louise self-portrait

Student Story: A Year of Self-Portraits


Before the Sketchbook Skool #sbsadrawingaday challenge began on January 1, some SBS students started their own personal drawing challenges. One of the most ambitious was Louise Fletcher’s self-dare: Drawing a self-portrait every day for a year. That’s right—365 selfies.

The Sketchbook Skool community looked forward to seeing Louise’s selfies each day and cheered her on when she wondered if she could keep it up each day. Did she? The answer is on her blog/self-portrait gallery.

Here, Louise talks about the selfie challenge:

Drawing a selfie a day has been an interesting and revealing process for me. It all started when a friend gave me a book about sketching. One of the suggested exercises was to draw the same subject every day for a year to see what you learn. I chose my own face for a few reasons: It’s always available to draw, and I am going through quite a challenging time in my life and I knew the only way out was self-reflection and self-compassion (something that’s always been very hard for me). Drawing myself every day seemed a good way to keep me focused on that journey.

I chose to keep a blog and post the images because I needed a way to hold myself accountable. Even if only one person was checking regularly, that was one person I wouldn’t want to let down.

What have I learned through the process? First and most important, I’ve learned that I am far too hard on myself. There’s an incessant self-flagellation going on inside my head about everything—about the quality of my work, about the way I look, about how others see me, about things I’ve done or said… You name it, I can beat myself up about it.

Taking the time to slow down and draw/paint every single day has allowed me to really hear that voice for the first time, and to start challenging it. I realize now that I speak to myself in a way that I wouldn’t dream of speaking to anyone else. I’m working on changing that.

The second thing I’ve learned is that all art is worthwhile. There are drawings here that I like much better than others. There are some selfies that look like me and a lot that don’t. But no two drawings are the same—each one captures and communicates something unique, and there is real value in that.

The third thing I’ve learned is that I still have a LOT to learn! About art, and also about life.

Now I am trying to decide what to do with this body of work as it seems a shame not to exhibit it in some way, but I’m not quite sure how or where to attempt that. Whatever happens, this has been a valuable process for me, and I highly recommend it.

2 mins

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