Home assignment:




Photo Reference

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This homework assignment will test your ability to shift to the “Right Brain mode”. You will rewire your brain to seeing the face newly, what we call using the Associative Technique. If while drawing you find it difficult instead of fun and effortless, it means that you are expecting to produce a nice portrait and trying to avoid making mistakes.

The goals of the exercise are: 1) to use this method to learn to see shapes, and 2) learn to enter the R-brain mode any time.

The Yin-and-Yang of Drawing: When you draw things as distorted as they seem to be, they turn out perfect; if you try to “improve” them and draw them undistorted, the drawing will appear awkward and naive.

No one is born with this perfect ability to see, it has to be trained in everyone.


Find a photograph of yourself as a child (choose an image where you are looking into the camera so that the face is straight on). Print it in black-and-white twice: a low rez image and a high-quality image.

  1. Before starting to draw, please read all the instructions to the very end.
  2. You will be drawing your face as if it is not a face but a combination of shapes in a puzzle, as if you are not describing the human features, but copying a map.
  3. Before drawing, outline the shapes on the lo-rez print with a marker or pen.
  4. Look at these shapes with new eyes - not as parts of the face, but as strange, random, out-of-place, specific objects. Take a deliberate look at each shape by itself and see which object or creature it resembles and inscribe that word directly on each shape.
  5. Take a good look at your photograph: you’ll be drawing only from observation. Start off by drawing the negative shapes of the background. Now you can draw other shapes, seeing them in context with one another - and how they fit into each other. Follow the same steps as you learned in class, but keep in mind that those shapes are different with each face*. Copy these shapes exactly as you see them.
  6. Make sure to copy the tonality of these shapes and their silhouettes in relation to each other: start by noticing the lightest shape, and then - the darkest shape. Resist switching to drawing facial features - which is what your brain will constantly be tempting you to do! Don’t listen to your brain.

*Note: Proportions of a child’s face are different from adults, so the shapes discussed in class will be different.

Bring your drawings to the next class to share!

Artist Examples

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Group Photos

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