
wow thats neatly done for that size. exceptional work and exceptional patience. I have to ask though, what paper did you use for this and what sort of pencil, the usual, mechanical ?

arminmersmann Featured By Owner May 26, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I used Strathmore 500 and Graphgear 1000 mechanical pencils


swear-by-the-pencil Featured By Owner May 26, 2011
ah sweet, strathmore 500 hot pressed? will keep a look out for those pencils.

thanks for the information :D
tajus Featured By Owner May 22, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Excellent job! I like this execution, bravo:clap:
Ihabiano Featured By Owner May 18, 2011
Dear Armin,

if only one person in 2011 deserves to have hands and eyes, it'd be you

You are a star... you don't have to do anything... existing is enough to lighten the others, beginning with me.

people like you create a physical heaven to observe! You are a God.

Thanks for DA that gave me the honor to observe and learn from your works :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
arminmersmann Featured By Owner May 19, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
thank you Ihab thats very nice or you to say!

BrokenViolet Featured By Owner May 12, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I love this portrait a lot, from the small details in it to the pose and angle. all look really great!
masterpiece! :nod:
TinasArtwork Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011   Traditional Artist
It's amazing ... WOW .... ;)
sebc Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Hi Nimra,
Could you please tell us what pencils you use? I have 8B graphite pencils that still don't give that "blackness"
rickcorbett Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Armin, you have been a huge inspiration to me as well as others. It's always a pleasure to see your work. This is another amazing piece. The deep shadows and the use of light is just amazing. The textures alone are awe inspiring.

I am one who blends with a tool. I can't seem to use circulism or blend with just a pencil. It doesn't seem natural to me. I always end up going back to a tortillion, tissue, q-tip....whatever gets the job done. You have always encouraged me and supported me. I thrive to one day try to reach your level of realism. Perhaps I never will but I will always continue to try.

You are a Modern Master in my opinion and this piece is an example of absolute perfection when it comes to texture, light, and shadow in my humble opinion.
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Ricky I appreciate the good words. That’s why those tools exist some can use them and they work great other fail with them. The is a book coming out soon by Deb Rockman (this is her third) in it she talks about my work and how I go against the academic teachings and make it work, in the end that’s what counts. And you work is great by the way
ichris2010 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your smallest drawing is the size of my biggest. This is really very good by the way.
jasonnuttall Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011
Much foxier with hair. I agree with the wife
dominus-nox89 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
thats pretty amazing.
i love the dark areas how do you get it so dark? lots of very sharp 9b or charcoal?

"fifty-four trips round the sun"
ive never really thought of it like that, i like it.
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
2b is the softest i use, softer changes the temperature and charcoal i just hate it. its the layers that make it dark eight of them

dominus-nox89 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2011
thanks, some very enlightening bit of info there.
Forest-of-Blades Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
Achieving such precision is just supranatural. On the other hand, I am familiar with the quality of your work, so what else did I expect?
The bald head, with its stern, cold and distant expression impresses me even more than the hand, but it's just an opinion. The hair on the arm is brilliant as well.
This small one must have been a lot quicker to get done... Would you tell how many hours you spent on this?
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
it took 50 hours to do much of that was the background thought for to get that black its many layers

thank you!
Suspicise Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2011   Traditional Artist
I've been trying to get this kind of subtlety in my work for years now. This is just beautiful.
paullung Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can't tell how I love your work SIR!!!
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Paul thank you, i feel the same about your work!

killaby Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
I think this speaks volumes Armin. In fact when I first saw you pictured actually drawing it was really fascinating to see and how small it was. I had to look at it twice. Admittion...I was curious about the bald head.....reminds me of Telly Savalas. What's next? a lollipop? :)
arminmersmann Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
well im on a diet so no lollipops so i grew my hair back actually its the longest its been since i had to the middle of my back in the hippy days. nice to see you doing such great work as always Maureen.

killaby Featured By Owner May 23, 2011
thanks Armin! I'm on a diet too.....serious one. Gotta lose 40 lbs. sucks because I cook all the good stuff and he eats it all.
the-ifman Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
beautiful. amazing.
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Submitted on
March 21, 2011
Image Size
185 KB


14,949 (2 today)
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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/1600 second
Focal Length
135 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Mar 21, 2011, 9:25:58 AM
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows