For nearly ten years the character of Tara Sinclair, the female lead of my ongoing City of Heroes trash-fiction homage, has been in my head. I know exactly what she looks like; the colour of her skin, the tones in her hair and eyes, her height, her proportions and the way she holds herself. I know every emotion that comes from within her. I know her so well, I don't have to think to write her. She creates herself. While I can commit her life to text, I have never been able to draw her face. It was a sad thought really. No one has really seen the face that's been in my mind for a decade.
Tonight, as I often do in the evenings, I did some fingerpainting on my iPad. I do it a lot to relax. I don't have a stylus, so it really is fingerpainting. Often, the picture is rubbish or simply for my own entertainment. But today, something started happening. I started to realise the eyes I was drawing were incredibly familiar. So were the shape of the nose, the mouth and the jawline. Then, as soon as I drew the first sweep of hair, I knew who I was looking at.
I have tried to draw her more times than I can count, I've taught myself drawing techniques to help, I note how digital, manga and comic book artists form shapes and expressions in the hope that one day it would all fall into place. I will never claim to be among artists of that caliber. And in every picture I draw there are huge flaws in the line work. But that's fine with me, because today, in under 5 minutes, I fingerpainted Tara Sinclair.