There is some artistic ability in the family, especially my sister and my niece Esme (who is ridiculously gifted); my daughter Rebecca is talented too… but the flair she has clearly wasn’t inherited from her father!
That said I’m actually really pleased with the finished picture. It was effectively a sketch of a sketch called “Tear Face” by Esther Burns, and (to my surprise) this was my first and only attempt at trying to recreate the original. I’d bought a book with thirty pristine white pages on the basis that the majority were likely to get scrunched up and thrown in the general direction of the nearest bin accompanied by a tirade of expletives, but amazingly I’ve still got twenty-nine unused pages and I didn’t swear once!
And I’ve also got a box of barely-used pencils (6B to 4H for any graphite aficionados) that will probably end up in the loft now that I’ve called time on the briefest of artistic careers—but it was fun while it lasted.
The picture wasn’t chosen at random; I wanted to try and find an image that in some way reflected the underlying theme of the challenges (viz. raising mental health awareness), but as soon as I saw this face, and the single tear, I immediately thought of Jodie… one of the two central characters in the first and only novel what I have wrote.
I’m not going to say too much more about the character and the book—except that it took me ten years to complete; oh, and it’s available for free download—I was simply fascinated by the striking face that gazed at me from the computer screen (the emotion is as obvious as it is obviously hidden); and I knew in an instant that it was the perfect image for the challenge.
I’ll leave you to judge the merit or otherwise of the end result, but the face that gazed at me from the paper genuinely made me stop and think—something that was unexpected, but on reflection, pretty special too.