Dove’s “Real Beauty” Sketches: The Rough Drafts

April 22, 2013


By now, odds are, you’ve seen or heard about Dove’s “Real Beauty” sketches, in which women are asked to describe themselves for a sketch artist, and then compare those drawings to descriptions of them by another person.

If not, here’s the video:

It’s an interesting campaign, and one that clearly took a lot of time and thought.

In fact, it’s easy to forget how much work goes in to something like that. There were a number of drafts before the final version.  For example, it took several attempts before settling on the forensic sketch artist.  So what else did they try?

Wow.  I’m so glad you asked.

For starters, there was the version in which women were asked to describe themselves while being drawn by one of those street-fair caricature artists.  It didn’t go so well.

"Heyyyy, I put you two at a concert!  You like music, right? Suuuuure, everybody likes music."

“I put you two chickies at a concert! You like music, right? Suuuuure, everybody likes music.”

There was the quickly halted version in which tried to capture innocence by having the women sketched by little kids.

"THAT'S what I look like?!  Oh God, my is my head that big?? And my nose!!" *sob sob sob sob*

“THAT’S what I look like?! Oh God, is my head that big?? And my nose!!” *sob sob sob sob*

"I drawed you as a alien! Ha ha ha ha ha!"

“I drawed you as a alien! She talks to the other aliens by barfing. Ha ha!  You barf when you talk! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Bringing in that Anime artist was just asking for trouble.

"Uh... I REALLY don't remember saying anything about a giant sword..."

“Uh… I REALLY don’t remember saying anything about a giant sword…”

"Yes, I suppose I did mention that I like cats, but... I have to go now."

“Yes, I suppose I did say my face had a certain ‘cat-like’ appearance, but… I have to go now.”

Having art students come in probably seemed like a move in the right direction, but, well…

"I really think I've said enough about my breasts at this point."

“You know, I think I’ve said enough about my breasts at this point.”

Then there was Randall. Randall turned out to have issues.



Sometimes it’s nice to peek behind the curtain, isn’t it?  So kudos to Dove for settling on – I think we can all agree – the right choice for the artist.

, , , ,

About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

View all posts by The Byronic Man


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

58 Comments on “Dove’s “Real Beauty” Sketches: The Rough Drafts”

  1. 1pointperspective Says:

    I’m so upset! That artist guy, Pablo, he drew both my eyes on the same side of my face! The second guy, Peter Paul, just made me look fat!


  2. Go Jules Go Says:

    I hadn’t actually seen that commercial – that’s pretty cool! I’m allergic to Dove soap, though, and now suspect this is the root cause of my insecurity.

    I had to stop reading for a sec because I lost it at, “I’m drawing as fast as I can, Mother!”


  3. renée a. schuls-jacobson Says:

    So funny! And I love this lighter side to the series. So many people have their panties in a bunch about it. I loved the message – and this one, too. Don’t take life so seriously, you doojie-butts! 😉


  4. speaker7 Says:

    I don’t know. I might be more partial to kids’ drawings. I like when my son draws a bunch of circles and says it’s me…because that is what I look like.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Maybe it’s a metaphor. “These circles are you.” “Aw, that’s adorab–” ” You, traveling in an endless cycle of birth and rebirth, both literal and microcosmically.”


  5. mairedubhtx Says:

    How funny! Loved the anime.


  6. She's a Maineiac Says:

    If only I could be drawn by an Anime artist. Instead my daughter often draws a striking resemblance of me–my eyes all bugged out, looking like a hot mess.


  7. mistyslaws Says:

    I had not viewed that previously, but for you, B-man, I did. And seeing as I’m on an emotional tsunami of a roller coaster presently, thank you so much for my early morning cry. Damn.

    I especially loved the anime. I think I need an anime artist to draw me. My boobs would look spectacular!

    Psst . . . you might wanna check out Randall’s attic. There may be some remains there, is all I’m saying.


  8. rachelocal Says:

    My favorite is the anime. Do woman REALLY want a reason to feel angry and bitter over a stereotypical view of beauty? If so, they should don a short, skimpy sailor dress, put a red bow in both their pigtails, grab a katana and watch some anime…let the anger begin.


  9. muddledmom Says:

    I’d love to see what I’d look like in anime–rowrr!–because I have a lot of those kid drawings of me. I don’t get better with age.

    Hadn’t seen that video. Thanks for sharing that. It’s a great campaign.


  10. thesinglecell Says:

    My twisted response to the use of the forensic artist was that if any of these women go missing, there will be a sketch readily available for the media.


