Most people love to see themselves as others see them. You can have great fun and give much pleasure by making personality sketches of the people you meet. If you develop this art you are likely to be popular at social gatherings of many sorts. Personality sketching is really a stunt, and can be developed to amuse people, or even as a remunerative side line.
A personality sketch is really a glorified caricature. Besides exaggeration of physical features, the personality sketch emphasizes the hidden personality. An imaginative, symbolic drawing reveals the character in the position, environment or even the form which seems best to express the subject's inner self. Under the drawing a written summary is appended, telling the subject about himself as the artist sees him. A few prophetic words will often add glamour.
To be a good personality sketcher you need to develop imaginative insight. You should like people sympathetically. You must be a good listener and develop ability to put yourself wholeheartedly into the lives of other people. The more insight you have into your own personality, the more readily will you be able to understand other people.
This is the way to go about making a personality sketch. Ask the subject to answer all the questions in the list.
Let your subject reply to the questions verbally while you record the answers. You will gain some understanding of him by the way he talks as well as by what he says. Is he slow, serious, reticent, or quickly responsive, eager to talk, ready to laugh? Some of these questions, as you can see, are meant to be icebreakers to add fun to the whole stunt. Some, however, will really give you a bit of information regarding the subject's personality.
It is more fun for everyone if the questions are asked before the entire group. But when you make your drawing and written summary you will have to be alone so you can think quietly. As the subject answers the questions, make notes on his physical appearance, too.
It is fun to have more than one set of questions. Ask different questions of different people, if a crowd is listening. If you have a subject who has a good sense of humor, ask him more funny questions. This makes the party quite gay. Every person has something about him which is quite original. Stress this. When a subject replies to a question in an unusual way, tell him you're starring this reply in your notes, as it is important. This adds zest to the interview.
Now comes the drawing. Go off by yourself so you can really concentrate. Think of the subject seriously. How did he reply to your questions? What did he look like? What did he say? Learn to think in picture symbols. If the subject has a hobby, this might be the basis for your sketch. If he has many interests, you might want to represent him with many heads, many arms, etc. Don't ever try to draw realistically when you make personality sketches. Exaggerate as many physical features as it seems appropriate to exaggerate. If the subject is tall, make him as long as from top to bottom of the drawing paper. If his face is round, draw a circle. But never be unkind. Your drawing will have more appeal if it is funny, rather than photographically correct. But it must be done sympathetically and with true imagination. It must really symbolize the person it represents.
For the written statement accompanying the drawing, make a summary concerning your impression of the subject. Never tell him he has faults. We are all well enough aware of our shortcomings. Tell him what he is and what he would like to be. Predict a little of his future, for fun.
The next pages show personality sketches of three real people. (The names used are not the subjects' real names.) A list of the questions asked and the answers they gave is given. From them you will get an idea as to how some of these stunts are done. You can develop new and better ones of your own. Begin first with your friends. Sketch strangers later.
Continue to Examples of cartoon personality sketches