Using a mirror to check your work

Dashboard Forums Drawing Questions Using a mirror to check your work

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    Kimberly Williamson

    Does anyone have experience using a mirror to check their work? I saw some artists on “Portrait Artist of the Year” on YouTube doing it and am curious about trying it out. Is it just a matter of it flipping the image to get a different perspective on it? Thanks.

    Arjun Khode

    Hi Kimberly

    yes, in my opinion. Some digital artists make this technique very popular in their timelapse videos where they constantly flip the image like crazy.

    It is meant to reset your eyes to see the shapes in an abstract way.
    When we draw, we are constantly battling what we see vs. what we think we see. We might think of an eye as a symbolic almond shape, lips as almond shape, or lips as a cupid’s bow, but in reality they might not always conform. You have to see them as abstract shapes and not as an eye or a lip.

    A technique that works for me is called creaturization, where you visualize something else within something, like “oh, this white of the eye looks like a banana, or a snake swallowing a huge ball. I see two elephant heads in this shape of tone in the lips”. Anything you do that helps you remember a shape long enough so you can transfer it to your drawing accurately.

    I almost never use the flipping technique anymore because I know that if I get a likeness, it will look correct in the mirror for sure, and it almost always does for me.


    Kimberly Williamson

    Thanks for your tips, Arjun! I really like the “Creaturization” one!

    Cody Martin

    I also turn my sketchbook upside down. It helps me see abstract shapes instead of human body or shape. We all bring with us bias on what a nose or mouth looks like and we end up adding things that are not there. Turning it upside down helps remove that bias b

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