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About Traditional Art / Hobbyist Core Member CliveMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
Deviant for 4 Years
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Feb 26, 2017
7:42 am
Feb 26, 2017
2:51 am
Feb 25, 2017
11:00 am
Feb 25, 2017
7:40 am
Feb 24, 2017
8:16 pm


It does not seem possible that more than another year has passed, but DeviantArt informed me a couple of months ago that it was four years since I joined this community.

Once again I must sincerely thank all those very kind deviants (I still cannot get used to that term!) who have commented on my drawings or added them to their favourites, or put me on their watch-list, thus encouraging me to continue to draw.  I continue to be amazed by the number of people that watch me - this currently stands at over 1700.  It is quite a responsibility that I feel as a consequence of this, not to let my standards fall. The encouragement to continue is a good thing, as I really must continue as drawing really takes me out of myself, but on the other hand I am not good at handling the pressure that I sometimes feel.  I apologise to anyone to whom I have omitted to reply to their comment over the past year.  I have included in this journal, should you continue to read, an explanation of why I have not been good at handling the pressure.  As this journal may appear somewhat bleak, I will say at this stage that I end it in a more upbeat tone.

This year has been far from the best for me away from DeviantArt as I have often been rather depressed. Indeed I was really quite depressed at the time that I wrote most of this journal (two months ago now).  I have always had a tendency to depression but while I was working in a job that fitted me like a glove I had a purpose in life which largely kept it at bay.  After I was made redundant ten years ago I took up teaching yoga in the U3A (University of the Third Age).  The two classes I took each week made me feel that I was contributing something useful to society.  Then I took up drawing, and four years ago joined DeviantArt, which should have been a further boost to my mental well-being. Although I have continued to improve my drawing skills, aided as I have said by the encouragement I have received from the community, I have on many occasions found it very difficult to start a new drawing.  This has been because I always doubt my abilities and feel that I will never again match my previous level.  I look at previous drawings of mine and can hardly believe that I drew them! This year, however, it has been worse because of mounting depression that has sometimes robbed me of my enthusiasm for drawing and for listening to classical music (which had been my other main pleasure in life).

It was because of a difficulty to start a new drawing that I wrote four tutorials this year on preparing a photograph of a graphite drawing for submission to DeviantArt.  I eventually regained some enthusiasm again and made my 'Tatopani' drawing Pencil portrait of a smiling girl from Tatopani by LateStarter63 but after completing this I again lost enthusiasm until I changed direction and made my 'Squirrel' drawing Pencil portrait of a squirrel by LateStarter63.  I have even considered submitting something completely different, unrelated to art: the recipe for wholemeal bread that I use to make all the bread my wife and I eat, which I developed from a ciabatta recipe, which involves an overnight fermentation and results in the best wholemeal bread that I have tasted.

The tendency to depression has not been helped this year as I have had to abandon the two yoga classes that I used to run for the U3A as the U3A found that, for the last nine years that I had been running the class, their insurers had not covered me or most of the other yoga tutors who like me have not got formal yoga qualifications against claims from class members. The U3A had specifically used this insurer as they mistakenly thought that they did provide this cover, but have only recently discovered that this was not the case.  Luckily there had been no accidents in my classes!  Running these classes as I said above had given a sense of purpose to my life since I retired, but this has now been removed.

I will explain a little about my health as this has greatly affected my mood, particularly over the last year.  About the same time that I joined DeviantArt, following a PSA test, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer that was both aggressive and had already left the prostate, but thankfully had not reached my bones.  A 'cure', by for example radiotherapy or surgery, was not possible but my treatment with hormone therapy has been very successful in holding the cancer at bay but at the expense of side-effects.  These are a lack of energy (I used to go for a 2 mile run most mornings, but I now can only walk this) hot flushes which are occasionally as frequent as every 30 minutes and are particularly distressing during the summer months, tiredness and a tendency to depression.  After two of my drawings three years ago were affected by perspiration dripping onto them during a flush I now have learnt to avoid this by working in the draught from a fan when the weather is hot! 

