My first instinct is to say “no.” After all, the words are what really matter, right? So when I set up my Twitter account, this was the image I decided to go with.
For all you know, I really look like this.
Profile picture solved. And this simple image represents a part of myself that I identify pretty strongly with; in my doodle-comics, the Face is my more creative, unfiltered side. It’s the side that says, “Twitter would be fun! And Tumblr! I have ideas for posts!” and then gets bored or scared five minutes into the project, leaving a handful of half-started ramblings for my more practical side to edit. In a sense, this is me–the writing/reading me, as I appear in the pages of my journals.
Then I found myself noticing other people’s Twitter profile pictures. A good profile picture won’t make me follow someone, and I don’t necessarily care if they have a head shot as their profile pic. But if they do have a picture of themselves, it feeds into my assessment of them. Do they look like nice people? People I would hang out with?
That made me think about profile pictures from the other side of the fence. Maybe what we look like shouldn’t matter, but we often have precious little to go by in this online world. And there’s something reassuring about a smiling face.
That wasn’t enough to make me post a photo of myself on Twitter, though, because frankly, I don’t want to see a photo of myself every time I log onto Twitter. But the challenge of drawing a new version of myself for my doodle-comics? That got my attention.
My first effort wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
Sketch Me is evidently annoyed with Real Me.
Aside from how displeased Sketch Me looks, I realized I was dealing with an outdated, inaccurate image of myself, somewhere between high school and never. I looked up different drawing styles, tried out some anime-type eyes, and then finally turned to a photo of myself. It was at this point that I realized that I didn’t even have my hair curving (curling is too generous a word) in the right direction.
Not even the most “realistic” one.
I did some more sketching, trying to work with basic shapes–things I could draw relatively quickly, for doodling purposes. I continued to be dissatisfied with the eyes.
As Sketch Me gets increasingly tired.
And then, finally, I caved and decided to try to draw my glasses. I wear glasses most of the time, but I never draw them on myself because I always figured they would be a pain. Now I looked at where my glasses sat on my face, and gave it a shot.
That’s right. I use a Mac. But almost never a table.
And suddenly I had something I liked.
Suddenly the image on the paper matched my internal image of myself pretty well.
I copied it onto another page and added some color. Nothing too fancy; it will probably only be profile-picture sized, after all.
Since this post is sort of about what I look like: the part in my hair is actually on the other side, so this is more like Mirror Me than Real Me. The part’s also probably not that off-center. But I’m not changing it now.
Back to my original question: does what I look like matter? Maybe it shouldn’t, especially in a realm where the primary form of interaction is through words. But it obviously matters more to me than I thought, as evidenced by how finicky I got about my doodle self.
If anyone wants to weigh in: is this profile picture better than the one I started with? Do people’s profile pictures (or author photos) matter to you? And if so, why?
Bonus points if you can tell me what this picture reminds you of. The style makes me think of something, but I can’t figure out what. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? Not quite… argh, I don’t know. (ETA: Anime/manga style seems to be part of it, but I’m not sure it’s the only influence, since the eyes are simpler than most of the anime-style eyes I’ve seen.)