The Face Book


A Strathmore toned gray sketchbook is where I did the necessary work of confronting my fear of creating faces. I call it the Face Book.

I'd reached a point creatively where my fear was getting in my way. I was frustrated by my lack of knowledge and inability to create what and how I needed to. I was so frustrated, in fact, that I was intensely discouraged. 

Then came the Face Book.

I'd purchased the little Strathmore sketchbook some time ago during a sale at a local store. One day I picked it up and decided to create as many "ugly" faces as I needed to so I could become comfortable with the challenge of creating them. Creating things over and over again is basically what an artistic study is, so this would be mine. 

My practice was my curiosity in action. 

At first, I drew without any outside instruction. I needed to put pencil to paper to lance the fear I'd let build up in my mind. I created in black, white, and gray to keep my focus on shape and value rather than skin tones. The faces were, as you could probably imagine, fantastically awkward and quirky. And, for once, I did not care. I knew that with one turn of a page, I had another chance to try again. When I had zero chance of attaining anything resembling perfection, I was able to revel in creative freedom. Funny how that works, right?

These are in chronological order from my first face to the ninth. Towards the end, you'll see I began to experiment with adding color to the faces with pastels (pencils and block). You'll also see I wasn't kidding when I said they were "fantastically awkward and quirky". 

On the pages of the Face Book I didn't find a formula for creating a "great" face. I, instead, found the knowledge that when I honor my creative curiosity, I am made a better, happier artist. 

I started the Face Book in the Summer of 2015. It's led to me including faces in my art journaling, and trying my hand - brush? - at painting portraits. I've also attended a couple live figure drawing sessions at a local studio, something I'd never felt brave enough to do before. 

I still go back to the Face Book when I need to work on staying loose and/or to try out new-to-me techniques. I see it being central to my growth as an artist for a while to come.

Do you have a creative curiosity you'd like to honor? What would honoring that look like for you? 

-Anna K.

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