Drawing A Self-Portrait

Drawing a self-portrait is a great way to learn how to draw the human head.

Have you drawn a portrait of yourself?
Click here to share your drawing!

  • You never have to worry about making mistakes, because,
  • you never have to worry about anyone judging your work, and
  • you are always an available subject when you feel like drawing.

All through history artists like da Vinci and Rembrandt have drawn themselves, both for interest, and for the practice of drawing or painting the human head. Van Gogh did many self-portraits and could capture that "inner feeling" on paper.

Here is an interesting video montage by Philip Scott Johnson, of over 30 portraits that van Gogh did of himself. (Video is unavailable for iPad viewing.)

Van Gogh wrote:

I purposely bought a mirror good enough to enable me to work from my image in default of a model, because" ... "if I can manage to paint the colouring of my own head, which is not to be done without some difficulty, I shall likewise be able to paint the heads of other good souls, men and women."

Source: Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 16 September 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonder, edited by Robert Harrison, number 537. URL:

There you have it from van Gogh himself. By capturing your own image (whether it be by painting or drawing) you will master the tools necessary to draw other people.

Do You Have A Self-Portrait To Share?

If you are willing to share your self-portraits, feel free to write as much as you want about the process; what you like about them and what you don't like, as well as what kind of pencils or paper you used, natural daytime lighting or artificial lighting at night, or anything else you find relevant to your drawing experience.

Perhaps it's just the eyes, or eyes, nose and mouth, or a completed final drawing. The choice is yours. You may also upload up to four images so you could take photos in four stages.

I look forward to seeing your works of art.

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