Here’s an art challenge to everyone: get better at self portraits. Here are the rules:
- Time limit is 15 minutes.
- Paper size is sketchbook size (roughly letter size).
- Sketchbook must be held in hand while standing up, looking into mirror.
- Use only a pencil and an eraser (nothing fancy).
- Start with toned paper which does not count toward your time limit.
- After time limit, write one new observation about the process on your drawing.
I used this as a warm-up exercise for my high school students in advanced drawing, and everybody got better.
This was partly inspired by a TED Talk by Matt Cutts on trying something new for 30 days – mostly the idea that you can pretty much pull off improving at anything you try for 30 days.
As a challenge, there is one extra rule: post your progress somewhere on the internet. Below are day by day scans of my progress.
day 1 observation: the particular angle of the bridge of my nose as it casts a shadow near the corner of my eye
day 2 observation: the angle of the hair around my face
day 3 observation: the shape of the white space of my eyes
day 4 observation: under the eyes: there’s not just a shadow; there’s a little highlight at the bottom of the shadow
day 5 observation: the exterior shape of the hair & beard
day 6 observation: the relation (distance) of face parts to the centerline of a 3/4 view
day 7 observation: proportion of iris size to face
day 8 observation: proportion of philtrum to nose / lips
day 9 observation: a highlight appears under the eye when you smile.
day 10 observation: the value of the lips – what does this match?
day 11 observation: the angle of the nose when the face is turned
day 12 observation: distance from bottom of eyebrow to top of eyelid
day 13 observation: distance between the eyes!
day 14 observation: use the hair & clothing as a warm-up.