Self Portraits Selfie, Fine arts style

A self-portrait at its most basic is a simple likeness. Historically, artists used self-portraits as a kind of calling card, attesting to their ability to capture a likeness and giving a sense of their capabilities. And, self-portraits are convenient exercises because the model is always available and works for free. But a self-portrait can evoke and reveal much more when taken beyond the bounds of straightforward exercise.

Self-portraiture is an expressive outlet that can lead an artist down many different roads. But a successful self-portrait, like any other piece of art, starts with a meaningful, sincere idea from the artist. What is being said about the artist. Self-expression isn’t any one thing. It can be geared toward a realistic depiction of your face or less so. Most of all, artists need to push to design and imagine without limits, strengthening their own creative points of view

Throughout history self portraiture has been a consistant genre in the arts. Follow these two links and learn how artists used their image and how the "selfie" has evolved. As you go through these finds one artist (or more) that you response to. Note the name and research further.

POST: What is it that you relate to in this portrait? What techniques can you borrow to integrate into your work. Is it something technical, like composition, or expressive, the feeling you get from the work. In a paragraph, write a detailed analysis of the work.

PRACTICE and POST: Watch the videos on Proportions and Do's and Don'ts. In your sketchbook create 3 portrait studies. Change angles and composition in each. If you need help on specific features watch those videos as well. The purpose of this is twofold: one, practice, two finding a composition for your final portrait study.

I really like YouTuber and artist Proko for solid drawing advice. If you want to learn more about specific features watch this series of tutorials. He includes both anatomy of, and drawing of, video, you may be able to skip the anatomy for now but knowing anatomy will definitely inform your drawing. Watch and practice, the more time you invest the better you will become.

Get Inspired. Look at some student work. See how the self portrait can evolve.

CREATE: Now it's YOUR turn.

Take the time to draw yourself from a mirror, the results will be worth it. The goal is not to create drawings that look like xeroxes of photographs. Instead, see how you can create a unique idea through drawing, whether it’s through a narrative, the mood, atmosphere, emotion, etc. through drawing. Consider what kind of visual effects you can create with pencil and value that are not possible in a photograph.

Keep in mind that drawing yourself from a mirror is a starting point. Although your drawing is realistic and should have accurate proportions, you can still get creative. Try out unusual compositions, unusual angles or experiment with a dramatic drawing style.


Have a solid compoitional study.

Take a photo of yourself in that positon for REFERENCE. You will NOT be drawing from the photo but from a mirror or your iPad camera. When you are struggling with proportions sometimes a photo is helpful.

Layout page FILLING the space. Background is an equal part of your composition.

Place features and begin to add shadow. There should be a full range of values in your finished work.

Here are 3 STS examples in various degrees of doneness. This will give you a sense of the quality that should be attained. This will only happen through focus and careful observation. 90% of the work is in looking.


Composition, does it fill and activate the page? Was attention paid to the placement of features in proper proportion? Did you create the illusion of volume through value? Did you have the perserverance to stick with this and carefully craft the image? Does your portrait tell something about you?


CREATING: CR1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. CR2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. CR3. Refine and complete artistic work.

PRESENTING: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. PR 5

RESPONDING: Perceive and analyze artistic work. RE 7,

CONNECTING: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art. CN 10


Created with images by CarlottaSilvestrini - "eye the framework painting"

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