People fascinate me. It’s as simple as that. And the face is where we live — the face is where it all happens. A twinkle of mischief in the eye, a furrow of annoyance in the brow, a passing thought that sends the eyes heavenward. What’s going on in there? We’re mysteries to each other, even to ourselves, but the face can sometimes, fleetingly, give us away. Those are the moments that make my pulse quicken, that I try to capture in my drawings.

Graphite makes this possible. A mechanical pencil, a pad of paper, a kneaded eraser, my fingers for smudging… and I’m all set. Simple, forgiving tools that can record the interplay of light and shadow on a page, and out of that, on a good day, something special might emerge…

Sketching away in my high school auditorium, circa 1980

Sketching away in my high school auditorium, circa 1980


Lisa Yeisley is a portrait and figurative artist based in Ware, Massachusetts. Born in Easton, PA, she has been drawing and otherwise noodling on the edges of art-making all her life. She studied Illustration at the Philadelphia College of Art and holds a BA from The University of Massachusetts for a self-designed program entitled Cultural Journalism… because she aspired to be the next Charles Kuralt. Alas, that did not come to pass, and after a decades-long detour into the world of graphic design, she finally decided to shut down her computer, stretch aching muscles, and head off to The Art Students League of New York to begin the long-delayed exploration into this thing that’s been tugging at her forever. And since then, time has slowed, her hands are constantly covered with graphite dust, and she couldn’t be happier.