I could almost be justified in making the claim of being a self taught artist. It’s certainly true I have been drawing ever since I can remember. Many who know me would say I had natural ability. I would say I have natural inclination toward and enjoyment for drawing. But over the years I have learnt much from others on courses, through dvd’s, books and online videos. So in truth I can not claim to be self taught but neither am I attelier trained nor did I attend art school. My talent for drawing, if we are going to call it that, developed from an early age with my interest in copying. I enjoyed copying cartoon characters and didn’t find it too difficult to achieve a reasonable likeness; when there was difficulty I persevered because of my love for drawing. There certainly were times of frustration, particularly when trying to produce a large scale drawing from a small scale reference. Occassionally my drawings would outgrow the size of the paper I was working on (see Pinnochio), as I erased and corrected, adjusted and readjusted all in the name of perfection! No such issues now as I use a grid for accuracy and 50 years experience.
So I can claim to be a self taught copyist but a copyist is not the same as an artist. As an artist I do not want to copy but interpret an image through the lens of creativity and feeling. As an experienced copyist however, I can be confident in achieving a believable likeness. As an artist I can be confident in creating somhing new; a portrait which is both instantly recognisable but different, better and of greater artistic value than the original reference. It is in my copyist nature to portray a photo image exactly as I see it. As an artist however, it is in my creative nature to draw a portrait imbued with life as I feel it!