Setting up Your Workspace
- 1Set up a mirror where it’s easy to see. Place it where you can move your head back and forth as little as possible while you draw. A rectangular mirror is preferable, but a circular mirror may be used as well.
- Using a mirror allows you to see what you’re drawing in 3-D, and allows you to adjust your light source as you draw.
- 2Angle the mirror based upon the profile you want to draw. Choose a comfortable pose that you can maintain for a sustained amount of time, as you’ll be using this pose throughout your drawing. Keep your eyes on the mirror roughly 80% of the time as you draw.
- Because you’re drawing what you see in the mirror, you should spend more time looking in the mirror than actually drawing.
- 3Use a photograph in place of a mirror for easier reference. Stand against a plain background that makes your features pop out, such as a solid-colored wall. If you can’t find a solid-colored wall, use a solid-colored drop-cloth to hang in the background. Adjust the lighting to cast shadows you desire.
- Use top-lighting or lighting from above to find more shadows for your photograph.
- Using a photograph gives you a 2-D reference that is easier to use than a mirror. The photo stays in one position, so you can reference the same image many times without adjusting your drawing.
- Drawing from a mirror is more difficult and can help advanced artists improve their skill.
- 4Keep your drawing surface as vertical as possible. Invest in a cheap table easel that has a clip built into it. Use the clip to hold your drawing in a near-vertical position while you sketch.
- The self portrait can become distorted more easily on a flat surface.