In this lesson we’re going to attempt to utilize the visual information stored in our brain, to draw a portrait (partially) from the mind. I use a bathroom mirror to check my angles and then draw what I still remember with free and loose strokes. Every now and then I go back to my mirror to check a certain angle. If you practice this, you will find that progress is quick and you’ll be able to draw for longer periods without having to check in the mirror again. Come join me for this fun exercise!
We’re not used to focussing on detailed images in our mind. As you try and picture your face, give it some time. It can take a while for things to become clearer. Try focussing on a certain area if you’re unsure about it. After a few tries your brain will start adding the visual information to the picture in your mind. This is more of a meditative exercise than it is drawing practice.
For this project, you’ll need a few basic supplies.
- Drawing paper, I’m using a cream colored paper. A journal will do as well.
- Vine or willow charcoal
- Stick of compressed charcoal
- Soft pastels in three different values
- White gesso
- Piece of cloth / Cotton rag
Start with big shapes
The angle of the eye line or the axis of the head are a good place to start. Don’t worry about making a mess. We’re layering dark and light on top of each other and everything can be corrected. Basic shapes are directions determine the foundation of your sketch.
Trust your focus
When working like this, your mind will automatically focus more on a certain area. This can be different for everyone. Some people focus on an eye, others on the nose. Whatever shape draws your attention, start working there. Try and follow the shape in your mind, then ‘tracing’ it on your paper.
Let go of perfectionism
This is not an exercise about photo realism or accuracy. It’s about training the mind to rely on it’s own stored visual information and allowing you more creative freedom. My first 10 attempts looked like those of a 5-year-old. It doesn’t matter and it will get better. But more importantly, you’re using your creative mind in a different way. Everything new can cause a level of tension. It’s perfectly ok and part of our journey. <3
If you’d like to share to your work, ask questions or get some support you can join me in my Facebook art community!