What Does Your Soul Look Like?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

What Does Your Soul Look Like?
I’m trying to create a piece of interactive art. Can you help by drawing something? It should only take 5 minutes.

I’d like you to draw a picture of your soul. How you imagine it to look.

Nothing sinister intended. I’m curious about how different people perceive their ‘soul’.

If enough people do this, it could be really interesting. Because we’ll all be blind to other peoples’ drawings, there’s a chance here to spot patterns, commonalities and any interesting coincidences that might appear across all the souls.

Cooler, we may even be able to build a taxonomy of souls.

At the least, it should be a fascinating, crowd-sourced image…

(This idea was inspired by Waxy’s toyings with Mechanical Turk and The Sheep Market by Aaron Koblin.)


Here’s what to do
Please draw your soul on white paper with a black or dark pen. (Although colour is okay too, if you feel you really need it.) Then scan, webcam or photo it and upload it to: InformationIsSoulful AT Gmail

(You can also draw on the computer if you really want. Though I think hand-drawn might be more soulful?)

: Create a moment for yourself to do it.
: Be expressive
: Don’t think about it too much. Just draw whatever comes to mind. 1st drafts are good.
: It can be as simple or as complex as you like
: IMPORTANT: Please mark your picture in one corner to indicate whether you are male (M) or female (F)

If you’re webcamming or photo’ing, please use a flash or good lighting. Ideally it’ll be pretty much in focus. And filling the frame with the minimum of creases and crinkles.

Credits & Anonymity
If you’re happy for your name to appear in the credit lists of any resulting image, please write words like ‘HAPPY TO BE CREDITED’ in your email. Otherwise, I will treat your submission as anonymous. (If you want to be fully anonymous, you can use yousendit.com.)

That email address is: InformationIsSoulful AT Gmail

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Show Comments ( )

  • Dina

    I don’t think we have souls, it’s OK if I draw my mind? :P

    • Bart

      I think you’re missing the point…
      This isn’t so much a spiritual matter as it is a psychological one.
      The term “soul” is synonymous with “self”, in the context in which it is used here.

    • pep

      No, it has nothing to do with minds baby

  • Bob

    Next: Draw the invisible food you give to your gnomes and unicorns.

    • Eric

      A sage is among us… or not.

  • http://data.timgraham.net Tim

    it remonds me of this:

    Should be fun.

  • Memphis

    When I read this, I thought it’s a great idea. It would be really interesting to see the drawings and people’s feeling about their souls. However, I think that colored pictures should be encouraged, because most people do probably think that Soul is something etheric, nonmaterial, and using only black or dark pen(cil) might be too limiting when you want to express this.
    I do understand that colored pictures take more space or are more expensive to print and I do know that our opinions differ, so I might actually be the only one who finds it difficult to draw a soul with a dark colored pen. .-) But even if this is true, colored pictures may show more .-).

  • http://wana.dk Andreas

    Excellent – will give you my soul!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/mathteacher1729 mathteacher1729

    This reminds me of the Great Cosby Experiment:

    Good luck!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/mathteacher1729 mathteacher1729

    Apparently I didn’t do the linking correctly. Sorry ’bout that.

    The Great Cosby Experiment

  • http://www.hookang.com Hoo Kang

    I’m sure most people know, but it would be nice to have a “dot com” at the end of each gmail.


    Hope this project works well. I’ve sent a picture of my “soul”

  • Elize

    For the first time in my life I am going to send my soul to a complete stranger…..
    (btw: thanks for replying on facebook!)

  • http://prestidigital.blogspot.com may

    I suspect the ultimate beauty will be in the variety of drawings and not in the reduction of all drawings to a formal idea. Einstein spent the last years of his life trying to reduce his findings on relativity to watertight equations. In reducing relativity, he missed out on one of the greatest discoveries: black holes. Interestingly, another physicist, Robert Oppenheimer, used Einstein’s equations to prove the existence of black holes. So perhaps by working from reduced visions we are able to expand our own again? Looking forward to the results.

  • Tim

    ok I sent it to you. it was much harder than I thought initially.

    when someone wins this, and makes a material gain, will they have sold their soul?

    i know you think i am joking, but what is that vague nervous feeling you have right now?

  • http://twitter.com/cec Charlie

    “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” C.S. Lewis
    I have no idea what I look like.

    • Maya

      I like this one

  • http://prestidigital.blogspot.com may

    This also reminds me of a project called “The Minimum Form an Object Needs to Exist”: http://issuu.com/iohipocket/docs/objectology

  • david

    thanks all – i have harvested quite a few souls. Muhahahahaha.

    @dina – mind is good, if you don’t have a ‘soul’
    @memphis – colour is cool if you want to use it – i just wanted to equalise all the contributions colour-wise so some didn’t stick out

    Just a note on any Luciferic connotations. No sinister intentions are intended. I will not own anybody’s ‘soul’ as a result of this. Thank ye.


