What’s in a face?

There Was Once A Girl… by Ayesha Gamiet (2009)
Just recently, my eight-year old niece was off school due to a cold. During the day, her Mum had to run some errands, so I agreed that she could spend the afternoon with me in my studio. Now my niece and nephew have been asking me for weeks to show them the story that I’m working on, but I’ve kept it all top secret (except to one or two close friends, and people whose opinions I value). Maybe it was her innocent brown eyes, gazing up at me… maybe it was the fragility behind her husky little voice… either way, I decided to let my little niece have a peek at some of my illustrations. 
The main character of my story isn’t meant to resemble anyone directly, she’s just a little girl that exists in my imagination. However, I’d loosely modelled her features on my little niece. So I naievely thought that she might be able to recognise her own face in the image above. Our conversation went a little like this:
Me: “So who do you think the little girl in the picture looks like?”
My niece: “Uhhh… she looks like you, Aunty Ayesha…”
Me: (quite taken aback) “Really? Do you think so? She was supposed to look like you!”
My niece: “Well, she does look a little like me, but she looks more like you. She has my hair, but her face is like yours…”
Me: “Well, I thought her face was like yours, but yes, you’re right, she definitely has your hair...” 
It’s funny how much of ourselves we put into our work without even realising it. 
This entry was posted in Children's book illustration, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What’s in a face?

  1. theblowingbranches says:

    This is beautiful! Your niece probably looks a lot like you, or has your essence. I love the way you posted the dialogue here. Perhaps another short story idea…

    Love your art. I used to live in Granada, Spain. It really reminds me of my time there…


  2. Ayesha Gamiet says:

    Hi Patty! Thank you for you kind comments. There is a slight resemblance between my niece and myself, but I think it's closer to the truth that we share the same essence. It always fascinates me how these hidden elements express themselves sub-consciously in creative work.

    Lucky you to have lived in Granada! It's such a beautiful and historic city, so inspiring! I've visited a few times, and have many happy memories of times spent exploring with my sister and friends.

    Best wishes

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