You don’t need much to get started… and most of these things you may already have.
Pencils, erasers and paper to draw of course, and access to a computer and a printer. A digital camera from which you can download photos onto your computer in order to print them, to draw them. If you’re comfortable taking self-portraits on your cell phone, that works too, as long as you can send them to a printer. Personally I prefer to use a digital camera to keep nude images off my cell phone!
A light pad – or a light tracer – available at art stores or online.
This type of light pad connects to a laptop and has three light intensities. Once you’ve chosen a photo you want to draw/trace, print it out on regular 8½ x 11″ paper and you’re ready to go. Simply place a blank sheet of paper over the printed photo and switch on the light!
The light will shine up through the printed image so you can see it through the blank page, and then you simply have to transfer the outlines of the figure (in this case, I chose to copy branches, leaves and twigs too).
Once the basic outline has been traced, with as little or as much detail as you want, you can of course do whatever you choose with the drawing. Highlight it in pencil or use coloured pencils, paint, or pastels to make it yours!
The tracing process takes away the need to be original, perform as an artist, or spend hours trying to get the proportions just right. The point is simply to spend time with the image and see the subject from different angles, so the results really don’t matter; it is the process that brings peace to the mind and allowing for new ways of seeing.
These examples are very detailed; I will show simpler drawings in the blog as I go. As a kid I loved “doodle-art”, which were very detailed posters that came with magic markers, and my family would sit around at the kitchen table and colour them during holidays. I find peace in details, and drawing both the body and nature is very relaxing. I may decide to go back and colour the leaves, but of course you can keep to simply drawing the body if you prefer. Seeing the body in nature tends to help us see our bodies as something natural and alive, and calms our usual self-judgement.
If you are interested in taking up this practice, feel free to communicate with us, we will support and encourage you. We can also supply previously-traced images (never photos, but outlines already traced from photos) to get you started if you don’t yet have photos of yourself to work from.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want YOU to see how beautiful YOUR body is too.