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How I Work - Drawings

As a visual artist the elements of visual expression that most appeal to my sense of aesthetics are textures, patterns and shapes. My work reflects these interests both in my choice of visual images and my treatment of them. Drawing provides the most possibilites for expressing textures and pattern.

Drawings can be made with a variety of tools and can have an equally wide range of treatments and styles. I have worked primarily in three different drawing media; ink, graphite and colored pencil. I choose the medium according to the particular image I wish to create. Images present themselves to my mind in terms of one or other of the media.

For images that I create in pen and ink, I tend to use a very fine-point quill pen. I work from photographs and focus on minute details, one square inch at a time. Since ink marks are rather permanent, I always start with a pencil sketch that I refine to the point where it can be used as the basis for the ink drawing. I move slowly, standing back often to examine the work as a whole while it progresses to be sure that all the elements are working together to give the overall piece balance and an aesthetic harmony. The medium lends itself to very detailed textures and patterns, but these need to be used in such a way that the over-all piece has a pleasing arrangement of shapes and values.

At other times the image in my mind is composed of soft gradations in value, for which I prefer the use of graphite. Graphite leads can come in many different degrees of hardness and softness. They can also come in different sizes, from large fat sticks to thin pencil lead. The images created in graphite are capable of offering a much wider range of values than ink, while at the same time providing scope for including a great deal of texture and pattern.

With graphite drawings I also start with a loose sketch to locate and scale the various shapes and elements on the page, then gradually add more detail and structure. While with ink drawings I tend to complete one area before working on the next, with graphite drawings I work a little bit on each part of the drawing, gradually building up the whole in active relationship to all the parts.

Of course the primary quality of colored pencils is the many vibrant hues possible. But unlike paintings where the color is applied in broad brush strokes, the small drawing surface of colored pencils allows me to indulge in the multiple textures and patterns I so enjoy creating. I also start with a very light pencil sketch to again situate the different shapes in relation to each other, then I begin working directly with the colored pencils. I enjoy building up complex color combinations by overlaying different colored markes to create a richness in the colors.

I have used photographs as a primary source for most of my drawings, finding the details I want for each part of a drawing in different photos. Since childhood I've collected photographs I'd clip from magazines, and scoured the sale tables at bookstores for picture books of birds or fish or trees. I have a filing cabinet of folders for: "animals - wild", "animals-domestic", "people-children", "people-grief". I also took photos incessantly, and filed those in card-file boxes for "people", "trees", etc. I also go out and photograph things that I know I want to use in drawings, or that appeal to my aesthetic sense.

I've also filled many sketchbooks with loose drawings from life: trees, figures, objects and furniture around the house. These elements also sometimes become finished drawings or find their way into other drawings.

Drawing was my first love in creating art and I have contintued to return to it again and again over the years.


contact © Mardi 1976 - 2015