What is Autobiographical Drawing?
Autobiographical drawing is about making images based upon your own experience or life history, as told by you.
This online workshop is based on a workshop by artist and illustrator, Aurora Cacciapuoti. We hope it will give you a chance to ‘narrate’ some aspect of yourself or your life through drawing and collage.
You will make a series of drawings on A5 paper. We will then show you how to sew the pages together using ‘Japanese book binding’ techniques to make a small book all about You.
Through this online course, we will give you some exercises to help you start your drawings, and provide you with a chance to share the images online with other teenagers on the course. We hope that you will be able to support each other’s creative development by contributing constructive feedback about each others work.
We hope that this online course will give you a chance to explore some new drawing materials, approaches and techniques.
You will need
An assortment of drawing materials;
We recommend: nib, pencils, coloured pencils, chalk, pastels. If you don’t have access to these materials then standard colouring pens, pencils, black writing pens, chalks, crayons and pencils are absolutely fine too.
Quite a few pieces of A5, good quality drawing paper,
Old magazines – fashion, sport, nature, geography; any thing that you like.
Experimental Self Portrait Exercise
This exercise is designed as a warm up and to ease you into the drawing process. You will draw a series of self portraits that you will be able to use later. We don’t want you to worry about the finished results or even whether you have captured yourself or not, we simply want you to dive into the drawing process, experiment with materials and see where the journey takes you.
For this exercise, you will need plenty of different drawing materials at hand. Allow upwards of 30 minutes. You are going to work very quickly on a series of drawings, allowing no more than a few minutes on each drawing.
Make sure you are ready, with everything that you need around you.
And if you missed that here’s a step-by-step guide of what to do:
Now, looking in the mirror, maybe using a black pen or ink and nib, and, without being worried about the drawing you are making, start to draw a simple line drawing of your face, just looking at your characteristics and features and enjoy making lines. Enjoy exploring making lines with different rhythms and pressures, keep looking at the shape of your face and keep drawing. Only allow a few minutes for this drawing.
Now, quickly and without thinking, take another piece of paper and another drawing material, maybe a coloured pencil or pastel and make a second drawing. This time you may not want to look in the mirror, but try and remember your face. If this is too difficult you can steel a peek at the mirror! Work quickly and enjoy the process of making lines, looking and drawing. Do not give yourself too much time.
Repeat the process again, this time looking at the mirror, taking another piece of paper and another drawing material, looking and drawing, looking and drawing.
Repeat again and again until you have a series of between 5 and 10 drawings.
Extension activity: Adding collage and words to one of your drawings
You will need a bit of time and space for this part of the exercise, which will give you a chance to transform your drawings into a personal narrative or ‘autobiographical drawing’. Flip through a pile of old magazines and quickly, without thinking too much, cut out images that you like. You will use these images to collage over, or into, one of the drawings that you made of yourself. Choose one of your self portraits to work with.
Now, spend some time collaging magazine images, that you like or can associate some meaning to, into your drawing. You can also cut up your drawings! You can also add words or a narrative if you like. Good luck and we really look forward to seeing what you make.
If you’d like to work on the other drawings that you drew of yourself, you may want to explore certain themes of your life, like places that you love, want to go to or music that you like as well.
Access other Assignments
- Drawing Space Assignment
Exploring the power of drawing as a tool to ‘draw space’ and express how we interact with space and place.
- Tying Your Work Together: Artist Aurora Cacciapuoti Introduces Japanese Book Binding
A simple demo on how to bind pages together.
- Drawing Space Assignment