Ugochi III.(Sketch)

Graphite rendition of Ugochi

Sketchbook: Arteza Drawing Pad (80lb)

Medium: STÆDTLER Graphite pencil set

It’s that time of the year again, when my baby sister celebrates her birthday, consequently signaling one more progressive year in my artistic journey. At this point, she knows she has become my most used muse, but one thing she does not know is what reference picture I will choose of her, or which medium I’d portray her in (colored pencil or graphite). This has always made her birthday expectations somewhat of a surprise.

This time, however, I chose a tricky reference picture; one that she discarded at the time due to poor photo lighting. I chose this because it presented various challenging features including:
• portrayal of light and shadows
• achieving depth in drawing braids,
• realistic body features (hands and foot)
• cloth form and likeness.

I am happy with the performance in some of these areas and how it turned out generally, particularly as she was carved from another page on my sketchbook. More importantly, I am glad she loved it bearing in mind she once disliked the original photo; So, I’d like to use this opportunity to wish her a very happy birthday with many more years, hoping I’d capture her alluring moods in the years to come.

By the way, if you have any questions concerning improvements in portrait realism or realism in general, I’d be more than willing to help. Conversely, I’d appreciate critical inputs on some flaws that could help me improve as well. For now, however, do have splendid days ahead. Ciao!

Cheemnonso

Alma de Cristina. (Sketch)

Graphite rendition of Cristina Otero’s Soul Portrait.

Sketchbook: Arteza drawing pad (80lbs)

Media: STÆDTLER Graphite Pencils

Still on expressive portrait drawings, I stumbled on this monochromatic reference photo on Pinterest (as ever), and after finding it captivating, I decided to give it a try with my graphite pencils.


After some digging, I discovered that the photo is indeed a self-portrait of Cristina Otero, a young Spanish photographer, who captured this using the front camera of a Huawei P10 smartphone, of which she dubbed a Soul Portrait, hence the title of this blogpost in Spanish.


This time, however, I opted for my normal 80-paged Arteza drawing book to recreate this photo, rather than the much smoother Bristol vellum surface paper, as I seek to complete the sketchbook soon enough, amidst hectic school and work schedules.


The drawing came out coarser, as expected, because the drawing pad has got more tooth than vellum surfaces. It is evident from the original photo that I still struggle a bit with portrait likeness, probably due to the inaccuracy of my grids, which needs to be improved, thus, giving me room for progression in portrait realism.


In all, the drawing seemed satisfactory for me, if for anything, the depth of realism on the hand figure, and judging from this, there will be more graphite and colored pencils drawings emanating from this drawing pad, hopefully with better results. Fingers crossed!

Cheemnonso

After Dark. (Sketch/Quatrain)

Graphite rendition of Ninõ.

Sketchbook: Bienfang Bristol Vellum paper

Media: STÆDTLER graphite pencils

Earlier this year, I indicated that the theme of my portrait sketches in 2021 would exude more expressions/emotions with some interludes pending striking inspirations, and my recent study seems to suggest we are on the right track.

Like always, I came across my recent portrait study on Pinterest, all monochromatic, and the wisest option was to approach this drawing using graphite pencils on a vellum surface. What particular piqued my interest in this study was my long-dreaded fear of going too dark in shading and drawing drops of water. I found this crying child or Ninõ (as dubbed by Pedro Luis Raota, the actual photographer, in 1970) encapsulating all I have always feared in drawing; thus, I decided to take on the challenge.

Initially, things went smooth, but I had not even gotten to the teardrops and my 8B pencils were already toast because of the number of dark areas I had to cover; however, I had to improvise with my other pencil grades.

Although likeness suffered a bit, one key takeaway from the drawing was that the bigger the size, the better the details you capture in your portraits, so these enabled shading the teardrops fairly easy.

Overall, I was somewhat pleased with the drawing, if, for anything, its successful completion and I look forward to taking on more expressive portraits before the year runs out.

Lastly, do imbibe this quatrain I wrote as inspired by the drawing, and take it with you as you enjoy your lovely days ahead. Cheers!

Though the dark’s mouth may spew sorrow,

with our limbs caught ‘tween its jaws of pain,

always remember there is a dance tomorrow,

where our teardrops elope with the rain.

Cheemnonso

Ugochi 2.0. (Sketch)

Sketchbook: Arteza Drawing pad (80lb)

Media: Arteza Coloured pencils.

