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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

When Pencil is Enough

I seldom draw human faces, though I’m not sure why I don’t. It’s probably just that I think animals are more interesting, but  maybe there’s something in the mix about them just being so difficult. In any case, and for whatever reason, the other day I was inspired to try drawing a face and, of course, I’d begin with pencil.

There was a scrap of mixed media paper sitting on my worktable and I’d apparently been trying out my dimensional copper liner paint on it. Ignoring the coppery scribbles, I just started drawing on it, not thinking I’d be going anywhere with this.

I can’t tell you how much erasing there was on this poor little piece of paper. In fact, it’s amazing I didn’t wear right through it. But eventually I was pretty much OK with the drawing, and wouldn’t you know she’d become a fairy complete with feelers. Even though her wings don’t show, the realization that she was a winged one inspired me to draw a few more winged creatures. Thus, this art journal spread came into being.

The paper in the journal for this spread was a tan-colored mixed media paper which I’d included in the book for variety. It was one of only two spreads still blank, and both were the same tan paper. I didn't like it for this piece, so I painted over it with one coat of white gesso. The gesso didn’t cover the tan completely or evenly, but I liked the texture.

So, at this point it was just a matter of gluing the three elements in place then deciding where to go from there.

And I didn’t go much of anywhere.

For me, the drawing was enough. I tried to imagine adding color, but I kept coming back to the fact that I liked it as it was. Almost. There were three little things I decided to add.

First, I felt I needed some of the copper from the original drawing in a few other places.

Second, I wanted a few drawn elements to integrate the three main ones.

Third, I added a piece of gold foil (from candy wrappers) to her pendant.

Somehow, a few small turquoise squiggles turned up‒to the right of the butterfly and above and left of the fairy. It might have been nice to add a few antiquing elements to finish the job the tan paper peeking through the gesso had begun‒maybe a few drops of alcohol ink or rubbing a wet tea bag in a few places.

But, with a few minor exceptions, this is one of those times when pencil is enough!

P.S. My favorite part of this piece is the copper on the drawing of the fairy‒pure serendipity!

P.P.S. Despite how difficult it was, I liked doing the face and will probably draw more.


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