All the faces contained here were drawn and inked over the course of a year and a bit. They were supplied weekly to Bruce Milne's AuGoGo shop in Melbourne. Bruce would take the face and position it in a weekly advertisement showcasing the shops new stock and sale items. The ads were published in the weekly free-press broadsheets at the time - Beat and Inpress.
Each face was drawn and/or inked within an hour. The sketching and drafting of each face was wholly improvized. Sometimes a thought of a face was in my mind, which I quickly doodled into paper. Other times there might have been a face on the TV or in a magazine lying around which I quickly transcribed. In these instances, the aim was to formulate the face immediately and without interruption, as if it was forming itself beyond my control.
Other faces were done with no preconception of a facial type at all. Instead, I would start moving the pen or pencil and virtually make each stroke respond to the next as if a self-generating face was developing. Sometimes these faces were plausibly human, but more often than not they were somewhat abstracted. The cues for these faces was taken from iconic, logo-istic, cartoon and graphic faces - the type you might see emblazoned on old food packages or ads for vintage washing machines. A couple of thick strokes, two circles and a couple of dots: a googly wacko face would suddenly appear.
As I drew a face each week, it made me think about faces more and more. I started looking at people's faces on public transport as if they were the product of my various doodling techniques. Sometimes I would remember such a face when it came to drawing one. Soon, I was engaged in perceiving faces everywhere as if I had automatically drawn them. Their physiology became less a matter of what they looked like and more a matter of how they were drawn that way.
Text & images © Philip Brophy