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Glamor photo of Lucille Ball compared to pencil portrait

Something About Reruns

By DoctorPlatypus | Doctor Platypus | 8 Feb 2021

After a day or so of resting my eyes, this evening I turned my eyes back to the movie star portrait from my last post. I made a bunch of tiny revisions, and of course those are sometimes the kinds of revisions that make a big difference. I hope they have made a big difference in this case, but I honestly can't tell at this point. In any case, here is the revised drawing, and the reference photo, side by side:

Colorized glamor photo of Lucille Ball compared to pencil portrait

I did a lot of work on the nose and eyebrows, and especially on her ear, and also on general shading. I went over the areas that are meant to be brightest with an eraser - I can see that that worked better on the cheek than the forehead, and I'll need to do some work to make the forehead highlight a little less jarring. 

Looking now, I see that I've made her mouth a little too wide, and a little too symmetrical, and not quite glossy enough. I could probably do some work there, and maybe I would, except for the one big thing I've just noticed.

The big issue that I can see (and I am just not going to fix this because it amounts to starting over; I'd rather draw a new one from scratch with this issue in mind than do that level of erasing and redrawing on this one) is that I have placed her eyes noticeably higher than they are in the photo. To fix this I would have to completely erase her eyebrows, eyes, and probably her nose as well, and move them all down about a quarter inch. I suppose, alternately, that I could erase her jaw and her hair and redraw THOSE a quarter inch HIGHER. Either way, the amount of erasing and redrawing means it makes more sense to do a new one than to make the revision to this one.

All that said, this got a lot closer to her likeness than I expected it to, and most people seemed to recognize her even based on the previous version. 

It's led me to think about the localized nature of popular culture. Lucy is such an iconic figure in my peer group of middle aged and older Americans, and of course my friend group are most of the people who have seen my drawing of her. They overwhelmingly recognized her, but do you know who didn't? People even ten years younger than me were much less likely to identify her.

Lucille Ball dominated American television for decades, but my demographic watched her shows in reruns. I didn't (until this weekend) really put together that if I watched it in reruns, the chances are anyone much younger than I am probably didn't watch it at all: There's just been sooooo much new television content for them to watch, why would they bother with rerun sitcoms that were already old fashioned before they were born?

Similarly, I am not really sure what sort of European exposure Lucy's shows got, or Asian, or anywhere else outside the States. Dear readers from other countries: did you get to watch "I Love Lucy" or any of her other sitcoms? Did those get exported the way "Dallas" and Jerry Lewis movies did?

As always, thanks for looking at my pictures, and today thanks especially for reading this far :D


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Current projects: writing a literary history book about Victorian and Edwardian fiction as successor to the medieval dream vision genre. Learning to draw. Slooooowly learning the fancier ins and outs of the roll20 VTT.

Doctor Platypus
Doctor Platypus

Musings on and examples from various creative and constructive projects.

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