Silverpoint Self-Portrait – Work in Progress

Silverpoint is an ancient drawing technique used by artists in medieval times, but is new to me.
I have a tiny silver wire attached to a pencil.
When dragging it across an abrasive surface (such as paper covered with white gouache) the wire leaves a microscopic trace of silver.
It looks pretty much the same as a pencil but is cooler, since the silver will oxidize over time and become darker.
Another difference is that it cannot be erased.

I have started drawing a silverpoint self-portrait as a home assignment in a drawing class I am taking.
Because the trace is very thin, usually silverpoint drawings are quite small, the portrait below is about 10x10cm.
It is going to be a long process so I am posting a result of about 3 hours of drawing

Ok, this is me. I think I am getting old…


Categories: PortraitsTags: , , ,


  1. Very nice work. I’ve heard that silverpoint is hard because it can’t be erased, so I’ve never tried it, but I think there’s a really unique quality to results like this. 🙂

    • Thanks , Cavepainter! The trace is very thin, so if you don’t like it you can reinstate and draw over it. I want be seen too much. So far I didn’t want to erase anything. Usually I draw in ink, which has the same property so I am not intimidated by it. But I do draw in the air before I draw on a surface just to imagine the line that I am going to draw.

  2. Hey Lena,

    Excellent likeness – so that’s why you weren’t answering your phone last night!

    J Susan

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