Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Nelson Mandela 
Hugh's Madiba Commission

Pencil on 160 gsm untextured paper
525 x 380 mm

My lovely husband Rouan organised this one; he works with Hugh, and from what I heard, Hugh saw my previous drawing of Madiba over Rouan's shoulder at work, and simply had to have one of his own.
It took some back and forth-ing to decide on a photo, and I was delighted when this one came up as an option, as it was one of the options with the previous Madiba drawing client, and while I preferred this photo, he decided on another one. Needless to say I was fairly happy with this choice!

This one was super challenging because there were no shiny eyes to accentuate, so the face only started to feel accurate to me when his mouth was done. As you can imagine, its nerve-wrecking to work on a drawing for so long, with no idea whether it's going to work, save faith in your own abilities, and a little luck perhaps.

I tend to start with the eyes, and work downwards toward the mouth. but in the interest of not smudging everything, I turn the paper as I progress, that my hand always has blank paper to rest on. 
I know I should acquire one of those giant earbud things to rest my hand on, but we just haven't gotten around to that! (you'll probably be first to know, when I do!)

Around here it became seriously tricky again. Hugh didn't want the bottom of the drawing realistic, he wanted it to sort of fade into skethiness. You can see at this stage I was fading out the hands somewhat, but in the photograph, the jacket and other details behind the hands are very dark, so I had to try and figure out what was there in the first place, and then try to fade it out, without it being too light. 
I didn't want the negative space in the bottom drawing your eyes away from his face, so I kept darkening the sketchy bits, and detailing them more, until it seemed more or less balanced. I had planned it to end up much less realistic, but am very happy with the result!

 These detail areas specifically would have been more or less black if I was going for realism.

*This is Urban dictionary's definition of 
Sketchy. 1) someone or something that just isnt right. 2) the feeling you get the morning after using a lot of drugs, most commonly associated with extacy.

I was thinking more along the lines of the Free dictionary's definition:
Resembling a sketch; giving only major points or parts. 2. a. Lacking in substance or completeness; incomplete.

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