Drawing beautiful ugly people
My fascination with ugly faces began the first time that I read that Leonardo daVinci loved to take his sketchbook to the marketplace and seek out the ugliest people that he could find to draw. I was about 22 when I discovered this, and I was hooked. I don't carry my sketchbook around anymore, but I am continuously drawing faces in my mind. And I really like ugly faces.
Don't get me wrong, I like pretty girls and beautiful women. But when I draw them, it's just eyelashes and teeth. Not much visual interest there for an illustrator. And most movies cast "movie stars" and make them look as good as possible. I could tell that the director of Lincoln wanted ugly for the visual richness the movie has.
I have no idea who all of the actors are, nor do I really care. Every effort was made to make them as ugly as possible, from strange hairstyles to unflattering lighting and camera angles. I have to admit that my mind wandered from the story (I knew how it would end anyway) to just looking at the faces. And I applaud the actors for going all out for this movie, and being as ugly as possible.
I started drawing superheroes as a kid. It was a formula - big chin for the men and long eyelashes for the women. Then at some point I put aside the formula and started looking around. And the world is full of the tremendous beauty of ugly people.
By the way, I am using the word "ugly" very loosely here. That's not what I see. I see tremendous character and dignity. Watch "Lincoln" and you will see it, too.
Posted by Brad Hall