Just as the title says folks. I've been doing some self portraits, and everything looks kind of ok, but when I put them to the test and use a mirror they suck, like REALLY suck, they have like weird eyes and some stuff is leaning heavily to the right and so on. I make a concious effort of having the right shapes and have them "even" and all but everytime I mirror the drawing some new stupid error appears. I have a reached a bump here guys, should I just keep doing the portraits and the problem dissapears? or what can I practice to erradicate this problem? it's very discouraging cause when i think I got a nice drawing, I see all the errors and really puts me down. I would post samples but my sacanner isnt working right now, I will post them if i fix it, but trust me they blow.
Use more construction lines and draw THROUGH forms instead of around them. Also focus on vertical/horizontal relationships between things such as features, and use shape to reinforce the accuracy of the forms from the construction.
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Bingo. Everybody does this to some degree, especially beginners. That's WHY you have to mirror your drawings. The more you do it, the more sensitive to your individual skew you become. (P.S: You're drawings don't look "kind of OK" before you mirror them, it's just that it allows you to see what everybody else already can.)
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I know its hard for some people to do, but you could try making your initial framework with the subdominate hand. Our brains are crosswired when you rely on one hand you're relying on one side of the brain. When you mirror the image you're using the otherside to view it. Also you could try turning the drawing upside down if you can't manage the switching hands thing.
A mirror gives you new eyes on the thing you've been staring at for a while. Try and turn it upside down while you're at it.
This is not a new thing that you are experiencing."A mirror is a good judge for you to have, it is marvellous how every weakness in a painting is so clearly revealed in a mirror"
Leon Battista Alberti- 1404-1472
Well i guess it IS somethign many artists go through, thanks guys, I'm gonna pull an all nighter here, see how that goes. Im gonna smash that skewed pesrpective one way or another, been buging me for so long.
This also helps with perspective because depending on how the form is oriented in relation to the horizon will determine whether you see under or over the ellipses.
In my opinion drawing through the form has A LOT to do with perspective. I mean, you can't really have a form (3 dimensional object) without perspective.
To avoid massive disappointment after you've finished a drawing, try checking it upside down and/or in a mirror early in the drawing phase when you're working out the basic construction and placement. Then hopefully you can correct it right from the start. (And keep checking periodically as you go, so you can catch mistakes as they happen...)
All the points in this thread are great, but Elwell touched on something that's worth reiterating- we don't see our own work objectively. Much of the challenge of making art is getting around this- for whatever reason as we work we tend to very literally not see it properly. Something can be wildly off that is plainly obvious to someone else, but we just don't see it.
It's good to have a strategy for dealing with this. The mirror, viewing upside-down, squinting, and stepping back are all your friends in this effort. IMHO it's not something you just work on for a while and then you're over it, although you can learn your individual tendencies and work on them. But even for experienced artists it can sneak up on you if you let your guard down, so it's better to just make a habit of doing this throughout a piece- more often is usually better. Most of the artists that I admire that I've had the fortune of watching work are doing this *more* rather than less- they are constantly squinting, stepping back, using the mirror, or some combination of all three. Some of them even seem to spend just as much time doing this kind of looking as they do actually working on the piece.
When your eye first looks at an image it's excited by the different values, the colors, the shapes, etc. The longer you look at it the less stimulated your eyes becomes.
I know this works big time with seeing values. The more you stare at them the harder they are to pick out but I'm not sure how much it might have to do with natural skew that most folks start out with.
Somebody more sciencey than I can chime in.
I've been trying to do this more, but a lot of my work recently is studies from photo reference. Anyone know of an image viewing program that allows easy mirroring and doesn't eat up too much ram while I'm painting?
Sketchbook Updated December 15th 2011