Sketchbook: Bienfang Bristol Vellum paper
Media: STÆDTLER Graphite pencils
As a developing artist in portraiture, I have always wondered what an ideal and challenging reference portrait would entail. Could it be an elderly face where the mien is calm as the sea, and its wrinkles are like estuaries of flowing grace, or could it be the face of an adorable child with dimples that could entomb and smother likes of the Great Depression? The truth is, nothing is ever ideal, but my recent reference portrait is just as close as one can get. The partial eye squints, subtle wrinkles, freckles, dimples, smile connecting bulging cheeks, and pigtails, capture what I believe would be an artist’s dream in terms of realism studies, and trust me, it didn’t disappoint in difficulty given the challenging circumstances.
For this drawing, I had to make use of graphite pencils and Bristol vellum paper, as I did for my Bristol Baby sketch, but this was with a telling twist. I came across several YouTube tutorials that suggested that the back of a Bristol vellum paper is the most ideal for drawings as it is coarser and has more tooth which any preferred medium would love to cling onto, so, I decided to give this a try. However, this proved frustrating early on as it required lots of graphite layers to fill the coarse regions of the paper, and therefore translated to more hours of drawing compared to my Bristol Baby sketch. Hopes and smiles I had of drawing this portrait had become spotted, hence the figurative name of this blog post. It ultimately turned out to be the test of my patience levels in art, and you should have witnessed the sigh of relief I gave off when I completed the drawing; Phew! I was pleased with the final portrait at long last, and to be honest, I could not care less about how tedious the means to the drawing was, as long as it is justified in the end.
Notwithstanding though, feel free to use this surface for your artworks, and do let me know of your experiences.