With all those assignments and commissioned illustrations from the school newspaper, I decided that I should take a break from perfectionism and conformity to external requirements. Racking my brains for a sense of desire and something I wanted to see on the empty sheet in front of me, I felt an urge to draw some nice lips with some heavy red lipstick coating them, thick and glistening. Don’t ask me why that’s the case or how this sudden urge creeped into that slot in my brain folder labelled, “possible-junk-for-drawing.” That’s just the way it worked.
The connection between ‘nice lips with thick red lipstick’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ sounds like a ridiculous connection. I have no explanation. Random instinct, perhaps? I googled her, and chose the face that appealed to me most. You might be wondering why only a couple of isolated features float on an 18” X 24” sheet of newsprint in the place where her face is suppose to be. In fact, I only drew four features. And yes, it’s four, not three. My reason? I decided to be a lazy human being and avoid anything that took time and effort. Actually, let me rephrase that so it sounds more appropriate. I wanted to conserve my artistic efforts and focus my productive energy on the most important features and ditch the rest. What resulted was the four things that captured my attention.
The first thing that lured me into the photo: her right eye. Long eyelashes provide a shaded cover to secretly conceal her lovely eyes.
Second, what annoyed me the most: that mole on her right cheek. A dark black dot, enhanced by the black and white contrast.
Third, what I loved most: the single strand of hair that waved along her forehead, with a natural rhythm that makes it sexier than any curvaceous figure.
And of course, the nice red lips that beckoned me into the black and white photo through its stylish kiss.
Everything else, I either dislike or did not notice enough to include. Charcoal with a stick of red soft pastel.
Illustration and text by Stephan Xie