Tag Archives: Detail

Psychological portrait

It’s time to post some art done in “old school” medium; The Graphite pencil.

Between 1997 – 1999 in my teens, I spent a considerable amount of time doing small psychological portraits.
I had a perfectionist obsession with an 0.3 mm mechanical pencil with HB softness leads.

That was before I learned the digital medium. Even before I learned to illustrate with an airbrush.

I did some pretty amazing stuff with my trusty old 0.3 mm back then 😉 It was the tool of my choice!

Usually i took a sheet of A4 photocopy paper, with a fine grain (to give the HB leads a little something to bite in to).

With such a fine tip, I developed a technique to lighten the strokes to a minimum. I lifted the paper off the table to apply the lightest pencil strokes possible. I did not use an eraser or smudge the paper with anything. I wanted it to be clean. To me, Cleanliness was next to Godliness!

As I was zoning out and shading an area, pass by pass darkening it, impurities such as a dust speckle, or the grain of the paper caused slightly darker details. I took these “errors” as sort of hints, and started to plot what they represented to me. I started to see shapes of immense detail… I managed to tap in to my creative subconsciousness. I started to refine those details and instinctively rotated the pen between my fingers to find the sharpest edge of the 0.3 mm tip. That way I could reach dents in the paper grain, and make areas darker, where need to be.

As I continued finishing the piece, the complex shapes started to connect, creating dynamics and content.
It seemed that the grain of the paper continued the shapes to an immense level of detail. Some people (with sharp eyesight) have experienced that mesmerizing effect.

I did this piece yesterday, with the very same exact 0.3 mm mechanical pencil 🙂 I’m happy I still have the precision, patience and light touch to create with this challenging style! Spending some 15 hours with an area of 115 mm x 125 mm may sound crazy to some, but hey, Art is! I’ts quite beautiful original IRL (In Real Life).

One might say that the face is realistic, and the “hair” is abstract, even tough I see it the other way around. I see the face as simplified to very few contours of flowing shape, and the shading in the face is a subtle hint to it’s form. To me, the hair is the “tangible” part 😀 It took most of my time creating it.

This kind of a piece has some timeless feeling to it. A hybrid of some Art Nouveau, Classical, Cartoon and Graffiti style… Somehow, I see it alive and breathing. The present, without abandoning the past…

Maybe someone would like to plot the hidden message in the graffiti style lettering from the abstraction?