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.
This week I decided to do a couple of larger scale eye studies. Normally when I draw portraits they are on A3 or A4 paper, so the eyes tend to be about 3cm wide at the most. This tends to limit how much detail I can incorporate. As a result I feel like ‘my’ eyes are getting a bit ‘formulaic’; a bit same-same. In an effort to capture more detail I’ve scaled things up this time. I’ve picked out a few of my favourite looks from the Fall 2018 runways to recreate in my eye studies. Next week I will break it down a bit for you and show you how I draw eyes step by step.
Last week I had finished the graphite part of this drawing. You can read about the process and see some work in progress photos here. I could have left it at that but I have been doing so many graphite pieces of late I really felt like adding a bit of colour. I decided to break out the gouache paints as I like the opaque, flat almost ‘poster paint’ nature of them. None of that pesky, uncontrollable watercolour behaviour! I don’t feel particularly confident with any kind of painting so putting paint to paper is always a bit scary for me There is always a high risk that I am going to stuff it up royally. Hence it was quite a few days before I dived in but I am so glad I did. I am really happy with the end result.