In Which I Make a a Stand-up Figure Drawing of Myself...

By Andrew Davidson
on February 25, 2010

I'd found this life sized self portrait I'd done while in art school at Pratt Institute. This was a pencil drawing that captured a much younger me, and even some of my poor fashion choices. I think I did it during my second term freshman foundation drawing class in 1989 or so. I'd rediscovered it on a recent cleaning binge, and decided to put it to use. This drawing has been neglected and rolled up in a corner of my tiny apartment for years.

I'd seen posts about how to make your own stand-up figure using cardboard and an inkjet printer. I was curious as to the method, but dismissed it eventually, cause I simply don't have the ego to produce a stand-up version of me. However, a stand-up drawing of me would be dope!

Let's Turn This Into a Stand-up Figure Drawing of Me!

I'd already purchased two large pieces of foamcore that measured 30" x 40" and was a 1/2" inch thick. In order to make it large enough to be at least 6 feet tall, I'm going to reinforce them to be side by side and insert these wooden dowels inside for stability and strength, and the white sticker paper across the seam to help add continuous strength across the entire seem.

I checked to see if I could simply pierce the dowels into the foamcore and get a firm standing. This didn't work, and ended up jamming about 3 inches in. I needed to 'pre-drill' where the dowels will go, so I pulled out my trusty styrofoam cutter blade, pictured below.

9V Styrofoam Cutter

Using a square as a jig, I prepared each foamcore sheet by melting a tiny hole in the side in 4 equal places.

Once I had my holes in the foam, I simply inserted dowels into one side.

Then laying both sheets of foamcore on a flat surface, I lined them up and pushed them together until they were butted together. I then used the peel and stick sticker sheets to smooth over the seem.

Then, out with a can of spray-tack and a generous helping all over the one side. I then rolled out my drawing on the board, and smoothed it out as I went along. Even though I'm pretty sure I've sealed this drawing years ago, my hands were quickly covered in pencil lead as I worked on this project.

The resulting stiff drawing on a board stood in a corner in my room for weeks while I looked all over for the final tool required to finish this project. It would take a much bigger tool than the lowly xacto blade you might expect to cut this job with....

The Rotozip

This bad boy makes quick work of the entire cut out procedure, as it took under 5 minutes. I found the paper tended to leave a tattered edge, but the foamcore looked great, with a nice defined and crisp edge. Compared to using a sheetrock saw while installing outlet cutouts in drywall, using a rotozip is a breeze! It's feel unwieldy in your hands, mostly cause it's a huge fast gyroscope, and you need to work with it to make turns.

Here's a picture mid-cut, but it's mostly blown out due to the flash. You can barely see the line where I've cut it out.

Here's the final cutout, it could use a trim all around with some tiny scissors to get rid of the fuzzy edges. I might reapply some white glue to all the edges to add some strength to the spray-tack glue holding the paper to the foamcore.

Portrait of the Artist with a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Portrait of the Artist with a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man