  11. JM Randolph Says:

    I loved this ad and totally cried when I watched it. It kinda pissed me off that so many people wanted to lambast it, but I guess I am in their target demographic. And it worked on me. Anyway…your post slayed me. SO funny. I think that there’s a real market for anime artists who want to portray real women. It’d be like an illustrated version of a boudoir photo session 🙂


  12. Reheated Coffee Says:

    Where can I get an original Randall art piece?


  13. Jackie Cangro Says:

    I hadn’t seen this video before. Thanks for sharing. Brought tears to my eyes.

    I wouldn’t mind having a children’s book illustrator paint my portrait. “Where the Wild Things Are” is right on target for how I look when I wake up in the morning. 🙂


  14. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    Well, I can see how being drawn by an anime artist might be kind of cool. But sure sure, I suppose they made the right choice here. 😉
    I’ve actually only heard of this commercial through you and another blogger. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  15. pegoleg Says:

    I didn’t see that ad. I liked it, but if course I like your send-up more. What schoolgirl doesn’t carry a huge scimitar in her back back?


  16. Bethylicious Says:

    I had not seen this ad until now but it was very well done. I personally adore the kid drawings. My nephew’s drawings are astonishingly accurate. He always draws his dad with an enormous head and my sister with no ears…both sound about right to me! There was that time he drew me with little tiny T-Rex hands & my husband with a peanut head. I don’t want to talk about that though…


    • Paul George Eberlein Says:

      Maybe the only way to deal with this kind of thing is to remember the message and forget the messenger.


      • Paul George Eberlein Says:

        On the other hand, that may not work either…consider the problems caused by the Insurance Industry’s “Freedom 55” advertising campaign. Now, there’s some serious food for thought…


  17. The Bumble Files Says:

    Dove certainly got a lot of attention, so I think they succeeded with their campaign. Whether or not they sell more product, well who knows. Have you seen the parody with the guys? You must watch it if you haven’t seen it!


    • Paul George Eberlein Says:

      Hilarious! I can see Hair Club for Men making a killing with this, not to mention the plastic surgery industry (Slogan: If she doesn’t like what she sees…let us help you make her romantic dreams come true.)


    • mistyslaws Says:

      That was hysterical!! My favorite part of it was, “his eyes were kind of . . . rapey?” I actually guffawed at that one. Priceless.

      I also like that they used the EXACT lines from the commercial, except for the actors descriptions. Priceless.


      • The Bumble Files Says:

        Yeah, I agree this was well done! That “rapey” line stood out in my mind, too. Hilarious! Glad you enjoyed it.


      • Go Jules Go Says:

        “Rapey” – I watched the video JUST because you said someone said that, Misty. I was not disappointed.


        • Paul George Eberlein Says:

          Me, too! I better go see my eye doctor right away to find out if my eyes are “rapey” or not. (Come to think of it, my eye doctor is a man; better see his girlfriend – who is also an eye doctor – just to be sure.)


  18. Highest Form of Whit Says:

    Always brilliant, always makes me want to be a better writer. “I drawed you as an alien!” sent me into convulsions!


  19. silkpurseproductions Says:

    I’m pretty sure that Randall could get me accurately on the first try.

    This really was a brilliant campaign. Whoever comes up with these ideas is worth more than they are getting paid. But, as much as I love their campaigns I still do not use their product.


  20. Sandy Sue Says:

    I had not seen the video. It made me cry. Everything makes me cry today.


  21. MissFourEyes Says:

    I don’t know, I think I might like being drawn by Randall. He had a crazy charm to his portraits.


  22. littlemisswordy Says:

    I’ve seen so many posts about this ad, and yours is by far the best! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  23. Valentine Logar Says:

    I personally loved the final choice and the campaign, hadn’t seen it before. What is wrong with people.

    Love your post, the alternatives were spectacular.


  24. a2shato Says:

    I think I’d really like someone to draw me as an anime person! 😉


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’d be a mixed blessing, I think. On one hand, your physique and hair would look great and you might get a kitana out of the deal, and you might get to look all powerful and sexy. On the other hand, there’s a reasonable chance you’d look like something someone inflates and gets out of the closet on lonely nights.


  25. a2shato Says:

    Reblogged this on a2shato's Blog and commented:
    Loved this!


  26. anonymousejayeeenne Says:

    Reblogged this on Little things in my life.


  27. yourstruelysandy Says:

    Reblogged this on Signed and commented:
    True Beauty. Powerful.


  28. ice princess Says:



  29. ice princess Says:

    cuteeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! it pretty ilove it


Every Time You Leave A Comment, An Angel Gets Its Wings.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: