Friday, August 23, 2013

I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Lots of people have been asking me about my new picture: the cartoon-y pencil sketch that is now on my blog sidebar and my facebook page: "Who drew that?"

I suppose I should admit that it was drawn by the artist formerly known as Julia.

Which should really prompt the bigger question: "Why on earth would you want to sketch yourself?"

Um. I dunno. I guess I've never liked looking at a photo of myself, but let's not talk about that. I really don't want to get into a deep psyche-searching discussion today...... there isn't enough coffee in all of the Starbucks in the whole world to get me in the mood for that. And then I'd have to explain BICJ's existence.  Yikes.  No. Way.

So the alternative to a photo of myself on my blog and facebook stuff limited me to a few other image choices: could be Been there done that... Or an object that represented me somehow. (I have no clue whatsoever what that would be.)

A few years ago, it occurred to me that a caricature type of drawing might be fun and I talked to my artist daughter #1 about that. She hemmed and hawed about my request and I knew something about this project bothered her.

What's the PROBLEM, Missy? Just draw the thing.

"Mom. It's not that easy."

Wait a minute. Isn't that what all those years of tuition were for? Yeah, yeah.....fine. We were happy to invest in an education that would prepare you to pursue your passions....blah blah blah. But beyond that, my real motivation for sending you to earn that bachelor of arts degree was so that when I wanted a picture, I could ask YOU to draw me a picture. Simple. Remember pencil sketching 101, for pete's sake?

She sighed. "OK, Mom. I'll try."

After two years the sketch still hadn't materialized, so we had the conversation again. And this time, D#1 told me the truth:

"Mom. I really dislike doing portraits of any kind. Most people have this mental image of themselves and if the artist can't bring that image to reality on paper, then they're not happy."

Wait. Are you saying that I'm too weirdo to draw?

"MOTHER. Be serious here. If I draw you the way I see you, I'm afraid it really won't be the image that you're looking for. I just don't want to disappoint you, that's all."

I'm too weirdo to draw. I knew it.

So I let the issue drop until a few days ago, when I impulsively grabbed a spiral notebook and a chewed up pencil and began to sketch. D#1 was right, by the way. There could be a reason that people actually take classes to learn how to do this stuff. I took a phone picture of myself to give me something to copy. Hoo, boy.

(No. I'm not going to post the picture. That would defeat the whole purpose of the thing here, people. Tsk.)

So I labored over the stupid thing and realized that even I didn't know what my "mental image of myself" was, to quote D#1.

I TOLD you that my hair was still way too short. 

Ew. Maybe if I do an artsy-fartsy crop and tilt thing.....

Ew. Still.

I thought more carefully about what I would like in a sketch, and realized that I actually didn't want a picture that really looked like me, because I didn't LIKE pictures that look like me. So I decided to draw myself as I would want to be seen. Kind of like doing a Julia face photoshop experience. Brilliant.

I really dislike my nose so I just eliminated it. Easy. And while I was ignoring major facial features, I decided to make my nasolabial folds just go away too. Heck, I thought. As long as I'm dreaming, I'm only going to draw myself with ONE chin.

Woo hoo! I realized once I abandoned any pretense of making this thing an accurate representation of my face, that this project could be quite entertaining.

Hm. What else would I change if I could....

Ah. As long as I was doing chin modifications, how about making it much smaller? And curls that don't look dopey! Wrinkles? What wrinkles? And LIPS! Hey, I think I'll give myself some lips!

I started seriously talking to myself. Out loud.

Wait. Not big and glamorous lips. ..::erase erase erase::.. I think I want this thing to have at least a faint resemblance to my actual self. I suppose I should give myself enlarged dumb stupid parotids. Sjoggies would understand that.

Hm. Better. Hair too short. Face all chubby/prednisony/parotid-y. But still kind of friendly looking.

I took a picture of the sketch and did a little cropping and lightening and contrasting and .....

So. Here I am. Or more accurately, here's what I would like to be:

I think this piece really captures the essence of my cluelessness. It's all in the eyes. 

What? You didn't expect a book-length answer to a simple question like, "Who drew it?"


Blogger Mama said...

Cute and cartoon-y!

Unknown said...

Looks remarkably like me

Gertrude said...

I think you did an amazing job on your original. It really looks like you. Now we know where DN#1 gets her talent. The caricature is SO you also. How would you draw BICJ? That sure isn't it.

Amy Junod said...

Awesome job. You're right- it's all in the eyes. They are SO hard to get right. Love the curly hair too.

annie said...

I must say, talent really runs in the family. You did an awesome job.I didn't really notice until last night that the picture was gone and was replaced by your drawing. You look inquisitive,intelligent, and friendly. Good job.

D#1 said...

See mum, if I drew a picture of you, you'd never try to draw yourself :P That and maybe you've passed on the BICJ genes to me...

Kelly said...

Julia, I LOVE your new simplified essence of yourself. I had wondered if you'd done it yourself.

As an artist, this is what I always say when people ask why I don't do portraits: The problem with portraits is that they either don't look at all like the subject, and that's very bad, or they look EXACTLY like the subject and that's just as bad!

D#1 is very wise.