Using a Mirror to Improve Your Drawing

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Duration: 2:12

Are you working on a painting that just isn’t moving forward as you’d hoped it would, even if it’s a painting of a subject that you love? According to artist and instructor Katie Liddiard, it probably isn’t the painting’s fault — you just need a fresh eye. Fortunately, Katie has a terrific tip to help you assess, correct, and happily move on. All it takes is a 3″ x 5″ mirror that fits handily in your back pocket! The mirror corrects eye fatigue that might lead to missing corrections that should be made. By holding the mirror up against her nose so the mirrored side faces the dominant eye, and looking at both the artwork and the subject in the mirror, Katie gets a reflection of the full scope of her setup. Any mistakes or areas that should be corrected are immediately visible, even if they don’t jump out at you when viewed straight on without the mirror.

Katie finds that whenever she’s been painting without a break for 20 or 30 minutes, pulling out the mirror and checking her full view in this way is extremely helpful. And if you get too accustomed to the reverse image of your painting that you see in the mirror, and you’re failing to get that fresh-eyes bump, Katie suggests turning your painting upside down. You’ll find that you’re now seeing objects as abstract shapes and not attaching expectations such as “flower” to them, and it can help you detach and easily identify areas you want to correct or refine.

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