Why is it so difficult to draw a self portrait? - Page 2

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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Interceptor View Post
    That's good if you're doing a grade 7 art project. But I think spending that much time to do a portrait everytime is pretty silly. That's so much less about using your eyes and visual reasoning than it is just math. I think you'd be better served to learn how to train your eye and brain you just honestly replicae what you see without the use of gruds and numbers.
    Foundation learning maybe? Who said to do that every time?

    Though the grid technique is done by some for their work.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by el coro View Post
    its because you have a self image, of what you think you look like, which is usually not exactly what you look like. its the same way when you hear your voice recorded, alot of times it doesnt sound like you think you sound....working representationally means you need to turn off your subconscious opinions about how you think things look, and try to concentrate on the analyticals of how they actually look. slef portrait are by far the most difficult to do. my advice it so measure and get the spacing and placement of the features right. spend your time...and be honest with yourself.
    the more hte picture makes you uncomfortable, the more it probably look slike you

    rendering out the forms matters alot less than getting the proportions correct if you're going for likeness. hope this helps.
    What Coro said.

    Or maybe you're just funny looking .


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  5. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    Most protraits are started with grids. Take a photo of yourself with a polaroid or even a digital, get it developed to a good 8 by 11. and red-line grid the whole thing out. transfer said grid to a good stock paper, and follow the grid.
    Take a look in the self portrait section, none of us use grids, and some of the guys there are really good.

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  7. #35
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    you can start by considering that every thing you draw comes from THE self and is a portrait of where you are at. once you realize that its all an outer reflection you just need to work backwards.

    the mirror if the most sophisticated real-time technology we have for self obeservation.

    spend twice as much time looking yourself in the mirror than the paper,

    you are developing a new visual relationship with yourself, and all relationships can be challenging.

    it comes with more ease the moment you decide to let go... and it starts the moment you allow it to.

    don't forget to enjoy the mystery.


    continue until it becomes impossible......

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  9. #36
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    This is one of the rare times I envy people with straight hair.

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  11. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    Foundation learning maybe? Who said to do that every time?

    Though the grid technique is done by some for their work.
    It sounds like a crutch.

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  12. #38
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    I also find it nearly impossible to draw a self portrait. It comes out looking like a 5 year old did it lol

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  13. #39
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    Anyone who has a grudge against gridding, or thinks it's a crutch, please tell me here that you have NEVER used UNDO on the computer. In fact, why stop there? Scanners are obvious crutches, too, if you want to get petty about it. Tell me you've never used one of those, either.

    Bluntly, if you don't know why there are many legitimate ways to capture an accurate likeness when plotting out a painting or drawing, then you still have a lot to learn, and I don't care how professional or well-educated you think you are...

    A Portrait is supposed to be a recognizable depiction of a particular person (otherwise, it's a failure...). How you arrive at that is up to you. If you personally have trouble with proportions, or are just starting to learn how to "see" properly and translate that image to paper, you should use any method short of one that CHEATS (tracing, overpainting/overdrawing a photo, etc.). To disparage time-honored techniques that you have decided are personally beneath you is just simple elitism, pure and simple. Sorry, but not all of us have your incredible (apparently) spontaneous skills. We had to learn it through a lot of effort.

    For the record, producing a GOOD portrait is extremely difficult. Putting obstacles, some of them imaginary, in front of yourself while attempting a portrait is either stupidity or hubris on a grand scale

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krato View Post
    What makes drawing self portraits so hard? I can draw my teachers/classmates just fine, but when it comes to self portraits almost all of my pictures look awful.

    Am i the only person who finds these difficult?

    Its a common problem > narcissism lol

    just kidding.

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  16. #41
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    Ilaekae, thank you.

    Someone gets it.

    The obvious lack of comprehension here, is astounding.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  17. #42
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    Get over yourself.

    And Ilaekae / OmenSpirits, no one was calling it a CRUTCH
    Just saying it's an strange approach to something that could be much more organic.
    If that's how you roll, cool. But I want to offer the opinion that you dont have to approach your personal art education the
    same way you would in a highschool arts and crafts class.

    Last edited by Interceptor; August 25th, 2009 at 03:14 PM.
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  19. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjerk View Post
    It sounds like a crutch.
    And Ilaekae / OmenSpirits, no one was calling it a CRUTCH
    really?

    And for the OP, http://www.portrait-artist.org/basics/newbie3.html this may help with drawing yourself.

