Sketch Fridays #25 - Faces. Click to Enlarge

Sketch Fridays #25 – Faces. Click to Enlarge

When it comes to recognizing people, I’m a face guy. With my job, I have to learn between 100 – 130 new names every fifteen weeks and, as soon as that term ends, I have to dump them all and start over again. Aside from unscientifically cataloging trends in naming that I see pop up as the years pass, names don’t particularly have any staying power for me (aside from one student named Ya-Ya, which was wonderful). What do stick around are faces. Having been the instructor to over 500 students since I started standing in front of classrooms and talking, I have seen so many faces to the point that, when walking through campus, it feels like I recognize everybody but don’t have the confidence to say hello in fear of saying the wrong name.

Such tendencies are probably why, when I just sit and draw with no purpose or aim, I lean toward drawing faces. I like playing with faces, trying to create readable emotions and personalities, and it is a talent I feel I could always improve upon. I often get very frustrated while drawing, especially when I don’t have a particular purpose in mind––just sitting down to “sketch,” which I rarely do. True to form, Sketch Fridays even became excuses to draw more finished, focused pieces rather than simply being what the name dictates: sketching, doodling, free-form investigations.

But this week marked the end to not only a long semester but a long academic year that was full of very high highs and very low lows, running the gamut from vocational accomplishment to coping with the death of a student (two total, but only one was actually enrolled in a class I taught). Spring semester comprised of dealing with the fallout of fall. Also, during this academic year marked the end of a dental procedure that started in October of 2014, though the procedure was the coda of an injury I suffered when I was seven or eight years old. Bringing that to a close was a heavy catharsis. Also, personally, we employed a suicidal landscaper (who did very good work). As of today, he is alive and well.

When I submitted grades this week, the action felt like the locking away of all the trials and anxieties from the last year or so. I sat down Wednesday night to draw with nothing particularly in mind; instead, I was simply pleased to have nothing to do.

I drew faces. Happy faces, smug faces, scared faces, hard faces. It was my year staring back at me through one-way glass but cartoony and digestible, relegated to ink on the first page of a brand new sketchbook.

What a way to start.