Thursday, 6 August 2009

Pencils and Portraits

I've always enjoyed drawing since an early age, it's the first taste of art you get, from the time you get your first set of crayons. I quickly became a fan of pencils, I have lots of sets, graphic, metallic, watercolour, sketching, pastel, colouring, charcoal and a furry pencil case full of my original Crayola and random colouring pencils (of varying lengths, they've had a lot of use!).

Did you know that there is a museum dedicated to pencils? The Derwent Cumberland Pencil Museum, located in Keswick in the heart of the Lake District, where you can find out about the history of pencil making, and it's home to the world's longest pencil at 7.91 metres (25ft 11.5inches) long, it weighs 446.36kg (984.05 pounds). Now that's a big pencil!

If I'm ever up that way I may have to pay it a visit, I bet I could spend a fair amount of time (and money) in the gift shop!

Pencils have always been my favourite medium when it came to creating a picture, pastels are OK but I never found them very good for doing detailed pictures, same goes for paint, I feel I can't do small intricate details (even with the tiniest brush), not like I can with pencils. I have better control with pencils, you can create thick or thin lines, faint or dark lines, smudge it, blend it, and with watercolour pencils even turn it into a painting! I like that you don't need to wait for anything to dry and it's portable, as long as you have a trusty pencil sharpener with you........and an eraser comes in handy too.

I used to draw on a very regular basis but it's been a long time since I've done some proper drawing. I sketch almost daily but that's usually when coming up with ideas for cards and other projects. The last drawing I did was a portrait of Wesley Snipes as Blade and that was nearly two years ago. I think I need to start making time for drawing, I really enjoy it and I find it relaxing (when things go right) and it'll make a change from constantly thinking of card design ideas, I need to learn how to 'switch off'.

This is my drawing of Blade (Wesley Snipes)

I love drawing portraits, but I tend to worry about not getting a likeness, even if I manage to pull off some sort of resemblance I can always find faults with my work (and that's true of anything I create - it can be the tiniest detail that I can look at and think 'that could be thinner, thicker, straighter, smaller' etc, the list could be endless). I'm probably the harshest critic of my own work, always looking of ways to improve, but I guess that's why 'practice makes perfect'.

So I thought I would dig out some of the portraits I've done over the years, and we're talking over the past 20 years, since the age of 10! Some are good, some aren't so good and some may make you laugh.

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