  • julie_k

    David, have you seen the movie cold souls? Check it out… and read Paul Giamatti pondering how celebs souls would look in the New Yorker.


    love this idea!

  • Bman

    I thought the yogis already determined the soul looks like a coiled serpent that resides above the head, with three and a half coils to the serpent body. Since you’re probably a Westerner reading this, look it up since you don’t believe me.

  • http://www.molecularchaos.com zac

    Just stumbled onto this. Is it still open? Are you going to post them as they come in or just the winners? I should have something together in the next day or so….

    I like your site. Got here from the post at abduzeedo.


    • david

      thanks a lot. Please post your soul to informationissoulful [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

      I’m going to close the entries Oct 31st and contacting book winners around the same time.

  • Dasha

    I’ sorry, my english is not so good, i haven’t really understand, how should i upload the picture of my soul.

    However, It’s a beautifull project.

    Dasha, from Ecuador

  • MartynTyrant

    My soul has been compressed to little under 1.5mb and posted.

    Be careful with it.

  • Savagela

    I was taken in by your infographic:

    I made a full color version of my soul and mailed it in

    Then I read the DETAILED instructions (ohhhhh the detailed instructions) which asked that we use a black pen on white paper and resort to color only if absolutely necessary. So I made a black & white version of my odd, veiny muted color scene and well… it didn’t match well but it was mine.

    Then I looked at the whole post again and saw the big graphic SSS OOO UUU LLL in three colors. Oh the Irony. Fooled by the MisInfographic!

  • worthruss

    In Castenada’s books it’s said the soul looks like a mushroom. In one of the earliest books about the dead sea scrolls, an interpreter claimed that the scrolls indicated Christ was a mushroom. And that the Summarians worshiped the mushroom as a representation of the soul. Castenada said that souls too attached to the world, had huge stems; whereas souls that had achieved peace, and took little from the world were more easily detached and move more quickly to respond to changes. The Hindus all believe in the power of the Godhead. And Freud was a numb skull cocaine addict, out to lock everyone into a system of categories, in which there is little freedom and no enlightenment. Some believe the Bible is written in doublespeak, to throw people off from it’s real meaning, because the early Christians were being treated as little more than animal food. So paint my ‘shroom glowing bright as the sun, and let it shine, let it shine! So wake up children, those seven extra dimensions they’re trying to find with the Hadron Super Collider, may be in your soul full mind’s infinite abilities. Eu ROPE?

  • Wade

    Since we don’t have souls (it’s just a fable), the picture would be of nothing. Pretty boring picture.

  • kr.,

    just a note to say thank you..
    for what you are doing, the information you convey, presented as it is (in an easily accessible and enjoyable manner) has an ability to create a new awareness, and i hope will reach an audience of proportion. honestly, this is one of the most creative, most fun, relevant, (powerful) and necessary works i have had the pleasure of viewing for some time.. i wholeheartedly believe that what you are doing is making a positive impact in the world. congratulations (!)

    also, for the record, if i were to detail my soul i would draw an egg shape (larger side as it would sit toward the bottom) where if it were the size of say a thumbnail there would be dead center in the upper two fifths-two thirds toward the top a perfect circle, the size of a pinhead, just large enough to see the detail inside. i would use a dusted colour, surprisingly, a light blue, starting from the interior of the egg shape but with a gradation swift enough to allow pure white to remain inside the circle, and near that circle radiating outwards (for at least the size of say, and eraser head on a pencil).

  • Brian Boyko (M)

    My soul is a perfect sphere.

    It is surrounded by an imperfect cube cage.

    The soul is the theoretical, the cage, reality.

  • False Reality

    no offense intended to the people who are posting that their soul is just theoretical or fake, but you shouldn’t be posting comments here if you do think it is a farse. please go live your reality, and let us dream and share.

    bright white veil with a soft golden tinge, swirling around an endlessly circling wave of color and void.

  • Kadra

    I like to think that my soul is a complete creation of everything that I am and want to be. Everything good and bad that makes me unique, also shapes my soul. I visualize it as a collage of me but moving and its a little ball. – It’s also in my gut, its the only place where there’s enough room. =)

  • http://data.timgraham.net Tim

    so…. any news on this?

  • Marie

    So, where did all the souls go? Any way we can take a peak at other people’s naked self?
    Still enjoying your site more than I can say

  • Frieda

    Is this piece of art still active? Can I still give a sneakpreview of my innersoul? I’m wondering what others send in as well :)

    • david

      Yes please!

  • Laura

    Do you have these on display at all? At the end of my advertising classes, our professor requires us to hand in a dvd of all of our work from that semester. Since my major is Communication Design, his philosophy is that everything should be designed. We have to come up with 3 logos to put into this dvd case and booklet—descriptive mark, symbolic mark, and a typographic mark. I was thinking for the symbolic mark, this would be a very interesting approach to take, but I was wondering if there were any inspirational examples?

