When you look in the mirror, are you usually examining your flaws or fixing your make-up?
When you see a photograph of yourself, how many seconds does it take before you you’ve decided/judged whether it’s acceptable, gorgeous, or positively horrid? When you look at yourself, do you really SEE YOU?
This simple drawing practice is contemplative, because like a yoga session or a period of meditation, you are slowing down, stopping, and taking time for you. And whether it’s facing the fear of having your nude body photographed or sitting down to choose one of the photos and then trace it, you are taking time to face your most vulnerable self.
“But I’m not an artist!” you may say… well you don’t need to be an artist.
“But I don’t have nude photos of myself!“… then you can start with your face.
“But it won’t turn out as good as your drawings“… well, if you do as many drawings as I have done over the years, your drawings will get better, like mine did. AND it’s the process that’s important, not the results.
To begin, print a photo on yourself on a full 8.5×11 printer page in black and white.
Next, use a lightbox, or a window, or a light bulb under a glass table (whatever you have!) to trace the silhouette onto a blank sheet placed on top of the printout.
Finally, work with the images side by side to highlight or color the images.
Sorry for the mediocre photos, I just took them using my cell phone because it’s important for me to show how easy and accessible this practice can be! Anyone can do it.
The point is, the time you spend drawing and looking at your own body while drawing is time spent learning to see differently. To go beyond the instant judgments and get past the glaring flaws that you are used to zooming in on to see something in yourself, perhaps maybe eventually everything about yourself, that is simply what it is. And that just may include acceptable. Maybe weak too, or strong, broken, rebuilt, in process, in progress, in hiding, in coming out. It might even eventually include beautiful.