The Library People - A Series of Portrait Drawings

I like doing drawings in series. Sometimes these are short, but the Library People Series of drawings is one I have done for many years.

I'm sure I didn't know what I was doing in the beginning. I started drawing people, mostly from mugshots, on the insides of discarded library books.

Natalie Schorr - Self portrait on a discarded library book

Natalie Schorr - Self portrait on a discarded library book

They weren't beautiful people, or handsome, just people. But I felt for them; their lives and misdeeds, their joys and incredible sorrows.

And then there were the books. Discarded from libraries, heaped up at yard sales or junk stores, I was curious about their secret lives. Where had they been? Who borrowed them, read them, and discarded them?

Over time, as I processed things from my own life, particularly my childhood, I began to understand more of what the series was about. It stemmed from years of working through my mother's declaration that I was homely, of terrible and embarrassing acne, and of a sense of abandonment and loneliness.

A few years ago, I decided to draw myself as part of the Library Series. I chose a book from Thomasville High School's Library, one that had a huge DISCARDED stamp on it. I think there was a great deal of personal healing in doing this piece. I never gave it a number.

I am still working on the Library People series. Occasionally I even do them in color now, but the majority remain as contemporary portraits in graphite. You can occasionally find them in my Etsy shop, ottoblotto, or find reproductions in my Zazzle shop, Incomplete Thoughts.

Thank you to Illustration Friday, whose word this week is People. I like people, and I think there is something beautiful in everyone.