On the Drawing Board – October 2020

One of the most common questions posed by people who view my art is ‘where do you start?’ This prompted me to start documenting my process so I can go some way to sharing how a portrait is developed.

Currently on my drawing board is this coloured pencil portrait, titled An Age of Indigo. It features a Vietnamese woman who for decades has hand dyed fabric with indigo, and the legacy of her work is her beautifully stained blue fingers.

These six stages take me to approximately half way in completing her portrait. You can see the layers are initially laid down very gently as I build base tones and identify shadows and highlights. This allows me to gradually create depth, then over time I include an increasing level of detail.

The other most frequent inquiry is ‘how long does it take you to draw a picture like that?’ I am yet to keep track of the time spent on any given portrait, preferring to immerse myself in the process and spend as long as each picture requires. I can say though that it is a great many hours of focused and gradual shading, and that by the end of such an intense relationship I feel as if I really know the subject personally.

You can view an album of works in progress on my Facebook page.

Thanks go to Réhahn Photography for the reference image.