Many artists throughout the years have been creating self-portraits. There is a good reason for this. It is not drawings or paintings that will ever sell. Well not while we are alive or until we are famous anyway.

But learning to be a great artist requires tons of practice. All you need is a mirror, your medium and a surface. It teaches you to see, really well.

Vincent Van Gogh created 30 self-portraits in his short lifetime. How many have you made?

Have you ever looked at a self-portrait and wondered why it never looks like you do in photos, but you know that you drew it correctly?

Well, first of all, do you realise that the person, whom you see in the mirror, is not the person that a camera sees or who anyone else sees, for that matter?

The best way to explain this to you is to show it to you.

I have a lazy eye. It’s my right eye. When you look at me, this is what you see

This is what you see

This is what I see in a mirror

If I were to mirror my portraits, by just flipping the photograph of my portrait around, you would probably find it a little more recognizable, but when you look at my drawn portrait, you are looking at a mirror image of my face.

I have seen artists drawing with a double mirror. The one in front of them captures their image and reflects that image in a mirror behind the artist, who then creates a portrait from the mirror behind by looking at the reflected image in the mirror behind them.

I used Bend-jamin to show you what I mean.

Seems like quite a job, but would be interesting to try this. 

Our faces are generally symmetrical, which is why it doesn’t make too much difference, however, it’s a great observation, don’t you think? When you have completed your portrait, try holding it to a mirror and see what I mean.

Here is a portrait that I did yesterday. I scanned it and then mirrored the image so you can see what it looks like.

What I see in a mirror is on the left. What you see is on the right

Like you, and every artist out there, I am still learning. I’ve just been learning for a long time! I am loving this challenge. I usually take anything from 45 minutes to an hour to complete a drawing. I don’t watch the clock, I just work. It is my goal to do a drawing a day (sometimes more). I started these challenges in October, and I plan to continue for a year, or two, or ten!

 

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