When my oldest daughter headed off to university she gave me a lot of drawing equipment she had acquired from her school days as part of a general clear out she was undertaking. I thought I would try out some of her metallic markers that were amongst them, in particular, the silver, gold, and bronze pens. I liked the effect they give on black paper.
Ipad drawings using Sketchbook X and sketched using my finger much easier than using a stylus. I found the technique and media very hit and miss at first, much like other media. It just takes time and perseverance and many false starts. This portrait is of Terry.
I have spent much of the spring terms life drawing sessions drawing with highlighter pens. I am intrigued by the visual impact using these pens give to the drawing. Different colour pens give different qualities with the orange and pink, perhaps, providing the most ‘trippy’ experience.
The unique quality that these pens give however does not always translate when attempting to reproduce them. Computer scanners do not transfer the luminous quality digitally, photographing the drawings seems to be the best option, however, the fluorescent colour is best reproduced in a modest light which helps lifts the colour but at the expense of a darkened paper .background
Over the years, and because it’s particularly useful in my role as an art & design lecturer, I have kept my own version of a Commonplace book, a book where I would jot down all manner of facts and information that I feel may prove useful to me at some future point. Quotations, poems, ideas, and plans- all find their way into these notebooks (I now have a good number of them) alongside which I also place information that is somewhat mundane and prosaic-notes from work meetings for example. When I began teaching as a career I quickly realised that the obligatory staff/work meetings that I had to attend were an ideal place to sketch. My work colleagues who were present and, as a consequence, being somewhat static and focused elsewhere, presented ideal opportunities for impromptu portraiture.
The caricature style of the sketches are a reflection of the drawing technique that I use. I focus on the face of the person and do not look at my notebook as I draw- and I then draw quickly, in this way I avoid the ‘nodding head’ action that accompanies the act of looking at the sketchbook and then the subject, after all, I do not wish to draw attention to myself (I am expected to be attentive to the meeting after all) or to make my subject self conscious or embarrassed should they become aware of my interest. This approach (at times) allows for surprisingly accurate likenesses. These drawings are not meant to be ‘serious art’ and drawing in notebooks, as opposed to using a sketchbook, releases me from any expectation as to the quality of work – I can just have a bit of fun.
These sketches have been completed over the past 15 years. Many colleagues have now retired or moved on to other jobs and these drawings serve as a record of individuals who taught me a lot about the craft of teaching.
Life drawing (drawing the human figure) continues to play a central role in both my teaching and art practice. I view the attending of life drawing classes as akin to going to the gym- a technical and creative workout. During those few hours in front of the human figure I am presented with an opportunity to practice those all important observational skills; skills acquired through the practice of giving full attention and focus to the subject. In the process I can also explore ideas around line, form, shape and tone. I also have the opportunity to experiment, and become familiar, with a range of media, techniques and technology whilst enjoying the company of like minded people both models and fellow artists.