    Last edited by OmenSpirits; August 25th, 2009 at 04:12 PM.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  20. #44
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    Well, I can't be responsible for everyone.

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  22. #45
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    lol

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  23. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    Anyone who has a grudge against gridding, or thinks it's a crutch...
    I learned something new today.



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  24. #47
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    Hey thanks for the comments guys, i noticed that this is becoming an argument thread over grids though..

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  25. #48
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    I hope I didn't incorrectly imply that the method was "beneath" me, but it just seems like a suboptimal method to sitting down in front of a mirror/model and drawing/painting. If that method is what gets you drawing or painting, though, then go for it.

    I'm sorry if I personally offended someone here. It wasn't my intention.

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  26. #49
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    I don't think anyone was trying to offend anyone else, though I might have because I tend to be blunt when i run into nitty-picky. My apologies if I did.

    I discovered something odd early on, which is why I brought up the grid being useful... Many people feel comfortable drawing "spontaneously," so to speak, at a particular size that's comfortable for them. They get proportions right, the dimensions are what they should be in relation to each other, etc., but it's not the size they needed (way too small, usually...). If they try to redo the same sketch larger, they lose the likeness. Also, trying to translate this tiny "complete" sketch up with a grid or projector always looked forced, because it was obvious that the strokes were not in proper context, so the redraw looked stiff or like a forced "tracing," for want of a better term. The thing to do here is capture the minimal proportions and points that determine the likeness, and grid THAT up as a guide to sketch the details and refinements over. That way, you have the best of both worlds.

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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  27. #50
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    It`s not an argument. It`s a heated debate, it`s how we roll here at CA.

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  28. #51
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    No argument here.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  29. #52
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    In terms of completing a project, especially a largescale one, on time, grids are fine. The Great Wall of LA, a mural, was all done with grids to save money on paint, and time on labor. Image projection/tracing is alright too, when you're working that large, at least as a starting point.

    In terms of learning, I suppose the grid method still helps, but it's limiting, and I think it's best in extreme cases. I've seen students that struggle incredibly with proportion, finding it impossible to even draw a figure from a photo, even with me describing each line step-by-step. I've also seen kids get confused by the grid process and mess up - sometimes the paper will have more rows and collumns than the photo, or the features will be in the wrong square, etc. (Quick note - Betty Edwards suggests simplifying the grid itself so it's easier to match segments (just one vertical and one horizontal, through the middle). Some students have their own ideas of form so ingrained that a grid is necessary to open their eyes, and realize what they're really looking at.

    I think, in some extreme cases it wouldn't hurt to draw a figure from a photo. Then cut it out and turn it around, and only draw the sillouette. Then turn it around again, and try again. Things like that. Or give an object, and have them turn it around in their hands again and again, till they really understand it. Then draw it. But, as a student, to really learn form, you want to move beyond this.

    Once you've trained your eye to work as a ruler, than things like this aren't so necessary, except in cases as stated above. Grids are a crutch, just like rulers and compasses, but who cares? If learning's what your after then the end result of each piece doesn't matter, it's what you get from it. If you're starting a special project, either for a friend, or the public, or what have you, then the finished product is what matters, not the specific process you used.

    Last edited by TASmith; August 26th, 2009 at 03:54 PM.
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  31. #53
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    Grids become an absolute necessity in two other areas (other than enlargement)--when a painting is being done from a detailed sketch or photo ref of a subject that is so complex that it's impossible to reproduce accurately (involved battle scene, large accurate crowd scenes, cityscapes, extreme multiple perspectives interacting, etc.), and when attempting to execute a commission from a complex city or street shot at an extreme angle or filled with enormous amounts of visual clutter. The best way to even attempt the latter is to grid the canvas, then turn it AND the ref on its head (180°) and paint the basic color/shape structure in, gridblock by gridblock, to a fair degree of completion. This prevents distortion and confusion by forcing you to see ONLY the abstract shapes within each gridblock and not the whole until you're far enough along to turn things right way up and finish.

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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  32. #54
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    When I was in grad school, we had a great concept artist, who blew us all away in skill, named Zack Stella. I've tried looking him up on the web, with no success as of yet. Here's how he enlarges to paint. Make a xerox enlargement of the detailed sketch at Kinkos. Then carefully apply it to illustration board (possibly with gel medium?). Wet and stretch repeatedly to clear the bubbles and warp, and when it's dry, paint over. I don't remember all the details, but it's sure faster than grids.

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