With the imminent release of Memoji, customizable and animated human avatars for iOS 12 users, on September 17th, we began wondering how famous artists past and present would look as small digital effigies. If you have an iPhone or iPad that currently runs iOS 11, you’ll be able to download the iOS 12 update, detailed at Apple’s iPhone event today, to create your own Memoji. With a range of options for skin tones, facial features, hair colors and styles, and accessories, you can make your digital self look like you—or not like you at all.
Like its predecessor Animoji, Memoji will use your device’s front-facing camera to mimic your movements and expressions and deliver your recorded reactions—including voice messages—through the Messages app. You can store multiple Memoji, so you can create some inspired by your favorite artists and use them when you need to channel your inner
Though Memoji are certainly entertaining, while creating the artist examples listed below, we did find that the options are somewhat limited if you want to design a true likeness. We were unable to pull off the looks of some artists with notable features (’s
eyebrows, for instance), and, due to the very cute, round nature of the Memoji design, features like angular noses, heavy brows, and thin faces are a no-go; age is tricky, too, only defined by light shadows and a longer face.
Hairstyles also proved difficult to get right, especially for black artists. It was somewhat expected that we wouldn’t be able to emulate ’s
distinctive sectioned-off dreads, but when referencing artist headshots, we couldn’t find tight ringlets for painter
, for example, or a cropped, feminine cut for photographer
. Though we had issues with hairstyles of white artists, too (the hairstyle we tried for
more closely resembled politician Jill Stein), we were disappointed that we couldn’t capture the likenesses of a number of famous black female artists.
Out of the artists we attempted, here are the most successful, as well as step-by-step slideshows on how to make them.