Surprising results from drawing a self-portrait 01

The challenge


I was listening to the 3 Point Perspective podcast (Roadblocks to success) when the conversation between Will Terry, Lee White, and Jake Parker veered to why art schools commonly make students draw self portraits as a project. It dawned on me that I had NEVER drawn a self portrait... well ok, let me rephrase: I have doodled myself without references, but I haven’t tried looking in the mirror or using my own photo as a reference for a portrait.


So... challenge accepted!


Internal battles


Ok, here’s where I tell you that the idea of staring at myself makes me cringe. I don’t like photos so I hide behind the camera. I hear it’s a common affliction but I’m actively working on overcoming it because it causes conflicts within me. On one hand, I yearn to be seen and heard, but when the spotlight is on me, my programming blares "Hide!".


For the past year or two, I resisted not turning away when someone directed a camera my way. I even signed up to a private Facebook group where we can post live feeds to practise speaking in front of a camera. However, after two failed attempts to complete the course, I realized it was too big a leap for me at that point in time.


I had to find a smaller stepping stone.


Starting small


Drawing a current portrait of myself, didn’t appeal to me but drawing a portrait of me as a child... I can do that!


Healing


The result is beside the point. Through the process of drawing and deep observations, I saw my dad in the eyes and ears; my son’s lips; and essence of my nieces half a world away. I had to care and nurture this child into being on a page with a pencil. The mindful practise allowed me to marvel at the child I once was.


I realized that child is the reason I feel so deeply and imagine so large. It’s her dreams that I’m persisting to bring to fruition.


I fully adore her for it.


Next step


When placed side by side, it's easy to spot the inconsistencies. I may have another go 6-12mths down the track to see if I've improved. I guess the big hurdle is to tackle a current portrait and see how that goes...

Contact Me

Contact Me

Cindy WM Chong

Artist & Illustrator | SCBWI member

 

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