Drawing On the Side Art Blog
Is creating your self portrait narcissistic? That__™s a question that I never really asked myself until I drew a portrait of myself and my wife told me I was narcissistic for doing so.
So, is it?
At first, after my wife made her comment, I started believing it. I thought, yes, I must be. I mean, why would I choose to draw a picture of myself rather than picking a celebrity or some random person out of a book or magazine? Why would I want a drawing of myself in my portfolio? It did seem a little vain and self-absorbed, I must say. But then I really started thinking about it because it bothered me for quite a while. If there__™s anything that I am, it certainly isn__™t narcissistic. I__™m such an introvert and just a person who wants to remain anonymous, keeping myself out of the spotlight and loathing any blatant attention that may be bestowed upon me. I__™ve mentioned in a different blog about a time that I took a drawing course in community college and how the instructor made an example of me many times. Each and every time, I turned beet-red and became very embarrassed. So___really___all-in-all___I am not narcissistic.
But the question still remains: Is drawing, painting or sculpting a likeness of yourself narcissistic? After thinking about it for quite some time, I don__™t think it is.
In my opinion, an artist views every person or thing they look at as a subject. Whether it__™s a man or woman, a house or road, a dog or cat___they__™re all subjects that we, as artists, are trying to recreate on a medium to the best of our ability. If I__™m looking at a dog, for instance, I__™m looking at the curvature of its hind quarters, the circles of its eyes, the many shades and lines that will finally produce the likeness of the canine onto the page in my sketchbook.
The same thing goes for the drawing I made of myself that you see at the top right corner of this piece. I drew that one a few years ago to use as my picture for a MySpace page. I__™m not big on using actual pictures of myself due to the shyness I had mentioned earlier, so I decided to sketch a drawing of myself.
Now, I wanted it to appear how people see me rather than just drawing my mirror image, so I took a picture of myself on a digital camera and displayed the result on my computer screen. I took my time, making sure I had the shape of my head right, the eyes aligned, the mouth and ears, just making sure it looked like the photo I had on the screen. Of course, I probably went through three or four attempts, erasing some or just throwing away the whole page on others, before getting it right. But as I drew the picture, it wasn__™t as if I was in love with the image I was drawing. No, in fact, as I drew the image, I made myself be honest and not omit any detail I saw. It was the first time I did such a thing when drawing myself because I had, in the past, drawn myself for one reason or another. But when I had done so, I took the liberty of excluding such attributes as wrinkles or unflattering lines on my face. This time, however, I made sure to include everything I saw in the photo, pleasing or not.
As I had said before, I didn__™t look at the photo in front of me as an image of adoration. Instead, like everything I attempt to draw, I saw it as a task. Yet the task I was working on was something that, when finished, would be something I was proud of. And when I say ___proud of,___ I__™m merely referring to the pride of being able to draw something that will impress myself as well as others.
I hope that explains things well enough. Besides, just about every artist creates a self portrait every once in a while. DaVinci created quite a few. Van Gogh as well. Rembrandt seemed to make them to document how he ages because he made them from his younger years until he was an old man.
So I guess that__™s my opinion on it. What do you think?