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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Drawing from Memory

A woman walked by a window outside a restaurant where I was lunching a few weeks ago. She looked 60ish, and her bright red lipstick highlighted the retro structure of her face. (What does that mean? I don't know, exactly, but her face looked like it was constructed for the mid-1950s.) She was not especially attractive, yet she carried herself with an air of utter confidence.

I could've pulled out my sketchbook, which I had with me, but it would've meant pulling my attention away from my lunch partner, which I wasn't willing to do.

This is the sketch I made of the woman a day or two later. It wouldn't hold up in court. It wouldn't help police identify the person I saw, I'm sure. But it IS an accurate record of my impression of this woman — her attitude, the general lines of her face and the almost absurdly old-fashioned hairstyle.

If you like to draw, I recommend adding this kind of drawing to your repertoire, if you don't already use it. Many of us bounce back and forth between observational drawing (great for practicing accuracy) and imaginative drawing (making stuff up! yay!). This lies somewhere in the middle, and endures as a record not of what we saw, exactly, or what we conjured up, but of how something hit us. And if we practice this with people, we end up with a bunch of potential characters for stories, comics and whatnot.

Especially whatnot. Very important ...


honey said...

there is nothing more delicious for lunch that whatnot. very important indeed.

honey said...

oops....meant there is nothing more delicious for lunch THAN whatnot. "that" is very important indeed!

Karen Blados said...

I envy your ability to draw from imagination. My training and insecurities have a tendency to invade when I try. Still, I try to take a stab at it every now and then. This lady actually reminds me of my grandmother ... if her hair were dyed black.

Don West said...

"Constructed for the 1950's"
I'm glad you said that. I've noticed for all my adult life that different decades seem to have a look beyond dress and hairstyle. It's weird.

Anyway, good idea here...drawing people from memory. I think one gets a more precise view of how a person presents rather than an accurate likeness of their face. And it causes one to look much deeper than the likeness.

I'm gonna try it...and you did a great job on the sketch too :-)