DePaul student challenges herself to draw 100 portraits in 100 days

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Bethani Randolph, a DePaul junior, is attempting to draw 100 portraits before May 20. (Photo courtesy of ZOE KRAFT)

Bethani Randolph, a DePaul junior, is attempting to draw 100 portraits before May 20. (Photo courtesy of ZOE KRAFT)

When DePaul junior Bethani Randolph’s mind wandered during class, she wasn’t preoccupied with thoughts of weekend plans or what homework she had due in her next class. Instead, the art, media and design major was setting a goal for herself: draw 100 faces in 100 days.

“It’s a personal project,” she said. “I was literally sitting in class and just thought of it.”

Randolph announced her goal Feb. 10 through a Facebook post, and since then has drawn portraits of friends, friends of friends and family members — basically anyone willing to sit down for an hour with her.

“I had seen some (posts) on Pinterest like, ‘Make yourself a better artist.’ And I would never keep up with them, but I thought if I made it a public thing then I would feel like now I have to do it,” she said. “I told everyone I’m going to do it, so I better do it.”

Twenty days into the project, Randolph had drawn 16 portraits. The process is simple: make the trip to Randolph’s Wrigleyville apartment and sit there. She does the rest of the work. “A lot of people have never done this before — never sat for a portrait,” she said.

The drawing usually takes about an hour, but Randolph gives her subjects a break every 15 minutes if they want it.

“(The drawing) would look better if someone sat for me for three hours,” she said. “I know it would. But no one’s going to want to do that, so I try to set myself a time limit.”

DePaul junior Danny Farber sat down with Randolph for a portrait and called the experience “surreal.”

“I’ve never done anything like it before,” he said. “I felt like she’s trying to bring back an art that is seemingly lost in today’s digital age. It was like the 1800s.”

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Inspired by Randolph, members of The DePaulia’s staff attempted to draw one another. The results weren’t quite as good.

The project has become a joint effort between Randolph and her roommate and friend, DePaul junior Zoé Kraft. “Well, I made Zoé do it,” Randolph said. Kraft, a digital cinema major, is recording the process and photographing the subjects with their newly-drawn portraits. They plan on compiling the videos and pictures taken by Kraft during the process and compiling them in a movie.

One of Randolph’s favorite aspects of the project is getting to show her subjects how they look through someone else’s perspective.

“It’s just to fun to see how I see another person’s face,” she said. “Because if Zoé and I drew the same person, regardless of skill level we’re going to draw that person differently.”

Kraft and Randolph hope their final project will send the message that people can put too much of an emphasis on outward appearances.

“She was telling me how drawing all these people, when we put them all together it’s (that same) concept of two eyes, a nose, a mouth,” Kraft said. “All these different people and the differences they have, it doesn’t matter. You know, it just ties them all together.”

With a deadline of May 20, Randolph still has dozens of portraits to draw until she reaches her goal. And while she’s optimistic she’ll reach 100 faces in these 100 days, she isn’t one to self-promote without some encouragement.

“(People interested in getting their face drawn) can do whatever they want to,” she said. “I’m not really selling them anything. But they do get a free picture.”

If interested in being drawn by Randolph, you can email her at bbethanii@gmail.com.