Why the Mirror?
Watercolor on Illustration Board
Interview with Priscilla Hernandez
News for March
Inspiration Gets You Nowhere
Why the Mirror?Ask an Artist
by Annie Rodrigue
I've been told to mirror my work. Why should I do this? What does it do?
~Not looking through a looking glass
I would like to start by saying that looking at a drawing in front of a mirror is not the only way to do it. For those working on the computer, simply flipping the image will give you the same result. And for those who have a light table, you can also flip your drawing and look at it through the light if the paper is thin enough to allow you to do so.
What is so wonderful about this trick is that it allows you to see mistakes that you probably are not able to see by looking at your drawing in the regular angle. You will be surprised even to see some mistakes become really obvious once you flip the drawing.
Ideally, you want to do this without the mirror, though. Why? Because you are not able to fix or mark your mistakes while you see them through the glass. If you do not have a light table, here is a nice trick during the day: flip your drawing and look at it through a window. Once you are looking at your drawing, draw any adjustments you need to do on the paper. You can even tape the sheet on the window glass! Once they are drawn, flip your sheet of paper again and redraw the sketch while following the adjustments you have just made on the back of the sheet.
You don't have a light table but you have a transparent plexiglass? Use a small lamp behind it! Makes the perfect temporary and portable light table!
You can do something similar for a digital drawing by flipping the image horizontally, and then adding a new layer to mark your adjustments. If it's not sunny outside and you do not have a light table, you can also scan your drawing and flip it in a software like Photoshop. You can at least see the flipped image on your screen while you have the drawing in front of you. (still better than looking at it in the mirror)
And now I share with you how I used to NOT follow this method. I will share an older painting and flip it for you to see how obvious mistakes can become when you do.
Not so obvious on the right side, huh? But it almost looks like she is going to fall on the flipped image! What happened there?
If this doesn't convince you to use this trick, then I think nothing will!
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