It’s a funny thing, being able to draw. It’s one of those rare talents that people seem to admire greatly and assume that they’re incapable of doing themselves.
People can watch a pianist perform or a surgeon suture a wound and know that they have dedicated plenty of time to hone their craft. But add an artist into the equation, and suddenly it’s innate; that this is something others cannot do and must rely on the chosen ones to satiate their artistic needs.
But I wasn’t born with a hand for art, I was merely born with an eye for it. I saw color with more precision and landscapes with more beauty. The world was a canvas, and I wanted to recreate its beauty on paper.
So I did. Not very well, but I did. I drew apples and objects and paddy fields in mountains. Birds in upside down w’s and the sun with sharp straight rays. During one art lesson, my tutor drew a woman’s face on the board so effortlessly that I thought he might’ve been God himself; the designer of all mankind.
It was then I decided that I was going to focus on drawing people—no, not people, faces.
A face isn’t just two eyes, a nose, and lips. If captured in the right moment, a face can hold so many emotions just from the wrinkles and the lines on their skin. That’s what makes them human. That’s what makes them so difficult to draw.
Anyone can draw rivers and bowls of fruit, but to bring someone to life, now that’s the real challenge.
That’s why I won’t draw you.
Because when I meet you, I’ll notice things you hope others wont. I will notice stray hairs on your forehead and the crow’s feet whenever you smile. The slight dimple that never quite made it deep and your crooked upper left cuspid. I’ll notice a fainting ice pick scar and the way your lips rest when you’re in deep concentration.
There are things about the people I know that I can’t transfer on paper. I cannot draw the happiness in your eyes; only the shape of it. I cannot sketch your slight smirk that slowly turns into a wry smile. I cannot make your drawing come alive; maybe only to those who don’t know you, but not to me.
I will draw strangers I see on the street or captivating photographs on the Internet. In my eyes, they are empty vessels—nothing to resurrect because I see no life in them yet. But the people I know are so full of energy that my hands cannot construct such zest on paper.
One day, I hope you’ll ask me to draw you again and I’ll have the mastery to do so, like so many great artists out there.
And maybe soon I can do your existence justice.