Yogurt Land - Older Woman & Salaryman
I’ve never tried to draw my own face before. In general I try to avoid drawing realistic human faces because I find them very difficult to sketch. This is a large reason why I like to draw cartoons instead. However, I’m finding it a good intellectual exercise to sketch the human form in motion and so I’ve begun to revisit the human face as well.
What I’ve learned is that small changes in positioning, shadowing and lighting make for some dramatic differences in my perception of a natural looking face. I guess this should seem obvious but I never understood how subtle these grandly impacting differences could be, exponentially more so than the human body!
If you look at the first panel and compare it to the next you’ll note that they feel different though you’d be hard pressed to pinpoint those differences exactly. I made a number of changes such as pulling in the left cheek bone because I thought it looked too puffy, slimming it down and giving it a sharper edge. I pushed the upper right hair line just a fraction of a hair back, which strangely made it feel way more accurate (to me at least). I also made adjustments to the chin and pulled down that space by about 0.5 mm and also slimmed the profile of the bottom lip. I think this made for a more accurate look in terms of symmetry. I know there are rules of proportion but I didn’t really follow them… which is probably why this sketch took 1.5 hours instead of 15 minutes.
I also moved the left eye a bit laterally and lowered it in relation to the right eye. I found the face looked a bit uneven when I kept staring at it and it took me a while to realize that the eyes were a bit off. I still am not completely satisfied with the accuracy of their look but much more so than at first.
Last, I think the nose is a bit long, but I think if I brought up the nostrils it would look on point. There are still more things I think could be changed here and there to improve upon the accuracy, but I’m pretty pleased for the most part with how this came out so I think I’ll stop and move on to a new piece for practice. I am very curious to see what someone else would think is most true to form. I wonder how much of my own perception of what my face looks like affects the accuracy of my drawing.
I am currently doing an elective with the eating disorder unit in the mental health department as part of my end of the year medical school training. I drew this years back but my recent experiences have made me reflect on these thoughts again.
Many people are unaware but eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of all mental health diseases. Physiologically, premature death is most commonly due to severe electrolyte imbalances, particularly potassium levels, the electrolyte most important for setting the threshold to our heart beat. Along with this, many also struggle with co-morbid depression and weak support networks… which, of course, makes them especially vulnerable to more active forms of self harm, the most extreme being suicide.
Today, I saw a symposium with three recovered patients, each with a unique story of triumphs and set-backs, all equally powerful for the sense of hope they instilled in both the clinicians and patients listening. I think when looking back at this panel I am no longer sure if one sees a monster in the mirror. I am not completely sure what one sees but it is definitely not enough. I suppose it never is.
Later, in the outpatient clinic, I sat with an older woman who has been fighting her own battle for the last 50 years. Married, two kids and grandchildren. Sweetest lady you’d ever meet.