The Sketch Effect
An artist sketches a young subject. During the session, the artist engages in conversation with the subject, observes the subject’s mannerisms, and develops a sense of the subject’s personality and characteristics. The finished work not only encompasses the physical exactness of the subject, but includes the artist’s incorporation of the subject’s characteristics as well.
The original sketch is passed along to another artist to be duplicated. The second artist renders his sketch based upon the first sketch, but, without the use of the original characteristics of the original subject, the artist then incorporates his depiction of what he believes the subject’s personality should be into the sketch. This process is repeated until the tenth artist completes the sketch.
When the original sketch is compared to the tenth sketch, the similarities are abstract and transcendent, and the tenth sketch has taken on the aura of a caricature of the original subject. Yet when the tenth artist is asked to sketch the original subject under the same circumstances as the first artist, without knowledge of who the subject is, the sketch completed by the tenth artist of the original subject has only a vague similarity to the tenth artist’s first sketch.