Creative exercises for every month

Find Yourself in February 2019

This is the course we ran on our Facebook group in February 2019... We truly felt like this was our best yet and are finding our feet now with putting together exercises which will promote fun and creativity.

Come and see what we're up to now on our Facebook group.

Join here:



Our first exercise will help you get some practice and build your confidence at quickly drawing yourself. Set your timer for one minute per drawing ⏱️. Do 10 quick sketches of your head and 10 of your body. Keep them very small and focus on shape, angles & shadows - avoid details. This is no easy task so don't worry if you find it hard 🤔


For our second exercise we'll copy a a self-portrait by Matisse. It's fun playing with the colour scheme. Think about how your self-portrait would look using this same style.

Self-Portrait in a Striped T-Shirt, by Henri Matisse, 1906


In this exercise you'll be referencing your version of Matisse's self-portrait to create your own self-portrait.Try to paint yourself in a similar way. This is quite a challenge if you're not a bearded white man.Use strong lines and a range of colours.


Watch this 3min video on one of Van Gogh’s self-portraits. 

Here are some quotes from Van Gogh which give some wonderful insights into his approach 🤔:

“The best pictures, and from a technical point of view, the most complete, seen from nearby, are but patches of color side by side, and only make an effect at a certain distance.” —November 1885

“Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes, I use color more arbitrarily, in order to express myself, more forcefully.” —August 1888

“It's . . . color that suggests ardor, temperament, any kind of emotion.” —September 1888


Self-portraiture is more than just recreating your image 🎨 Your space can tell more of your story, perhaps it is even more truthful than your physical appearance. Where is your special place that you like to just be? 
• Look through these pictures of artist’s spaces for inspiration.
• Take a photo of your space (it doesn’t have to be art related). Try to represent it as it feels to you. 
• Include yourself in the image if you want. 
... the next step will be to create a painting around it.


Draw yourself in your favourite space. Take a selfie, use your timer on your camera or get someone to photograph you. Do a few small drawings of yourself in your space until you feel happy with the result 😁 This one was my 3rd attempt.


Get used to seeing yourself from different angles. Get someone to photograph you from behind. Practice drawing small images of yourself until you’re happy with the result 😊


Today we're going to do a double portrait.

  • Fold a standard piece of paper in half and open it up so there is a crease down the middle.
  • Using charcoal, soft pastel or something similar, draw a quick self portrait on one half of the page. Focus on shadows and major shapes.
  • Fold the paper in half covering up your drawing, firmly rub the back of the paper to create a mirror image imprint on the other side of the paper.
  • Open up your page so there are 2 images of yourself.
  • Rework both images with your choice of medium to create 2 self portraits side by side.


 This exercise is great for getting away from details. Draw your reflection in the TV or similar surface 📺 have at least two attempts and post your favourite. We’d suggest charcoal for this one 😊


Grab a spoon for this exercise! Draw 2 self portraits from looking at your reflection in the spoon. Draw one from each side of the spoon.


 Now were going to get on with some preparatory sketches for a finished piece.

Experiment with a few sketches, thinking about what position you'd like to draw yourself in. Start thinking about composition and look back over the work you've done.


 Experiment with some colour 🤠 
On a large piece of paper (2x standard size), draw six rectangles and colour them lightly in different colours. I have used chalk pastels but whatever you like is fine, do a small portrait in each one. Have fun with different colours. Move on if you get stuck 👍


 Just when you thought we weren't going to do a collage 😆

Create a collage using one of your favourite drawings as reference. It's helpful to cover the whole page with large basic shapes before adding smaller ones.


 Have fun developing a small work. 
👉 find a self-portrait that has some exciting elements to it
👉 stick to half a piece of paper. 
👉 plan to attempt this a number of times so you don’t get too attached to what you’re doing
👉 spend time getting distance. Take photos and compare the small image to a small image of your original work. 
👉 if you’re having fun it’s probably going well 😅 — if not start another one.


 Our final exercise! Draw a self portrait from memory, no looking in the mirror or at photos.
*Attempt four small portraits on a page.
*These are not finished pieces, scribble and have fun.