AUTOPLAY
Drawing: Pencil Self-Portrait (Observational)
29 steps
What you’ll need
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Drawing Paper or Sketchbook
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Permanent Marker (optional)
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Pencil with Eraser
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Easel (optional)
Buy
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Mirror
Before we jump in, let’s go over some generalized proportions for a straight-on facing head.
1. Before we jump in, let’s go over some generalized proportions for a straight-on facing head.
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Start with an oval. Divide it in half with a vertical line and in quarters with horizontal marks.
2. Start with an oval. Divide it in half with a vertical line and in quarters with horizontal marks.
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Place the eyes on the 1/2 line. There should be an eye width between the two eyes and on each side.
3. Place the eyes on the 1/2 line. There should be an eye width between the two eyes and on each side.
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So the face is about 5 eyes wide. The hairline is usually somewhere around the upper 1/4 mark.
4. So the face is about 5 eyes wide. The hairline is usually somewhere around the upper 1/4 mark.
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The bottom of the nose should be above the lower 1/4 mark.
5. The bottom of the nose should be above the lower 1/4 mark.
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And the lips should be just below the lower 1/4 mark...
6. And the lips should be just below the lower 1/4 mark...
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... leaving plenty of room for the chin below the lips.
7. ... leaving plenty of room for the chin below the lips.
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The nostrils line up with the inner corner of the eyes, and the mouth corners with the pupils. 
8. The nostrils line up with the inner corner of the eyes, and the mouth corners with the pupils. 
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The tops of the ears line up with the eyes in the bottom of the ears with the nose.
9. The tops of the ears line up with the eyes in the bottom of the ears with the nose.
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These rules are just to help you figure out what needs to change when your drawing “looks wrong”.
10. These rules are just to help you figure out what needs to change when your drawing “looks wrong”.
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Set up in front of your mirror. I like to use an easel to hold my sketch pad up near the mirror.
11. Set up in front of your mirror. I like to use an easel to hold my sketch pad up near the mirror.
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If you want, use a sharpie to mark the top and bottom of your face in your chosen pose.
12. If you want, use a sharpie to mark the top and bottom of your face in your chosen pose.
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It’s hard not to move around when you draw. This way you will know exactly where to return to.
13. It’s hard not to move around when you draw. This way you will know exactly where to return to.
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I like to be an arms length from the mirror. I use my pencil with my thumb to measure myself.
14. I like to be an arms length from the mirror. I use my pencil with my thumb to measure myself.
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First I want to measure the height of my head. My pencil tip is the top and my thumb is the chin.
15. First I want to measure the height of my head. My pencil tip is the top and my thumb is the chin.
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Now I take this exact measurement to my paper and make a mark for the top of my head and my chin.
16. Now I take this exact measurement to my paper and make a mark for the top of my head and my chin.
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Now I do the same thing for the width of my face, measuring at the widest part around my cheekbones.
17. Now I do the same thing for the width of my face, measuring at the widest part around my cheekbones.
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“Sight size” is when your drawn object is the size it appears to you from your perspective.
18. “Sight size” is when your drawn object is the size it appears to you from your perspective.
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Continue measuring and making marks to get the placement of the hairline, eyebrows, and eyes.
19. Continue measuring and making marks to get the placement of the hairline, eyebrows, and eyes.
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Then measure for the location of the bottom of the nose and the mouth.
20. Then measure for the location of the bottom of the nose and the mouth.
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Do horizontal measurements too. My head is a bit turned, so there’s more cheek and ear on one side.
21. Do horizontal measurements too. My head is a bit turned, so there’s more cheek and ear on one side.
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Once you have all your basic placements, you can stop measuring so much and start to really draw.
22. Once you have all your basic placements, you can stop measuring so much and start to really draw.
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 Despite my slight turn, I still want to make sure there’s an eye width between my eyes.
23.  Despite my slight turn, I still want to make sure there’s an eye width between my eyes.
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I deliberately set myself up with some side lighting, so I’d have some interesting shading to draw.
24. I deliberately set myself up with some side lighting, so I’d have some interesting shading to draw.
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I spend more time looking in the mirror than at my drawing, analyzing the shapes and proportions.
25. I spend more time looking in the mirror than at my drawing, analyzing the shapes and proportions.
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Every once in a while check measurements again, and make sure you are returning to the same pose.
26. Every once in a while check measurements again, and make sure you are returning to the same pose.
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Drawing yourself in a mirror is very hard. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t like your first try!
27. Drawing yourself in a mirror is very hard. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t like your first try!
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Here’s the full process. You see I measure mostly in the beginning and look at the mirror often.
28. Here’s the full process. You see I measure mostly in the beginning and look at the mirror often.
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Good luck! This is a great way to practice your drawing skills because you always have yourself!
29. Good luck! This is a great way to practice your drawing skills because you always have yourself!
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