Sophie Babeanu and I designed the no-phone selfie activity for Culture Days last year. Culture Days is a pan-Canadian weekend in October where many studios, galleries, artists and performers offer free activities to the public.
We were looking at ways to make it easy for participants who are new to drawing to make a self-portrait. Our activity was a great success. Many people had fun learning and trying out the technique, and some even set their new no-phone selfies as their social media profile pictures.
This technique is also an easy and fun way to participate in our collective art project, The Big Picture Art Project. You don’t need to have any drawing experience to get interesting results, and what better way than a self-portrait to share a little bit more about yourself with others.
Want more easy drawing ideas to participate in this global initiative? I cover a wide range of drawing techniques in another post, which you can find here.
Simple Steps to Drawing a No-Phone Selfie (Self-Portrait)
For the no-phone-selfie technique, you will need the following materials:
- A small mirror—preferably rectangular—but you can also use a circular mirror if necessary (just make sure your entire face fits within the mirror’s frame)
- Washable (or water-soluble) markers, fine-liner, felt, etc.
- A damp paper to make a print of your drawing
- A Spray bottle
- Tissue paper (to make corrections as needed)
Get situated. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror. Make sure the mirror (and your placement) does not move.
Trace your features. Once your position is set, trace the contours and features of your face on the mirror using a washable marker, fine-liner or felt. The easiest way to do this is to close one eye and draw everything on your face—except the eye you closed. Then open your eye, move your face so it fits the lines you just drew, and draw in the missing eye.
Adjust as needed. If you want to make any corrections on your drawing, just use a piece of wet tissue paper to remove your washable marks.
Fill in details. You can fill in/shade in any areas of your self-portrait, such as the hair like I am doing in the picture above.
Define your colors. You can choose to add color or just keep it in black and white. Since I am making this portrait for The Big Picture, I am only using black ink.
Prep your print. Once you are done with your drawing, cut a piece of paper about the same size as your mirror, then spray it with water.
Keep it damp. If you experiment with this technique, the dampness of the paper will influence the way your print will look. You will get sharper lines with a dryer paper and blurrier lines with a wetter paper.
Place the wet paper on your mirror. Once you have sprayed the cut paper to the desired dampness, apply the paper to the mirror and press gently. Make sure all areas of the paper are in contact with the mirror.
Pull the print. Gently lift the paper off the mirror. During this process, you should see the drawing being transferred from the mirror to your paper.
Once the print has been pulled, you will have your simple self-portrait. The picture above is an example of my print. Although it isn’t the most accurate likeness of my face, I like the raw energy of this style of drawings; and the most important step to remember when trying out this technique is to have fun.
With this quick and fun technique, you can draw a self-portrait in just a few minutes—your own artistic spin on taking a “selfie” with no phone required!
Below are a few examples of no-phone selfies created by visitors, Sophie and myself in the studio during Culture Days. Enjoy!
You can peruse through pictures of our Culture Days activity in the studio, as well as all the self-portraits made during this fun-filled event on my website, SandrinePellissier.com. And, if you’re ready to submit your own no-phone selfie, or any other drawing, to be part of The Big Picture, head on over to TheBigPicureArtProject.com.
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