I drew the above back in ’04 (I think?) from a specimen at the Smithsonian Naturalist Center. After a year or so, I found it in the sketchbook, and thought, “Yow! He’s lopsided!” I felt pretty stupid. I even called them and asked if he were, and they said no.

But now that I think about it after a few years of working on my self-esteem, I don’t think it’s lopsided after all. (And no, I don’t mean that it’s-a-cool-drawing-in-and-of-itself.) Rather, faces are lopsided; some more than others. And more to the point, after looking at the pic for some clues, I realize that the left side of the face (your right) is normal–and the right is noticeably different. The very fact that you don’t see the zygomaxillary suture there is something of a giveaway. My guess is that something got a little squished on that side in utero. I’m betting the people at the Naturalist Center didn’t see this skull as abnormal, just as I hadn’t when I was right there paying very close attention, so that my hand put down what my eyes were seeing. So it was him; that’s just the skull he had–and I didn’t “fall out of drawing,” as they say.

I’m enormously relieved. I worked pretty hard on that piece, and it’s one of my best. I draw really well when I put my mind to it (and get a good roll on the chicken bones), and I was bummed that I could have done something that spectacularly . . . well, wrong.

The interesting thing for me is that although I have a degree from a kick-ass Art program (UW/Madison), I went with I-was-wrong. I trusted my insecurity instead of my training and talent.

I’m glad my brain and soul have caught up to my eyes and hand.