he-jiaying

sharpington  asked:

when you reblogged that face tutorial you mentioned you rarely see your hairline depicted in art--which hairline is that? I've never thought to pay attention to them before

Hey hey!! I’m so glad you posed this question!!

Hairlines aren’t really extensively talked about in terms of design, and I find that people just tend to use the same old ‘rounded’ or ‘squared-off’ hairlines when designing characters, ignoring the fact that natural hairlines are just as diverse as our other facial features. We lack proper language to describe them, and outside of the black natural hair community, people often don’t give hairlines a thought until they start to go bald. This problem with lack of terminology actually made it hard for me to find good reference for you!!

My hairline actually isn’t that rare in East Asian ethnicities, yet because it’s undesirable and doesn’t conform to beauty standards, no one ever depicts it in art save for a very select few that make it a part of their distinct style. The two artists that immediately come to my mind are illustrators Hayashi Seiichi and He Jiaying. Here is an excerpt from a Hayashi illustration:

And one from He Jiaying:

(He’s illustrations actually helped me come to love my hairline, after years of hiding it and being ashamed of it. Nowdays I don’t stare at my hairline in the mirror, feeling insecure and self-conscious, fervently wishing I could make my baby hairs grow thicker. I now rock a bun nearly daily. Representation matters!!)

My hairline was once described to me as ‘a variation of the classic straight’- though it looks normal when my hair is down, when it’s pulled up, two sharp triangles of baby hair immediately make themselves distinctly visible, too short to get pulled back along with the rest. These two patches right above the temples are thin and fluffy, different in texture to the rest of the scalp.

Here are some examples I yanked from the internet. Pay attention to how the patches of baby hair are visible only when the hair is pulled back:

You can even see it in some of the selfies I’ve posted onto tumblr, lmao!! (#truffs face) My mother, grandmother and both blood related aunts (all entirely Korean) share this hairline with me. It’s entirely genetic, very common and nothing we should be ashamed of.

Now that I’ve embraced my hairline, whenever I draw myself or my characters who share this trait, I tend to deliberately draw in these patches of thinner hair, making sure to pay attention to the directional pull of the strands and visually communicate that it’s less full in these areas. I know my own insecurity made me hyper-aware of hairlines since youth, and normally people don’t pay attention to them at all. But I still objectively feel that they are an important feature of how a head is designed overall, and mine is a distinct physical aspect of myself, and I want people to know that I LOVE my hairline and I know that it’s worth being represented!!