Freckled Smile. (Sketch)

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.


37 thoughts on “Freckled Smile. (Sketch)

  1. You just keep getting better with every single sketch of yours, Nonso!!
    There is this uncanny, raw charm and maturity reflected in those tad wrinkles.
    So beautiful ✨

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done! So much personality! I feel like I’ve just met this young one with the twinkle in her eye! And you write beautifully! Really appreciated learning about your process for this! I love hearing other people’s creative journeys, complete with challenges as well as satisfaction when the challenges have been met and worked thru to the success of the piece (whatever kind of creative expression it may be)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed! I’m a firm believer that not a single being just breezed through any success story he/she achieved without overcoming a few loopholes here and there(If they exist, then it’s just a select few); but, I feel that learning the challenges people face towards an achievement would place them in a better position to successfully address and complete their individual tasks.

      I’m glad you liked the creative process and my writing. You’re also a magnificent writer as well, and I look forward to reading more of your haikus and posts in general🤞.


    • Thanks for acknowledging that my drawings have transcended sketches; Just have that culture of calling every drawing of mine sketches right from when I started.

      As for the pencils, I made use of 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 8B for the darkest parts.


    • Thanks for the compliment. Can’t help but smile at Cheesemo though😁.

      As for dance and music, I see the former as poetry in motion,and the latter, the enabler. Truly inseparable!


  3. The swoop of the hair, the fly away hair strands, the lightness of the eyebrows… the braids!

    But then the eyes tell us so much, it’s like we have a glimpse of what she’s seen, and what caused her to be as disciplined as the closed mouth smile, hints.

    I had to do a double take on the ear. Her cheeks are so well defined.

    The more I stare at her eyes, the more her face morphs into an older version of her.

    This is much more than just a masterpiece 👏🏽👌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

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