Illustrator and comics creator Sarah McIntyre has a new challenge for her fellow artists: Get some diversity into your characters. And by “diversity,” she means more variety in facial structures, because the fact is that often all an artist’s characters, especially female characters, look alike.
Take Archie Comics costars Betty and Veronica, for instance: Same face, different hair. (Off-topic: Writer Michael Uslan actually announced plans last year at a New York Comic Con panel for a comic in which the two finally realize this and switch places.) “I see the same identikit thing with superhero women: visually interchangeable except for hair colour and costume,” McIntyre writes in an essay at The Huffington Post. ” I remember wondering about that, even as a kid. As a grownup, I watch illustrators post drawings on Twitter, and many of them have these same faces and idealised bodies.”
Her solution is to challenge herself — and others, via Twitter — to draw faces that are striking but different. She included her first set of faces along with the essay, and she and other artists are posting their drawings on Twitter using the hashtag #nonidentikit.
McIntyre has three tips for artists who are just getting started:
- Draw from life.
- Study old master drawings and adapt portraits to suit your own modern taste.
- Just experiment a bit.
McIntyre readily admits that drawing unusual faces isn’t easy, and that editors may prefer characters that have less distinctive features so they will have more universal appeal. “But there’s no reason I can’t try out things in my sketchbook and if I can develop a character well enough, maybe she’ll make it into published story sometime,” she says in the post. “I love Twitter, it’s like a big practice doodle pad, where I can post drawings and get feedback without the massive commitment of a printed book.”
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