The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by Gus Mueller
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March 29, 2013

About 6 months ago I started making a real effort at drawing a little bit every day. There are a number of reasons I came up for doing this, but mostly it's because I like looking at well done sketches and I just thought it'd be neat if I could make some myself.

Sketching is a great hobby. It's cheap, you can take it anywhere with you, and it's pretty fulfilling. I sit in front of a monitor and peck at a keyboard all day long, so it's nice to sit down with a little coffee at Cafe Amore and lose myself in making something analog.

What I didn't know at the time is how sketching every day would change the way I looked at everything in subtle ways.

I started out with gesture drawings which I was reasonably happy with, but I always struggled with faces. There was something wrong with my lines and I couldn't quite see what. So I just started drawing mostly faces for a while, until I didn't cringe anymore when looking at what I drew out.

And then something slowly started to happen. I began noticing every single little detail in everyone's faces. How high someone's cheekbones were, their brow and hairline, reflections on lips, the cut of their jaw, noses, noses, noses. Everyone's nose is completely unique in wildly varying ways. And you never notice just how important getting the nostrils right are until you start focusing on it. Nostrils! Who ever talks about nostril?! If you get the angle of a nostril wrong it will completely screw up a face and even if you have no idea how to hold a pencil, you'll see a nostril at the wrong angle and it will subconsciously drive you mad.

Of course once you start noticing the details in everyone's faces, it begins to leak out into other areas. You'll notice the width of people's shoulders relative to their face, postures, just how big some woman's hips can be and how some men have no necks at all. I've always seen these things of course, but I now look with a level of detail that I never did before and wonder how I would represent it on paper. And I've gotten faster at noticing things as well, which sometimes feels like a superpower.

So why sketch every day? Because over time it'll open up your eyes and you will be able to see everything.