|I was very pleased to receive a Daily Deviation for this drawing, of a Himba woman from Namibia, on 12 December 2014.|
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 was given a Daily Deviation, very kindly suggested by ChrisBeckerArt and featured by Agaave.
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 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.
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.