Fineliner faces from the lockdown

So here are more of the lovely, colourful women who kept me company during the lockdown. I learned that just about any colour combination can be used to depict faces. And that layering many colours makes for interesting tones and textures.

I was, of course, unprepared, and faced lockdown with nothing in the way of art supplies but a (thankfully quite empty) sketch book and a lovely new giant pack of fineliners. That lack of choice was quite useful since I didn’t have to think too much about what I was going to do.

Lockdown was not a time for great inspiration, so knowing that I was just going to draw women’s faces made it easy to get started, even on those days when I didn’t feel like getting out of bed.

I learned that faces depend on the right degree of contrast in the right place. Here are some of my favourite, but the kindly face on the right needs more contrast around the hairline.

I also learned that there are great liberties to be taken with depicting faces. That as long as the eyes, nose, mouth combination is there, one can change the features, and their spacing and size and shape. Faces allow great freedom, they develop on the page in a most satisfying way.

Since lockdown has been over (at least here in Portugal), I’ve had less time for drawing. Which is a pity really. It was a wonderful space, all that time to just work on faces.

Pens and faces

My latest exploration is of drawing faces using coloured fineliner pens. In part this is due to the limitations of living in a small apartment, but it’s been interesting to have limits. To limit myself further, I’ve been focusing on women’s faces.

I’ve long been interested in portraits and working to express some of the complexity of people through portraits, but here the experiment is more about learning the medium. I’m after repetition, practice, and learning. These sketches are a record of my learning. I try to draw one or two of these a week, and I have a growing pile.

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I’m enjoying playing with different colour palettes and the process of building up the features with layers of ink. I’m not totally happy with the outcome yet, but there are some effects in each of these that I like.

These are drawn from pictures, and so depend also on the skill of the photographers involved. Interesting lighting angles make for interesting shapes.

I’ve also drawn a few faces from my imagination. The first I call Watching, and it reflects my sense of having to watch deeply sad events unfold with no way to intervene. The second, I call Dismay, and its the feeling I get when I realise that I’ve just agreed (again) to something I don’t want to do.

 

All hung up!

Here are my 31 Inktober pics all hung up for the exhibition.  I spent a rather hot hour yesterday doing this, in the company of other wonderful artists quietly working on their walls. A sense of calm chaos. The exhibition is on the 7th floor of a rather empty office block. Lots of walls and views!

Exhibition pic

I got a chance to look around at some of the other work on display. There is some really good stuff. Only about half of it was up when I was there, so I am looking forward to seeing lots more tonight. That said, mine are the most colourful. Clearly not too many people have worked out that ink comes in many colours.

The exhibition opens tonight (Thursday, 9th November) at 6pm at 96 Jorrissen Street in Braamfontein. There is some parking in the building, but the Joburg Theatre’s parking is just a block away too. Do come along and say hi. If you can’t make tonight the exhibition will be up until Sunday, see details on my previous post.

 

Inktober 2017 is done!

Well I managed to complete 31 days of drawings. It was actually rather fun. Some evenings I only got to my studio after 8pm, and feeling rather uninspired, but the muse was there, every day. It’s a good discipline, but if I did it again, I’d make it a first-thing-in-the-morning priority, like meditating before breakfast.

So here are the pics from days 26 to 31…

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Day 26: Boredom or disdain?

Day 27: Pensive

Day 28: Jacarandas

Day 29: There was this aura about the professor

Day 30: It’s a secret

Day 31: It’s all about the framing

Inktober 2017 days 16 to 20

During these five days I found myself busy and sitting in meetings. It was easier to fit Inktober in by drawing the people around me. So portraits came to the fore. It turned out to be quite a lot of fun, reminding me of why I set out to work on portraits this year.

Here they are:

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Day 16: Girl in profile

Day 17: A young soldier

Day 18: A serious matter

Day 19: Mrs Ngamlana

Day 20: Always smiling

 

Inktober 2017 days 11 to 15

The journey continues… exploring the ink blots, and some more deliberate work. A little Star Trek reference thrown in too.

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Day 11: Kneeling woman

Day 12: Blown over the islands

Day 13: I is for Ink (and illustrate, illuminate, inspire, impress, invent, invest, interest, improve, innovate…)

Day 14: Face-off in space

Day 15: Hope in the darkness

Inktober 2017, the first five days

On impulse, I signed up for the Inktober challenge. It’s a real challenge because I have never used ink before. I just assumed that ink was always black. Then I went out and found some great colours at my local stationers.

It’s been interesting, learning what ink can and can’t do. I’m loving the unpredictability of it all. I’ve also found it goes well with my favourite silver pen.

So here are my first five contributions to Inktober…

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Day 1: Up and to the left

Day 2: Landscape with poppies

Day 3: J is for Judy

Day 4: The source

Day 5: Angelfish

I’ll post the rest here in batches of five. If you can’t wait five days I am posting daily on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/judybackhouse/).