Self portraits don’t always have to look like you!

I love to draw.  Obviously, right?  Otherwise why would I have a blog about my art with drawings?  But seriously, I really love it.  And I like to challenge myself.  Drawing the same subjects over and over can help to show a lot of growth and give you an amazing opportunity to challenge yourself with different styles, mediums and genres.

My first self portrait that I can remember drawing was a little while after I found Danny Gregory‘s book, The Creative License (not an affiliate link).  I had been struggling with stress and really missed creating art.  I had been good in my teens and early twenties, but had allowed life pressures to come first.  Struggling with HUGE relationship changes, financial burdens and little free time, I’d really sunk into a stupor when it came to creativity.  Allowing myself to just be horrible – or what I thought of as “horrible” again – was freeing.  Despite the fact that I had been able to draw pretty well before, I just went with Danny’s book and didn’t judge.  I picked up a pen and drew.  Instead of spending 45 minutes drawing an inperfect but okay mug, I spent 5 drawing a horrible one!  And it was funny and fun and freeing and I couldn’t stop.  I got better and better using just a pen to draw.  I refused to use a pencil as Danny suggests you start out doing.  Because of that, I began to have more patience with observing forms and a more carefree attitude when it came to mistakes.

self port (2)

“Self Portrait 2007” by Rebecca Galardo

The first self portrait was in 2007.  It’s not the most detailed, but oddly enough it might be the most accurate proportionally of the three I’ll show tonight.

The next ones I want to show were done sometime I believe in 2011.  Again, stress had driven us in all sorts of directions and I’d abandoned art for a bit due to no time at all to engage.  I picked it back up as soon as I had time and this time I was playing with it, having fun, not judging the creations but just letting them come out.

Inked Self Portrait

“Inked Self Portrait with Dreadlocks” by Rebecca Galardo

This one was fun to create but my husband didn’t like it at all.  It obviously isn’t an accurate portrayal, but art doesn’t always have to be photo realistic.  I can still look back at this and remember drawing it, remember my hair (oh, I love my hair so much here!!!!) and remember the fun I had.  This piece means something to me.

The last self-portrait today is another one of my favorites.  It looks more like me than the middle one, but is more of a caricature.  Again, my husband doesn’t like it, but that doesn’t matter.  He has very different ideas of art than I do.  For him art is exact.  Photo-realism, photography those are what he likes and what he is good at, respectively (he doesn’t draw).

The point I guess is to keep growing, to experiment and to challenge yourself, and to maybe come back again and again to one subject and try different things.  It can be fun, especially if you don’t hold yourself to perfectionist standards with every piece you create.  Be loose sometimes.  Sure, if one of your goals is photo-realism (it’s one of mine!) then keep at it!  But know that you don’t have to try for perfection with every piece.  Drawing with a pen (like these were all done) allows you to embrace mistakes and create funky, flowing, bizarre and wonderful works of art, if they’re only those things to YOU.

"Hunched Me" with "Self Portrait 2007"  both by Rebecca Galardo

“Hunched Me” with “Self Portrait 2007” both by Rebecca Galardo