PSA tests, used in the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer are unreliable and can result in further intrusive investigation and treatment for something that would never be a real problem and the, possibly unnecessary, treatment can lead to serious side-effects.  Thus the standard recommendation here in the UK regarding testing PSA levels is that it is done only if there are symptoms that suggest that there could be a prostate problem.  Although I had had no symptoms of prostate cancer, because of my age and the fact I knew a couple of people who had been diagnosed with this cancer I nevertheless requested the PSA test, the result of which was very high and kicked-off the investigation, diagnosis and treatment.  As my cancer was aggressive and advanced in spite of the lack of symptoms, it was just as well that I did request the test!  I was one of the relatively rare cases where a test in the absence of symptoms was the correct course of action.

The hormone treatment, as I have said, is holding the cancer at bay at the moment and my oncologist is very pleased with my response to the treatment, but I always experience increased anxiety when the time for the next PSA test monitoring its progress is due, every three or four months.

A further health problem occurred last winter when I experienced a detachment of the aqueous humour in my dominant eye (but luckily no retinal detachment).  This has left me with large and intrusive floaters to which I am gradually getting used.  This was another worry to add to the the worries of life that seemed to pile up on top of me.  There was always so much to do - I have to trim almost 100 yards of leylandii hedge on both sides once a year, shrubs and apple trees to prune, house and garden to maintain and on top of this there is the state of the World - always so very much bad news!

Drawing has been an excellent way to escape from the cares and worries of life since I took it up, so it was particularly disturbing when I found that I sometimes lost my enthusiasm for it.  As my depression had continued to worsen over the last year, a month ago I sought help from my oncologist at my routine check-up (as I said it is a side-effect of the cancer treatment) and he prescribed a medication that should not only help with the depression, but could also reduce the severity of my hot flushes.  I have started on this treatment and it appears to be helping with both side-effects.  I will endeavour to keep drawing as it is very good therapy for me.

I recently got an unexpected and pleasant boost when I was awarded a second prize in a competition organised by AmBr0, for my Pencil portrait of a squirrel.

I am sorry for unburdening myself in this way in this journal.  As my mood has improved noticeably in the last week I did wonder whether I should scrap the whole thing but I decided against this, as is obvious, in the hope that my experience with PSA testing might be of help to anyone who is considering this for themselves.

It is already time for my annual journal - how time flies!

This year has been the most eventful of the three that I have been a member of this great community.

Firstly in mid-December 2014 I was surprised to find that my Pencil portrait of a Himba Woman by LateStarter63 was given a Daily Deviation, very kindly suggested by ChrisBeckerArt and featured by Agaave.

As if that were not enough, at the end of December I received a lovely Christmas gift of a three month Premium membership from pipaspases.  Then in March I was given another three month membership by ZARTAOT!  I am very grateful to these generous members for introducing me to the advantages of Premium (now Core) membership and indirectly for persuading me to keep drawing (see below).

The number of my watchers has more than doubled to over 1000 in the last 12 months and the apparent popularity of my drawings in a Pencil Portrait Girl search has continued to overwhelm me.

I read in the newspaper the other day that Emma Watson had given an interview to a magazine in which she said that she felt inadequate: 'It’s called the impostor syndrome. It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.  I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are.'.  This is exactly how I feel.  Indeed last Christmas I considered stopping drawing and ‘quitting while I was ahead’ as I felt that I must have reached my peak.  I was then given the couple of gift subscriptions, as mentioned above, by very kind members, and so I felt that I had to continue if only to justify their generosity.  I am very grateful to them for changing my mind as I have actually produced many of what I consider to be my best drawings in this last year, such as Pencil portrait of an Egyptian girl by LateStarter63 and Pencil portrait of a cheeky Madagascan girl by LateStarter63.  This latter drawing had almost as many viewings in its first two days after upload as did my Himba Woman drawing on the two days after it was made a Daily Deviation.    Continued practice obviously can still yield improvement.

Eighteen months ago I found that two artists elsewhere on the Internet were each using one of my drawings to advertise their portrait drawing services.  I was able to get one of these, from India, taken down within a couple of days of my complaining to the website, but I had no joy with the other, from Lithuania, where my drawing is still in use.  These two events paled into insignificance, however, when I recently found that a Turkish artist is using 11 of my drawings to advertise a service to draw from a photo that he offers on his website.  He has also used drawings from five other DeviantArt artists and I have informed them of this.  Whilst I find it somewhat flattering, it is obviously misleading to his clients (although he can draw very well, as the many examples of what seem to be his own work show).  It makes me wonder why he would want to misuse my drawings!  As this is on his own website, if I were to contact him he would find out my email address, so I might open myself up to nuisance emails.  I am therefore leaving well alone!

