What can I say about my choice of theme for this year's #INKtober other than it didn't go as well as I thought it might? At the midway point I commented that I'd be taking a different tact and working on seeing why some faces held at least a hint of the real person while others could have been anyone. This one in particular put me in mind of those police sketch artist renderings made while a witness tries to remember what someone looked like. Instead, this is supposed to be the actor who plays Chief Inspector Barnaby on Midsomer Murders, but even I can't see him in this.
The technique from the Sketchbook Skool class suggested starting with an eyebrow and without lifting pen, sweeping down the nose and back up to complete the other eyebrow. Actual eyes and mouth added next and the shape of the face/head last. Now I tried focusing on the eyes first before adding eyebrows and nose, then the mouth. Sometimes it worked better, but not always. Some mouths were ok, others ruined the whole face, or should I say, made my person now not look like him or herself.
I did more pausing of the tv, more comparison after completion to determine what made one successful and another not (yes, still having roller coaster results), and rued decisions to go back over some areas in the hopes of improving them. This page not too bad, except for the lower left one - it was the mouth again that made him look like someone else.
In the end, I came to at least one conclusion. Nearly every face has the same components - eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, ears. It's the shape of each and the positioning of each that gives us our recognizable faces. Distinctive hair styles or beards or no hair at all also adds to a person being instantly identifiable. I know that sounds obvious, but it took me awhile to catch onto it in a discernible way. But the more different faces I drew, the more similar they began to look, at least when I messed them up. No wonder we so often run into strangers we think we must know, or be told we have a doppelganger out there in the world. And perhaps that is the most usable thing I learned with this exercise, that I could create any face at all by putting together these elements in their variety of sizes and shapes, slants and arcs, not just try to faithfully copy those that already exist. Again, perhaps pretty obvious, but now I am more aware of it. It's a step towards caricature and illustration and perhaps adding people to my creative toolbox.