She’s got cheekbones that could “cut glass” as they say and, to my mind, a lioness quality to her; her eyes seem slightly too far apart. To put it more eloquently “sharp cheekbones and enigmatic eyes“. She is, as Tyra Banks (“godmother of breaking beauty barriers”!**) would say, F.I.E.R.C.E!
The original reference photograph for this drawing is from Loewe’s Fall 2019 runway show. Now I don’t understand the mad Micky Mouse hats either but it is FASHUN and I like it!.
The Dries Van Noten show was one of my absolute favourites from the Fall 2019 runway shows. I am a bit of a sucker for a floral print especially when it’s not a sickly sweet one; “Flowers can be romantic, but this I wanted to take out, because the times are tougher than in the past. So you see the diseases, the black spot, the imperfections.”
Rub ‘n Buff Gold Leaf
Like a Bower Bird, I am attracted to all things sparkly. I picked up a tube of Rub’n Buff in my local art store a few months ago not really knowing what I would use it for. It comes in a 15ml tube in 12 metallic colours (Gold Leaf, Antique Gold, European Gold, Grecian Gold, Autumn Gold, Silver Leaf, Antique White, Pewter, Spanish Copper, Ebony, Ruby, Patina – which looks like it would be an amazing colour!). I have the colour “Gold Leaf”. I think technically it’s supposed to be used to add gold leaf to hard surfaces like timber. There are no real instructions of the tube just; ‘apply to most surfaces, polish with cloth. Clean with mineral spirits.’ ??????
So, after basically ignoring the instructions, I thought it was the perfect thing to use to recreate one of the Dries Van Noten gold floral looks. I started with a watercolour base for the skin and the shoes. I then applied the Rub ‘n Buff with a small stiff brush to create the gold flowers. In larger areas you can buff it a bit with the brush, however, in small, more detailed areas, it is not so easy to use as it is very thick and not particularly fluid. Consequently, I had to apply it quite thickly to get a crisp edges. I am no alchemist (or even chemist for that matter) but perhaps you could thin it with a little mineral spirits and that would make it more spreadable? Just a thought.
Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic
Another product that I purchase on a whim but have never used; Daler Rowney Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic Artists Ink. This has a little bit of a sheen to it which complemented the gold quite well. Something that surprised me (but obviously wouldn’t have if I bothered to actually test things out before I committed to the final piece) was that this ink can be painted over the gold. For some reason I thought the Rub ‘n Buff being wax based would repel the water based acrylic. It doesn’t. So all my efforts to get a crisp edge with the gold were slightly unnecessary as I could just create the edges with the black ink.
For her bag I used another shiny buy; a ‘Wink of Stella’ glitter brush pen. They are, as the name suggests, a glitter pen that has a brush tip. There are loads of different colours and the finish is sensational. You will be seeing them a lot more in my art work. I am in love.
At this point everything was looking far more “unrealistic” than I was comfortable with so I used my colour pencils to enhance her face and feet. Her hands were also really bugging me. I could live with the one dimensional nature of her pants and coat but they hands just looked too weird. I took to them with a 6B pencil to add a bit of shading and hopefully they look a bit better.
So here she is. Unfortunately Run ‘n Buff and glitter pens, like a lot of metallic mediums, don’t scan particularly well. They need reflected light to really shine and a scanner just doesn’t do them justice.
I have probably prattled on quite a bit about how much trouble I have drawing hair. I think because I find it so difficult I tend to leave it until the last thing to do. It always ends up being a bit of an afterthought and/or, in a rush to get things finished, I don’t pay it as much attention as I do the rest of the portrait. Consequently my hair always looks a little …flat.
I have developed a few crafty ways to avoid drawing hair all together; turbans, buzz cuts and my personal favourite negative space!
I think there is a saying something along the lines of if you don’t like doing something, you should tackle it head on (pardon the sort of pun there). Maybe I just made that up. I don’t know, but it sounds like it should be an adage of some sort. So I set myself a challenge to do a hair study. No distracting facial features allowed… yikes!)
I can’t really remember where this reference photo came from. I think it was a video on Instagram and I just took a couple of screen shots with my iPad until I got something I liked. Choosing a braid turned out to be a most fortuitous, albeit unconscious, decision. It enabled me to break it down in to manageable chunks. Literally, I went braid by braid, doing each one individually, before moving on to the next.
For this drawing I used a selection of my Tombow monos; a 6B for the darkest and 5H for the lightest, then an H and a 2B for the in between. I used Cretacolor Monoliths for the bow in her hair. These are a woodless pencil; so basically solid graphite. I had hoped they would bring a nice sheen and ‘satin-y’ feel to the ribbon, making it look quite different to the rest of the portrait. Alas, I don’t think you can really see much difference.
I wanted to add something to finish this drawing. I feel like this is where I fall down a bit with my art work. I have a nice drawing but I don’t really know how to elevate it to the next level so to speak. So after weeks (and weeks) of procrastinating (and some encouragement from the amazingbelindaxiaillustration, I finally took the plunge deciding to apply gold leaf to the background.
I have never, ever, done any gold leafing before, but I always think it looks super cool and how hard can it be?! It’s just gluing paper to paper right? Craft 101. Yeah. No. When they say gold leaf is delicate they are not kidding. Oh my god. This stuff tears and breaks in to tiny little pieces as soon as you touch it! Consequently I now have a house full of little bits of gold leaf.
The finished product may look a little ‘rough’ but I actually didn’t want a perfectly smooth gold background. I am pretty happy with the end result. What do you think?
Late last year I got very in to colour pencil illustrations again. Working with pencils, be they colour or graphite, is just so much more comfortable for me than using paints. Unlike with graphite pencils (Tombows only), I am quite the colour pencil slut and use a range of brands. In all of the below works I used a combination of Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor Premier, and Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils.
I really do love the Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils, but at $4.50 a pop I am using them somewhat sparingly.
Anyway enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions!