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Some Thoughts on Beards

July 25, 2022
Pentel Brush pen sketch of two tattoo artists on a season of “Ink Master” in 2021.

It’s pretty obvious I draw a lot of men with beards!

I’ve explained why countless times. (Actually I suppose we could use the search function to sort of count but not every time a post is illustrated with a man with a beard do I write about beards, so…)

The other day on Instagram a post from #Beardsforall came up. I never draw from these photos. The results are so dramatic I know I’d want to spend time on them to do full-blown portraits, but it isn’t appealing because the photography captures everything. I would be spending a lot of time chasing permissions down. 

But I still do enjoy when something is posted—particularly a video. 

The other day someone posted a video of a man with a massive amount of hair and a late John Brown amount of very bushy beard getting a trim. The final hair cut was an art piece (I’m sorry I don’t have a link).

The process was involved. I remember the barber combing both the head of hair and the beard, then massaging haircare products into both, wrapping the man’s entire head in a towel, then more combing, drying, and finally the trimming. Lots of hair hit the floor that day. What resulted was a very clean-cut man with a short hair cut and one of those large beards that is carved with very angular edges. Amazing.

In another video from someone else a man with not quite as much coverage had his beard washed, bleached, and carved into a very short haircut with some sort of pattern like lightning bolts carved into the hair on side of his head above the ears, and another wedge shaped beard. Again amazing. He looked like he might be going to audition as a well-groomed White Walker for “Game of Thrones” if it were still running (are White Walkers in the prequel?).

I love process. I love watching someone execute an artistic process. It was engaging and fun to watch both these transformations; compressed to a few seconds of Instagram video.

But these video also increase my respect for the bearded men and barbers who work so hard to create and maintain these living works of art.

People are amazing and it’s fun to see how they bring their creativity and identity into the world. There is always so much to look at compositionally, spatially, texturally, emotionally, and psychologically when one sits down to sketch a beard. 

The world is so much more visually interesting with all these bearded faces. I hope this trend doesn’t go out of fashion any time soon. 

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