100 Faces Project
In 2017, I embarked on a project to sketch 100 faces in 150 days. I exported my Facebook friends list then randomized the names. I chose the first 99 names on the list and drew each one in order. I was head-down and elbows deep in graphite for 5 months, so portrait 100 was of my kind, patient husband, who never signed up for any of this. Every drawing was done in one sitting, and I shared each one to Facebook as it was finished.
These are the results.
If you'd like to hear more about the project than what you see here, watch my 5-minute Ignite Boulder talk.
Truthfully, because I read Chris Guillebeau's The Happiness of Pursuit. I had been feeling creatively stunted and missing making intentional, thoughtful art. I hadn't done much work in portraiture in a very long time, and I missed it. What better way to dive back in then to set a completely unrealistic and nearly unattainable goal?
How long did every portrait take?
Usually between 2-4 hours. Some I flew through in 45 minutes inexplicably. There were a couple that took upwards of 6 hours because I couldn't seem to get them quite right.
Were there any you weren't happy with?
Absolutely yes. There are a few that still frustrate the hell out of me because I know I could do better, but that's kind of the point. This was an exercise in getting comfortable with failure as much as anything else.
Did you get faster over time?
Yes and no. I got better at trusting myself during the process and distinguishing the difference between when something was going poorly and needed help versus when I just needed to keep at it. In the end, that meant I got faster at the basics then spent more time refining.
What was the best part of the project?
I don't have heaps of Facebook friends, but I also don't stay in touch very well. Drawing 100 random people from that list had the unexpected and wonderful side effect of reconnecting with old friends from all different parts of my life over the last decade and change. I thought it would be weird to just start posting detailed portraits of people I hadn't spoken with in years, so I started sharing stories about each person of how we met or fun times we had together and what makes them special.
The art part was fun, but connecting with the wonderful, often faraway, people in my life was truly transformative. I am exceedingly fortunate to know these special souls.
Do you take commissions?
It depends on what other projects I have going on at the time and what I'm interested in working on. Shoot me a message if you're considering requesting a commissioned piece and we can chat.
Will you ever add to this project?
Not in the near future. It was entirely rewarding but also equally exhausting. I think I've had my fill of speed-round graphite portraits for some time.