Three Pencil Drawing Portraits from last Millenium

I took a trip home and down memory lane over christmas. It hadn’t quite dawned on me just how much stuff I’ve made over the years, but looking back through everything it was plainly obvious that still life and figure drawing is what fascinated me before I got into animation. I thought it would be nice to share these three drawings and what they mean to me.

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Here’s a quick breakdown of each of the pics. (N.B. the originals of the 1st two are very small, drawn in a tiny little A6 sketchbook, the third is only slightly larger. I’ve blown them up a bit here.)

1) I drew this quick sketch in 1995 when I was 18 years old and at Art College in Lincoln. I just remember flicking through a TV a guide and picking a random girl to draw. End of story.  I’ve always thought of these drawings as a sort of triptych, there’s no real rhyme or reason, just a kind of reference of honing my technique with a 0.5mm propelling pencil. But they stick in my mind.

2) Christy Turlington looking foxy (that’s what I thought at the time…!) By now I was 21, it was 1998 and I was living in Wales doing my 3rd year animation degree at GCADT. It was this drawing that cemented my belief that copying from photographs is a waste of time. Something I still strongly believe. This again was finding a random picture of a pretty girl to draw. I remember being frustrated by the lack of detail in the photo and having to do everything kind of soft-focus. One of those pics that sticks with me though.

3) Swirly Madness. This is one of the last drawings I ever made from a found photo in early 1999. I’ve no idea who the person is, but the the thought process was to find a picture and do a similar drawing to the Christy Turlington one, but try and add something original to it of my own design. I remember sitting in my cold, damp, welsh kitchen for a couple of evenings and making this whilst watching the telly. I still really like the hallucinogenic, surrealist feel of it… but I never followed it up after some bright spark commented “it’s nice, but you could have just bunged a photoshop filter over the photo and got the same effect…”

Wise Words.

5 thoughts on “Three Pencil Drawing Portraits from last Millenium”

  1. You were amazing even as a young artist (not like you’re young now)! Makes me wonder how much my work will improve over the course of time. I like how you mention not using photographs anymore and I couldn’t agree with you more. Working from life is so much more different from a photograph. Again, your work with just a pencil is amazing! I’m nowhere near as good haha!

  2. Thanks for the kind words – much appreciated! It drives me crazy when I go to galleries or shops selling pieces that are obviously drawn from photographs… they always look flat and lifeless. It’s a double edged sword though, I want to make a new series of still life etchings and not wanting to work from photos makes it very difficult. How can you capture the right lighting…

  3. I guess you can use the photographs as a reference, to get the basic form of the items. Then you just use your experience with how light works on the object to further render it.

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