Facial and Bodily Explorations

The vision of the world is nothing but an insight into the living society of human and others through one’s own lens, irrespective of whether it is conventional or not. Our immediate surrounding is the most frequently viewed reel of it, and also the most ignored one. This was a striking realisation when I reflected upon the process of sketching facial and body details of one’s familiar environment that I underwent in the last two weeks. Even the most seemingly obvious knowledge, such as the facial features of my parents’ seemed hard to recall and replicate on paper. But, luckily, the exercise involved not just stressing of the mind to recover such information, but also to create new ones by observing it continuously along the process of sketching it.

The memory of the first attempt at it is still fresh in my mind. Because it was an epic failure! My first attempt to sketch a self-portrait by observing my face using a camera was nerve wracking. The continuous movement of the eye between the paper and my face was definitely tedious, but the mere act of staring at my face for long was unusual for someone who hardly looked at the mirror even while getting ready. As expected, the end of an hour of the exercise didn’t see the end of my sketch. Later, I realised what I missed was good hand-eye coordination and a focused mind devoid of any distractions.

The hour long engagement continued as a routine every morning, and the lesson of the first day seemed to be a boost in completing the succeeding tasks while enjoying it. Taking pleasure in one’s own work always adds to the quality of work. Owing to this, my initial lack of confidence in engaging with human drawings transformed into a renewed effort to better it every passing day of the two week schedule.

The explorations of the subject of drawing by observing the face and body of my cohabitants presented new challenges at work! While I knew there were still a lot to improve on the drawings, there was another task of pacifying my subjects of the drawing when the drawing didn’t turn out as good as it was expected; for instance, if the nose seemed too big, or if the facial profile turned out odd.

Self Portrait: A large portion of the side profile covered by the hair was detailed through multiple quick line strokes
Portrait of my Mother: The rendering was done by hatching to quickly capture the tonal variations due to shadows

I believe the task of human postures was relatively easy to carry out than the other two, not because of the ease of drawing it because human figures have always been a subject that I preferred not to tread on. It was rather easy because of the quick capturing of the postures without much details, that allowed to change the subject of focus, before they would start wondering on why I was staring at them.

Capturing the basic form of the human postures through line drawing
Drawing my cohabitants in different postures and activities

But, at the end of it, the routine practice eased my hand to capture and record details, while improving on the technique of it along the days. The process of doing something that I wasn’t comfortable with earlier, was unexpectedly entertaining. I eagerly awaited the next day to attempt to correct my mistakes, where I became comfortable to showcase my work and accept the feedback on it. It was an added bonus that my cohabitants reconciled with their odd looking paper replicas.

I realise I have a long way to go, but I like to believe that I have got a good beginning to it.

Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do

Denzel Washington

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