I still sometimes get the feeling that I have done as much as I can with graphite pencils (and I have no desire to change medium) but it does give me a hobby into which I can completely lose myself, so I am fairly sure that I will continue to draw as long as I can find great photos that I can use as references.

I look forward to my next year on DeviantArt.


LateStarter63's Profile Picture
Artist | Hobbyist | Traditional Art
United Kingdom
I draw in pencil simply as a hobby. I started drawing at the end of 2009 after a break of getting on for 50 years, since O-Level at school.

When I started I drew portraits from newspapers, magazines and TV, and progressed to include nudes from the same sources.

When I went onto the Internet in late 2011, I had access to better quality photos and took inspiration from the fantastic drawings I saw on sites such as DeviantART, which prompted me to improve my drawings.

For my drawings I use fine surface heavyweight cartridge paper, graphite pencils from 5H to 9B, tortillion, kneadable eraser and occasionally the handle of a small paintbrush sharpened to a point. I sharpen the pencils with a helical sharpener and glasspaper block.

More recently I have used extra smooth surface Bristol board for most of my drawings, and added a battery operated eraser, eraser pencil, paper tissues and a small synthetic bristle paintbrush to my drawing equipment.

In October 2011 I started to attend a self-help, untutored, life-drawing class.

I listen to a lot of classical music, from CD, radio and live concerts.


Pensive Girl drawing process
Here are a few notes on my drawing process.  I must apologise because the first eight photos were taken with a tablet computer, often under poor illumination as the weather was  overcast so are of very poor quality.  Only the last photo, of the completed drawing, is of a better quality having been taken with our compact camera after my wife had returned from her holiday with it.

Each photo was taken of the previous day's work, before starting any new work. Sometimes I would work for less than an hour in a day, sometimes there would be two sessions of up to two hours.

The first photo shows the initial sketch made using the 'Slip and Slide' method and a 0.3mm mechanical pencil, very lightly.  At this stage I also added the indentations, made with the finest embossing tool, for the fuzz on the cuff of her jumper, the highlights in the single hair strands of the curl by her chin, the highlit hair crossing her left eye, etc.

There are just a few more things that I will say about the way I made this drawing. 

The skin tone was built up slowly, layer by layer, with circular shading and tissue blending. I used mostly 0.3mm and 0.2mm 2B pencils, but used 0.5mm 4B and even 6B and 8B pencils for the darker areas.  For the final adjustments I used the pencil very lightly and blended, again very lightly, with a cotton bud so that some fine texture remained.

I zoomed in on the reference photo (using IrfanView which has an excellent 'zoom to selection' feature) to get a better view of the texture of the jumper and elsewhere where I needed to make a closer examination of the reference.

For the hair I first divided the hair into locks.  I then laid down the basic tone of the hair with the side of the lead of a 4B pencil in the direction of the hair strands and blended.  Further tone was added, drawing from dark to light in the locks with the point of a pencil again in the direction of the hair strands with decreasing pressure towards the highlight.  Next I would blend lightly and then lift out highlights, or general gloss, with a kneadable eraser.  I repeated layers of pencil and lifting out highlights, often using a pinched edge on a kneadable eraser to give a finer highlight, until I was satisfied with the effect.  By using a 0.2mm mechanical pencil, fine hair texture was added in both darker and lighter areas.  A sharp soft pencil was used to darken areas where locks overlap.

Stray bright hairs were added using a TomBow ultra-fine eraser, which was also used to carefully clean out indentations made earlier where they had partially darkened with graphite dust during blending.  I frequently cut the eraser to a fresh edge with a craft knife to ensure clean erasing.

The very subtle shading on her fingernails was added with a point of a small blending stump that had been used so that it had picked up a very small amount of graphite, rather than drawing it in with a pencil, and then adjusted with a kneadable eraser.

Here is the finished drawing Pencil portrait of a pensive girl by LateStarter63

Here are some of my other drawing processes  Nhu Hidden Smile drawing process by LateStarter63  Tatopani Drawing Process by LateStarter63   Myanmar (Burma) drawing progress by LateStarter63   Alisa drawing process by LateStarter63
Pencil portrait of a pensive girl
Graphite pencil portrait of a pensive girl on A4 Daler Rowney Airbrush Bristol board.