  • http://sunshine4chloe.tumblr.com Laura

    David- did you end up doing anything with these? I’d be curious to see the result of people’s souls…

  • http://www.markireland.com.au Mark Ireland

    A long time ago people saw dragons. A long time after that they saw angels. Now they see UFOs. These people never denied the existence of the soul. Just because you never had a religious experience does not mean you never will.

  • Maya

    I think nothing can express a soul better, when illustrated grafically, than a pencil
    (not sure why, but out of my big stationary box I thought for a while and then picked a pencil because it can interact with me, like if I wanted to press on the paper while using it, or do it with light strokes).

    I think a soul, when protrayed grafically, should have a fluid texture.. also shaky, can breathe

  • http://thelittlebookonline.tumblr.com/ Juliet

    I know you asked for this long time ago but is there any possibility to see the drawings?
    I’m really intrigued :D

    I love your book.

  • Jamie

    Hey, I know this post was way back in 2009. Is the project completed already? If yes, can we see it; if no, can we still send in our drawings?(:

  • Aws Al-Awamleh

    It is the most challenging thing to imagine how your soul look like and then draw it – it is like questioning yourself how god came – you reach to blackness within your mind.

    The soul is everything of nothing.

  • Christopher

    I have seen my soul it looks similar to the vail that you lift when you view through the feild but thats the only way I can explain it .the soul is it’s like when you watch a movie where someone is invisible but you can see the outline kinda like that where you the viewer can see the invisible person but the others in the movie can’t exactly like that

  • Elke

    Een ziel kan je niet op een wit papier tekenen. Het is zo’n felle witte circelvormige ring die een paar centimeters boven je buik zweeft.

  • ann

    I can imagine it verry pure…

  • cisco

    Hey!!! I would like to submit my pic. however i dont just want to submit it and not get to see anybody else’s what do i get out of it? please make it possible so that we can see the rest. i would like to see what the average picture comes out like maybe your right we can have an idea. (those that dont believe in a soul then find another website to blog on)

    maybe uploading them all to an album online ;)

    will submit as soon as this is fixed my emaill is cisco418 at gmail

  • sally pain

    I am looking forward to seeing a selection of the soul pictures. Where are they?

    • Mwaaaaa

      Yes I’d like to know how it turned out too. I’ve just spent the whole day glued to this site and I absolutely love it. Despite the fact that I’m colourblind!

      • Alex

        Mwaaaaa and Sally,

        I’m the editor of David’s site.

        We’re in the final weeks of collecting everyone’s pictures and we’ll be baring your souls in the New Year.


  • Pacemore Coldfall

    Speaking on behalf of this website, on behalf of the Foundation for a Better Tomorrow, for the West Indian members of the band MMI, or “My Magnificent Itchies,” and for much of this—the sentient, and polemically quarrelsome population that constitutes—our particular planetary system, I would like to thank all of those who participated in this remonstrationary interrogative, as well as those who merely stopped by to read that which others had written, and then blithefully moved on to other websites of questionable moral content, including “PlumperPassion.gov” – - the website for men who love women who love cookies, cakes, and governmental service. Each of you deserve a pat on the bum for your patriotic contribution.

    Consequently, the human soul has no color; no color save for anyone other than those who suffer, in some measure, the oft too tepid blood of the Scottish. Then, accordingly, your SoulShade™ should match your particular tartan pattern+colors. This applies to much of the Irish; to all localities that were once, and not so long ago, termed Persia, or thought client kingdoms thereof; to those living in, travelling through, or planning to visit the Tiny Republic of Togo; to all citizens of Soweto; and to the following: Suzie Leblanc, Dan Marino, the current members of “SMAP×SMAP”, Kris Kristofferson, Gus Gustofferson, Tinkie Knockerbytes, Phil Thilphs, and the surviving cast members of “Sluggie Jim, the Boy with No Elbows”

  • http://to-know/ Gia Kaloustian

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  • Niamh O’Loughlin

    This is all very alluring!! :) How do I see the images people drew?

    • Alex, Editor

      Hi Niamh,

      Glad you like the look of our project.
      We’re gathering up final submissions and aim to publish the fruits of all your labours early next year.


  • http://Phoenix-61.deviantart.com Darryn

    Well, this is certainly interesting! I was reading Transforming the mind, which supposedly allows you to unlock your full brain, or most of it. Still at the introduction which basically tells us about the primitive start of our lives. Clearly told me that their was a soul acting in this body with the personalities aroused by situations around me. Blah blah blah, blah read it yourself all you people who doubt that you have a soul:-)because you’re so far off track and are in denial of yourselves. I’d like to participate in this as well. I was wanting to draw my soul and googled the how to for some inspiration into the matter and discovered this. Great idea of uniting us all on our universal level. Big metaphysical thumbs up to this :)