Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Layers Upon Layers Upon Layers

When I saw this image hit my blog page after uploading, I thought to myself, that is one nasty-looking face:

Even though I'm the one who drew it, I could never really tell whether it was supposed to be a man or a woman. Either way, he/she is not very good looking!

This drawing started as a thick Sharpie marker outline. The outline didn't come out as cleanly as I had hoped, and so I added some coarse cross-hatching, still using the Sharpie - you can just make it out on the face, if you tilt your screen toward you to lighten the image. Then I added finer cross-hatching, with a smaller pen. I still wasn't satisfied, so I added more fine cross-hatching. Then one more layer of fine cross-hatching, and finally, I tried a bit of cross-hatching. I basically worked this drawing to the brink of oblivion, and while it could probably have benefitted from a little restraint, I like how the layers of texture make the skin look sort of leathery. This is especially true of the face, where the marker and pen overlap the most. Coupled with the dark eyes and exposed teeth, it makes for a sinister portrait.

Around the time I was working on this drawing, I visited a flea market in Soho where I met a man selling "Shawnpie" markers. They looked like suspiciously like Sharpie markers, but he insisted they were of his own creation. His name was unfortunately not Shawn, but this did not stop him - he wasn't going to be outdone by the fat-cat marker-makers and their sinister corporatocracy. He had apparently taken matters into his own hands, and was hawking his personal product on the streets of New York.

Not-Shawn, if you're reading this, while I did not buy your wares that day, I was reminded by them of how much fun it can be to draw with big fat Sharpies. I almost gave up on this drawing, but your sales pitch inspired me to keep at it until it was finished. It is dedicated, in part, to you.

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