It’s been exactly three years now I rekindled my old flame for drawing, and since then, I made it a tradition to have a drawing of my baby sister for her birthday. In that time, I’ve had four drawings of her, which I like to see as a present to her and also as some sort of annual progress in my artistic journey.

This particular drawing is portrayed as the remake of a graphite sketch I had of her in 2019. I particularly enjoyed this drawing as working in coloured pencils seemed to prove a challenge at the early stages (especially with the skin tones), but ultimately, turned out okay. After sketching my first colour pencil portrait not too long ago, I had serious doubts I’d be able to replicate the levels attained in the drawing, but having this recent portrait of my sister has really served as a confidence booster to take on other challenging art studies with coloured pencils.

So for this and many more glorious reasons, Happy birthday Ugochi. Stay gold!

Previous sketches: 2019b, 2018

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Cheemnonso™

Strange thoughts. (Sketch)

Page 1 of my Strathmore Sketch pad.

Here’s my recent attempt on El (Millie Bobby Brown) from the Netflix original series, Stranger Things.

Upon the completion of this drawing, I conceived some thoughts on artistry, particularly pencil drawing:

•I’d like to think drawing as the portal between two worlds: our world and oblivion, where the artist is its gatekeeper and his/her media, the keys.

•I’d like to think artists as those who not only possess the deftness of visualization, but also the ability to percept ultrasonic screeches from entities stuck and forgotten within the walls of blank canvases, waiting to be let out. Strange.

•I’d also like to think a pencil artist as a “compassionate sorcerer” who with the subtle strokes of his/her wand and the seething darkness spewing from its tip, conjures up his/her deepest epiphanies from a clean slate. Dark magic, huh.

•I’d finally like to think that just like alpha numerics, drawing should be learned and not necessarily inherent, thus, all humans are artists, making us gods of some sort from the aforementioned thoughts. Hence, before that bob start clanking repeatedly on our aluminium coated mindscapes, yelling, “I’m not talented, so I can’t draw; or I’ll never reach the levels of elite artists”, remember that not all Greek gods reside at the summit of Mount Olympus, not even the nine Muses; but we budding artists can only strive to get there.

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Cheemnonso

Villanelle. (Sketch)

Page 5 of my sketchbook.

Over the years,some stone cold female assassins have graced our TV screens including Mystique, Nikita, Talia Al’ Ghul, Elektra, Jane Smith and even Arya Stark, but none caught my eyes the way Oksana Astankova does. Her mecuriality, charisma, femininity and scathing sense of humor makes psychopathy seem charming and fun. She is truly one enigmatic and exuberant serial killer portrayed by Jodie Comer brilliantly.

So, here’s my sketch of Villanelle from the amazing TV series, Killing Eve.

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Cheemnonso

Jenny. (Sketch)

Page 4 of my sketchbook

After my camaraderie with HB pencils, I decided to get a graphite pencil set ranging from hard to soft grades (2H – 8B) in order for me to plumb the depths of sketching and shading. To be honest, having a wide range of pencil grades to choose from, seem to ease the attainment of value and depth in portrait drawings.

So without further ado, here’s my recent stop, Jenny, on my progressive artistic journey.

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Cheemnonso

Dany. (Sketch)

Page 3 of my sketchbook.

At long last, the totally absorbing series, Game of Thrones, drew its curtains after eight fantastic seasons albeit a somewhat drab series finale.

Nonetheless, here’s my sketchy tribute to Queen Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, The rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons,regent of the realm.

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Cheemnonso

Ralph and Vanellope. (Sketch)

Page 2 of my sketchbook

Last year, the world witnessed some wonderful animated movies including Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, Isle of Dogs, The Incredibles 2, Smallfoot, The Grinch, Mirai and the likes, but, one that particularly stood out for me was Ralph Breaks the Internet. The way its plot relayed the real world social media to an in-game fantasy sphere was second to none.

So, here’s my portrayal of its protagonists (Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz) in HB.

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Cheemnonso™

Baby Steps to Realism

Page 1 of my sketchbook:

It’s been a while since I sketched something, so, I got hold of this sketchbook and a couple pencils, then decided to portray Arya from the Game of Thrones series.

Still off by a long shot, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let’s see where these baby steps to realism lead and how many souls I’ll draw out from the walls of these blank pages.
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Cheemnonso