People are very different from one another. Think of how boring the world would be if everyone were the same! Things like hair color, height, and eye color are all characteristics that distinguish an individual. People use these characteristics to describe others. In sign language, there are certain rules to follow for describing people.
Descriptions of people tend to follow a particular order, and gender is always mentioned first. It is then followed by the height, color of the hair and hairstyle, and body type. If the person being described has any distinguishing features, these can then also be described. For example, someone may have a very large smile, beautiful blue eyes, or perhaps a certain mannerism.
The sign for “face” is formed by circling your face with the index finger. Touching or stroking your hair forms the sign for “hair.” When you want to describe someone's hairstyle, you simply mime the hairstyle. Perhaps you have used mime when describing someone with a mustache or beard. Natural gestures serve as wonderful enhancers to signing. It is perfectly okay to use them. In fact, you are encouraged to use natural gestures, facial expressions, and body language.
In the next few sections, you will learn how to sign colors, clothing, and emotions to help you better describe yourself and others.