Jessie Young Brings A Drawer’s Eye To Digital Art


Digital artist Jessie Young learned as an adult she had a condition called “face blindness,” meaning her brain processes faces differently than typical brains and, as a result, she has a hard time recognizing people. “When I learned this it felt like discovering that everyone around me had X-Men powers,” she said.

In response to this revelation, she started studying faces, really looking at them. This led to doodling faces, which led to drawing faces. She now is about halfway to her goal of creating 100 vector drawings of faces, a challenge she invented for herself, in part to show her art students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School that she can walk the walk—that she works hard for her craft, as she expects them to do. Young also teaches at Putney School during the summer. She spoke about how her drawing muscles are getting stronger because of her mission to create 100 drawings to Adobe Create Magazine. She uses Adobe Draw on her iPad and Adobe Illustrator on her Macbook Pro. “No filters, no tracing,” she said, “just marks on a surface, and from time to time I hit ‘undo.’”

Young earned her B.F.A. in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. At the tail end of her college career, she picked up a stylus and dove into digital art. She also holds an Master of Science in Art Education from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She will show her images at the Grubbs Gallery in January. A reception with the artist is planned for January 6 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

In order to meet her goal, she works during spare moments. “I have to squeeze in drawing time whenever I can,” she said. “I do it on the bus, during lunch at school, when I play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends (because I’m a giant dork). Sometimes I post photos of the weird places I draw on my Instagram. My favorite ‘I draw everywhere, man’ moment was when I found myself completely alone in a movie theater this past September. Since there was no one around me that would object, I just drew on my iPad and watched The Big Sick with my huge tub of popcorn and my feet across two seats. It was glorious.”