The faces we knowPosted: November 17, 2020
Why is it so difficult to draw the faces we know the best? I’m not talking about self-portraits here. We’ll leave that for another day. I’m talking about members of our family or really good friends. People we have been around for years whose eyes and ears and mouths we know so well that they become difficult to step back from and look at objectively.
I am asking this question because for the past few days on my walks and runs I have been listening to my friend Suhita being interviewed on Nishant Jain’s The Sneaky Art Podcast. Suhita has been drawing her family for years. In fact, her way back into drawing over ten years ago was by drawing her two children, who were toddlers at the time. If you have been following her blog, you have seen her children grow up on the pages of her sketchbook.
With that in mind, and continuing my thoughts from the other day about developing a daily routine of drawing, I thought I’d share some of the drawings that I don’t usually post. These are the ones I do on my iPad at night, after dinner, before watching an episode of The Crown. I don’t usually share these because I find drawing members of my family too personal, and I don’t want to offend them if the results are not flattering. Hence my sketches of Alice the dog who would never complain if an ear or eye was out of place. But listening to Suhita has emboldened me, so here goes.
These days the only victim of my iPad scribbles is my husband. Good thing he spends a good amount of time reading. The kids were here for a time during the first lockdown, but now they are back in their respective apartments and I only have one human model.
As you can see from these, sometimes I am experimenting with iPad brushes or colours, and the subject is secondary. It’s the process that makes the activity worthwhile, not getting a good likeness.
There is no attempt at correction in these either. If a line is in the wrong place, I just draw another line. I try not to erase. I try to make the experience most like using a pen and ink on paper. With a little bit of grey marker added at the end. And my husband usually does not realize I am drawing him until later, so he moves his hands and I continue drawing. Unsuspecting models are the best.
Suhita’s podcast interview is really interesting and Nishant is a great interviewer. Together they dive deep into what motivates us to draw. If you are a novice urban sketcher or need some motivation about where to start, you’ll find it fascinating. And maybe it will give you the courage to draw (and share) the faces you know best.