Pencils: Mars Lumograph (4B,2B, B, H, 4H), Faber Castell 9000 (6B and 8B), mechanical pencils 0.2mm/2B, 0.3mm/2B and 0.5mm/4B with Ain Stein leads.
Blending: Blending stump from Royal Langnickel, cotton buds and paper tissues.
Indentation:  Royal Langnickel embossing tool.
Erasing: WH Smith kneadable eraser, Tombow Mono Zero Ultra-fine eraser, Jakar battery electric eraser. 
Photo adjustment using GIMP: Removal of barrel distortion; Cropping to A4 ratio; Removal of perspective distortion; Cropping unfinished edges of drawing; Adjustment of histogram.

I thank Angyalimosoly for giving the lovely photograph that I uses as my reference (…) a CC0 Public Domain licence.

My wife was on holiday, having taken our camera with her, at the time that I drew this so I knew that I had plenty of time to complete this challenging drawing before she returned and I was able to photograph and upload it here.

Here is the drawing process  Pensive Girl drawing process by LateStarter63

Here are some of my other children's portraits: Pencil portrait of Nhu with a fence by LateStarter63  Pencil portrait of Kira by LateStarter63   Pencil portrait of Alisa by LateStarter63   Pencil portrait of Alyzza by LateStarter63   Pencil portrait of Avery by LateStarter63
Pencil portrait of a Vietnamese girl
Graphite pencil portrait of a Vietnamese girl on A4 Daler Rowney Airbrush Bristol board.

Pencils: Mars Lumograph (8B,4B, H, 4H), Faber Castell 9000 (6B and 8B), mechanical pencils 0.2mm/2B, 0.3mm/2B and 0.5mm/4B with Ain Stein leads.
Blending: Blending stump from Royal Langnickel, cotton buds and paper tissues.
Erasing: WH Smith kneadable eraser, Tombow Mono Zero Ultra-fine eraser, Jakar battery electric eraser. 
Photo adjustment using GIMP: Removal of barrel distortion; Cropping to A4 ratio; Removal of perspective distortion; Cropping unfinished edges of drawing; Adjustment of histogram.

My sincere thanks go to  Réhahn Photography for permission to use his photo of Vietnam in Black and White as reference for this drawing.  His photo is Copyright Réhahn Photography.
Girl and Cat Drawing Process

The first 6 photos were taken using a tablet computer and are of a lower quality that the last four.  

Much of the process can be inferred directly from the photos so I will write about only those details that are not apparent from them such as the techniques that I used.

1   The initial sketch was made with a 0.3mm/2B mechanical pencil, very lightly, using the ‘slip and slide’ method to mark key positions and key lines of the picture.

2   The finest embossing tool was used to indent fine lines in and around the paws, the chin and body of the cat and the glints in the girl’s bracelet.  I realised later that I should have used a larger tool to make these bracelet dots so that they stood out more in the final drawing.  The whiskers were first drawn in lightly with the side of the point of a 5H pencil to ensure that they were correctly positioned before indentation with a rather larger embossing tool for most of the whisker and the fine tool for the tip of the whiskers.  During indentation a piece of card was placed between the drawing and the rest of the pad of paper so that firmly indented lines did not damage the next sheet of paper. A lamp was positioned to shine obliquely across the paper so that I could to some extent see where I was making the indentations relative to my sketch.   

I then started very light circular shading of the face and background (0.3mm/2B) blending with a tissue.  I started shading the body of the cat with the side of the point of a 4B wood cased pencil.

3    More light shading was added to the face with circular shading plus blending with tissue.  The paw was shaded with 4B, 6B and 8B and texture added with the Tombow eraser.  Some texture here had also been added during the indentation in Step 2.

4    Initial shading of the cat’s head (4B).

5    Some detail was added to the cat’s head.

6    I did the initial shading of the hair using the side of a 4B point and blended with a tissue.  I increased the shading on the girl’s face where needed with 0.5mm/4B using blended circular shading.  For the darker areas I used a 6B and even 8B, again with circular shading with blending.

