Forget the selfie! Get a sketch portrait

Posted at 03/01/2014 4:23 PM | Updated as of 03/02/2014 11:52 AM

MANILA -- Feeling like Mona Lisa lately? Try modelling for a group of artists and let them paint or sketch a portrait of you. However, such feat is not as easy as you think it would be.

The first time I got to do such was for a group of UP artists in 2009. Models were gathered in a huge function room where platforms were placed along the center section. Fellow models and I took our seats and posed how we want to. Artists roamed around and picked their subjects and started sketching. It took about 20 to 40 minutes for an artist to complete a sketch.

I have recently sat down for painters from Agos Kulay Water Society and Las Piñas Artists Group and it was revealing how different artists would capture the same subject in different ways. For instance, one sketch looked a little like my mother than me. Another seemed like a portrait of my elder sister. It is strange because in real life, I was repeatedly told that I did not look like my mother or my sister. And neither of them was present at the scene to inspire the artists.

One of my favorite ones, however, was when an artist very well caught the nervous smile I sported. I was trembling, unsure of myself and already holding the pose for a little over 15 minutes. And just as a camera would capture your emotions at that moment, the artist was able to do the same.

Of course with today’s technology, creating a sketch portrait of anyone is as easy as touching your phone screen in mobile applications like Photo Sketch and Sketch Guru. But there is a certain charming novelty about going through what old-fashioned people did to get an illustration of their faces. It feels very elegant to be a subject that inspires a portraitist to craft a work of art by hand, to sit and stay in a pose for long minutes, even hours, and then finally see how the artist saw you.

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