Line Drawing: Mirror Practice

You Will Make: One Drawing

You Will Need: Paper or a Blank Card, Finepoint Marker or Pen

Purpose: Learning to See

  • This practice is simple: use a ruler to make an exact center line, create a line at an angle, or draw multiple lines.
  • Then reverse what you draw on one side of a line to create a mirror image on the other side.

The goal of drawing is to create an image.

A page from A Handbook of Regular Pattern by Peter S. Stevens, which is a surface design math book for artists. It helped me learn to draw when I was a young person.

How you create an image is by learning to see in a different way.

In this exercise, you will be practicing how to accurately re-create shapes backwards. The shapes I created were abstract, but the practice of finding and re-creating shapes is the same kind of skill used in drawing what you see.

As you re-draw shapes backwards, think about angles, curves, of the shapes.

Think distances between shapes and the areas around them. This is called negative space, because it is the space which does not have anything in it.

My Drawing Story

One year in High School, I wanted to take another art class, but there were none my elective period, so I asked to do an independent study. I chose to work through the exercises in A Handbook of Regular Pattern by Peter S. Stevens.

As I played with symmetry, turning fish and flowers upside-down to create designs on graph paper by hand, I started to get very good at seeing and reproducing shapes.

It made it easier for me to do self-portraits and to use perspective in my drawings because I learned to measure and chart relationships.

Like reading and writing, drawing is a skill. When a student is learning to write letters in Pre-K or Kindergarten it takes a little extra thinking to remember which direction d,b,p,and q face. With practice, every one of us got better at forming letters.

Using symmetry to take on a new perspective (backwards or rotated) is a good way to teach your brain to look at shapes and relationships while you draw, just like learning to distinguish reflection in the lowercase b and d.

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