I love drawing things. These days I am rarely found without a pen, pencil or stylus in my hands. In my working life I spend a lot of time in meetings and classrooms, reading papers and strategies, so my home life provides a creative antidote to all that! I also have chronic pain, lots of it. I have scoliosis, fibromyalgia and CRPS, so my life is a balancing act, trying to balance work, which make me feel part of the real world, with pain, which is ever present, and art, which soothes my pain.
I have two things to tell you about this portrait. The first is that I hate drawing someone if I don’t know their name. As you will know if you’re a regular follower of this blog, most of my photo inspiration comes from the Museum by Sktchy app. Most of the images posted on there to be drawn are selfies but people do also post images of family members or friends, and often theses images don’t have names. If I can’t name the person I won’t generally draw them. This guy wasn’t named but I really wanted to draw him – it’s such a great inspiration photo – and the last name of the person who posted the photo is Murphy so I decided to steal her last name and use it for his name. Sometimes, if there’s an image I really want to use, I can create a workaround to one of my own rules 😂
The second thing I want to say is that this is the second portrait I’ve drawn of Murphy this week. I drew the first one in my sketchbook and painted it in watercolour and it is truly, embarrassingly awful. The worst portrait I’ve drawn in years. I did think about working on it in Procreate to try to improve it but once I’d uploaded it and had a look I decided that it wasn’t worth rescuing and I should start again. So I did. And this is an infinitely better portrait. Sometimes it’s better to simply start over.
This is Neshama from the Museum by Sktchy app. I decided to stop drawing her T this point because I really like the expression I’ve caught on her face and I have a tendency to overwork ballpoint pen drawings. I didn’t want to overwork this one.
I drew most of this portrait of Evgenia in my class for this week’s Sketchbook Skool Spark programme. I didn’t have time to work on the hair during the class so I did that later and just focused on the face initially. I drew the portrait in my sketchbook and cleaned it up digitally on my iPad using the Procreate app.
I taught a class on using alcohol markers yesterday and pulled out a Derwent Graphik bleedproof sketchbook I’ve had on my shelf for years during the class to test some markers on. The paper seemed to work better than a lot of the other paper samples I had available in terms of not leaving any stripes when filling large spaces. Students were curious so I promised to test it further with a portrait.
I drew this portrait of Mahan in that sketchbook today. It does absorb the marker ink well, leaving no stripes, but I don’t like the chalky appearance of the markers on the paper. The paper also isn’t bleedproof as claimed. I got a reverse image on the other side of the page (you can see it below) just as I do in other sketchbooks (although it didn’t mark the next page). I wouldn’t be able to use this page for drawing.
I don’t hate the paper. I will probably use the rest of the sketchbook because I hate to see a sketchbook go unused. But I won’t be buying another.
This is Anna from the Museum by Sktchy app. I’m teaching a pop-up class on alcohol markers for the Spark programme at Sketchbook Skool later this afternoon and I want to talk about a range of markers, not just Copics, so I’ve been breaking out some of the other markers I’ve got in my supplies that I haven’t used for a while. So for Anna’s portrait I used the Spectrum Classique fair skin pack for all the skin tones. They did a nice job, though they’re a little darker than I would usually use for fair skin.
I also did an interview recently with Danny Gregory, the founder of Sketchbook Skool, about my sketchbook practice. He posted this on the Sketchbook Skool YouTube channel last Friday and if you’d like to take a look you can watch it at https://youtu.be/29P_Cqdp4rQ
I’ve recently started teaching a portrait class for Sketchbook Skool’s Spark subscription programme. Since I use Copic markers a lot there’s been some demand for more instruction on their use so this weekend I’m going to be teaching a pop-up class on alcohol markers. Since not everyone uses Copics I wanted to include a range of alcohol markers, so I dug out some of my other ones for the class and thought I would reacquaint myself with them.
So today I drew Tlali from Sktchy with Winsor & Newton Promarkers (& a few Copics since my W&N collection is very limited). I used the W&N skin tones 2 collection for this portrait in a Moleskine sketchbook.
You can find out more about Sketchbook Skool and Spark here.
I love drawing distortion. There is something very forgiving about drawing a distorted image. I think perhaps it’s because there is less pressure to create a perfect likeness – since the face is already distorted will any one looking at it really notice if you get it wrong and distort it a little bit more? I exaggerated her colouring too just because I felt like it, but I think I went a little too far with the pink and tried to pull it back a bit with coloured pencils at the end.
I borrowed Isabel’s face from the Museum by Sktchy app for this portrait and drew her with Copic markers and coloured pencils ain my Midori cotton sketchbook.
It’s taken me more than a week to finish this portrait. I got stuck on the hair for some reason and now it feels either over or under done. I suppose I mean that I think I should have either left it alone sooner or I think I need to work on it more, but I don’t have the time or motivation so I’m leaving it here and moving on.
The face is the Alina from Museum by Sktchy, who I’ve drawn before, and I used my usual Bic 4 colour ballpoint pens.