7    The detail in the reflection in the girl’s eye was added with the 0.2mm/2B.

8    I added highlights under some individual eyebrow hairs with the Tombow eraser.

The hair shading was refined using 4B, 6B and 8B pencils and blending, adding highlights with a kneadable eraser and fine texture with 0.3mm/ 2B and 0.2mm/2B pencils.
The Tombow eraser was used to add the bright highlights on the out-turned ends of her hair round the girl’s neck.

9     I tried to lighten the lightest parts of the girl’s face using well-used pieces of kneadable eraser and Blue-tac without success – both were too dirty to lift off the low level of well-blended graphite.  I then made the dreadful mistake of trying a new piece of Blue-tac.    In the absence of a significant layer of graphite it lifted fibres from the paper surface!  I immediately stopped using this and tried a new piece of kneadable eraser, which worked perfectly.  The slight damage to the paper is luckily not very noticeable.  Indeed one person has commented that he liked the reflections from the unevenness of the girl’s skin!

I lightened the background on the top right of the picture by dabbing with the new kneadable eraser, but I now notice that I had left a sharper transition to the darker shading than would have have been ideal.

I cleaned up the indentations of the whiskers using a Tombow eraser and the bracelet sparkles using a clean sharpened tip of my Jakar battery eraser.  I cleaned up the highlight along the top of the cat’s paw using kneadable and Tombow erasers.

The cat’s eyes were finished off – the shape of the pupils was adjusted using the Tombow eraser and 0.2mm/2B to give them a sharp edges; the iris and its highlights were adjusted using the 0.2mm/2B and blending stump and the highlights were added with a kneadable eraser; the reflections of window were sharpened and detail added with the 0.2mm/2B

I added the girl’s stray highlighted hairs using the Tombow eraser, the edge being kept sharp by trimming it with a craft knife.

10    Satisfied with the shading contrasts on the cat’s body but wanting to darken it generally, I used the side of the point of an 8B. 

I smoothed the shading of the shadow side of the girl’s face using 0.2mm/2B fine circular shading over the 4B, 6B and 8B which had been applied and blended earlier but had left a rather blotchy effect.  I used the 0.2mm/2B also to further define the fine line where the lips touch.

The finished drawing can be seen here Pencil portrait of a girl with a cat by LateStarter63
Pencil portrait of a girl with a cat
Graphite pencil drawing of a girl holding a young cat, on A4 Daler Rowney Airbrush Bristol board.

Pencils: Mars Lumograph (4B), Faber Castell 9000 (6B and 8B), mechanical pencils 0.2mm/2B, 0.3mm/2B and 0.5mm/4B with Ain Stein leads.
Blending: Blending stump from Royal Langnickel and Boldmere,  and paper tissues.
Erasing: WH Smith kneadable eraser, Tombow Mono Zero Ultra-fine eraser, Jakar battery electric eraser. 
Indentation:  Royal Langnickel embossing tools.
Photo adjustment using GIMP: Removal of barrel distortion; Cropping to A4 ratio and removal of perspective distortion; Cropping unfinished edges of drawing; Adjustment of histogram.

The photograph which I used as reference for this drawing is from Wikimedia, Girl with a young cat, and is in the Public domain.  The photographer who kindly gave his lovely photo this designation is Joaquim Alves Gaspar

I made extensive use of my 0.2mm/2B mechanical pencil on both the fur and for the skin tone in this drawing.

Here is a link to the drawing process for this drawing:  Girl and Cat Drawing Process by LateStarter63

Here are other drawings that I have made from photo references from Wikimedia:

Pencil portrait of Gene Tierney by LateStarter63  Pencil portrait of a cheeky Madagascan girl by LateStarter63  Pencil portrait of a Pareci girl by LateStarter63   Pencil portrait of a Himba Woman by LateStarter63


Add a Comment:
Lilyas Featured By Owner 1 hour ago  Professional General Artist
Your art is totally amazing, Clive! Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:
Andulino Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the favorite ;)
LateStarter63 Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My pleasure.
LoLo-is-SeaDoo-ing Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2017   Digital Artist
Very nice to have you in Self Taught Artist, Clive, welcome to the group! :)
Anup-ArT-DeSiGn Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are too good in your professional...:)) really enjoyed to watch your collection.
LateStarter63 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for the 'Watch', Anup.
ianwh Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
my pleasure Clive :) (Smile) its a beautiful pencil drawing
LateStarter63 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks again.
Klaberator Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017  New Deviant Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for the kind words!
LateStarter63 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My pleasure, Matthew.
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