Humanity of a Face

Common App Personal Statement

My pencil sketches of human head sculptures filled countless pads of paper. Desperately, I tried to recreate in each face the intangible aspects of emotion that continuously eluded me. I drew faces over and over, telling myself that with more practice, I could eventually master it. I had to: if every head I drew seemed mask-like and dead, I couldn’t call myself an artist. Portraiture is a prerequisite.

There is something ineffable about the human face, a quality I never seemed able to capture.

I learned the formula for drawing faces; I dutifully practiced breaking the head in half with a thin line, using that demarcation for the bottom half of the eyes. In the space between the eyes and the tip of the chin, I always found the midway point, dedicating it to the small groove of skin between the nose and mouth. Beyond these basic measurements, I had also learned the ideal percentage of the eye to be filled by the iris, the precise angle at which the lips ought to curve, and the specific shape of the nostrils. As I assembled my carefully sketched pieces into a face, however, the technique that went into each feature faded. My disappointing faces lay inanimate on the paper. Why?

I knew that the recipe for drawing faces was...

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