Portraying Moms. (Sketch)

It is Mothering Sunday! A day to acknowledge and honor the adorable ladies who bore and aided our passage to Earth. However, mothers should not be limited to women who bear children and aid in procreation, as many who proved infertile have nurtured, fostered, and raised children who have been seemingly abandoned by their so-called procreators. These, I liken to the sweet roses of love everblooming in a desolated land of hate, thus, earning their right to be called mothers.

Mother and child portrayed with STÆDTLER graphite Pencil set on Bristol vellum surface paper.

In my little way of honoring mothers, I peeked through Pinterest to find reference photos depicting motherhood and ended up with my recent portrait study. I found it captivating and challenging as it is my first portrait with two faces, albeit completed with graphite pencils on a 9 by 12 inch Bristol vellum paper (small surface given reference photo). In my After Dark post, I highlighted the importance of shading drawings of big sizes, as this captures more details in your drawings, thus, providing more accuracy in drawings. However, my recent study was mainly for illustration purposes and I was okay with how it turned out in the end.

Without further ado, I wish a happy Mothering Sunday to all the moms, with hopes you continue to be that undying source of love to your offspring, family, and the world in general. Do stay blessed.

Cheemnonso

Inter-Dimensions. (Sketch)

Completed with A4 cardboard paper and STÆDTLER graphite pencils. (Portrait reference)

What do you see when you close your eyes? Yep! You read that right. What do you see when you close your eyes? For lovers, the astral plane becomes the thin veil between reality and that fervent french kiss. For poets, words become ventriloquists, breathing life into the inanimate, whilst the living become statues of its awe. For cheerful givers, they see blooms of happiness sprouting from seeds sown in the needy’s bosom, and for non-givers, well, they see nothing, for they had already turned the blind eye, lol. Anyways, the answer to this question still saunters back and forth on the bridge between reality and our fantasies.

Fascinated by this question and the portrait reference (by Sandra Parreno photography , whose character seems torn between the 2D and 3D verse), I decided to make this my first drawing of the year 2022.

Looking back at my drawings in 2021, I noticed significant improvements from 2020, particularly in maintaining shading segue, to add more depth to realism; however one crucial drawback still exists: portrait likeness.

Last drawing of 2021 completed with STÆDTLER graphite pencils and Arteza Drawing pad (80 pages). Drawing deviated from portrait likeness, however shading seemed okay. (Portrait reference)

Achieving portrait likeness will be the key area I’d work on this year as I try to build on more emotive drawings from years past, and judging from my recent portrait, I see good signs in shading, particularly as the paper used was a bit low grade (still on my media exploration quest); However, the rooms for improvement in portrait likeness ultimately need inhabiting.

Please, feel free to reach out if you’re interested in learning some of my portrayed techniques, and I’d also appreciate every critical input on my works. Thank you.

Cheemnonso

The Dawn of Fear. (Sketch/Freeverse)

It’s Halloween season again, and it’s time to unleash the spookiest of costumes for tricking and treating. This time, however, I resorted to commemorating Halloween using graphite pencils and poetry. Weird?

The portrait study this time is a screaming Simon Pegg found on Pinterest.

Drawing of screaming Simon Pegg on Bristol Vellum Paper using STÆDTLER pencils

Graphite pencils were chosen this time as it’s much easier to work with one color (greyscale) compared to the abundance of hues in colored pencils. Moreover, working with graphite pencils gives more freedom to explore one’s range of drawing techniques without fear of making mistakes. This is particularly useful when those learned and perfected techniques are subsequently implemented in color pencil drawing.

Enjoyed creating this drawing (particularly the wrinkles); so much that I was inspired to write a free verse that centers on fear. Hope you like it.

I tremble not at the sight of scornful scorpions and creeping creatures,

nor do I quiver in the face of vast chasms spewing fire and brimstone;

I fear not the traversal of the deathly Elm street,

riddled with ghostly apparitions and prancing monsters,

for in the ambiance of neon-lit jack o’ lanterns,

the incandescence of His word further belights my path;

Alas,

I’m scared I’d find solace in the dark,

for the light keeps revealing my tears to sneering seagulls;

I dread that at Love’s feet layeth humanity’s jigsaw puzzle,

but pride keeps bloating my piece,

so much, I no longer fit;

I’m afraid that for my good deeds

Mother Nature bestows a priceless invisible garment,

but never gets to see its beguiling beauty on me;

I’m petrified that the world has lost all sense of color,

and through her monochromatic lens, I’d be deemed shady.

I’m frightened my trust for humankind has eloped with the wind,

for her cold shoulder has turned my heart to ice,

and in her spiky grasps, it shatters to bits;

I’m affrighted life may morph into the desiccated woods

with us, each tree,

and my voice, endlessly drowning in its psithurism;

But most of all,

I’m scared I show no fear,

for fear is a rampaging hound preying on feeble minds,

and strong, I must appear.

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

So, what are you most scared of? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Happy Halloween by the way, with hopes November brings good tidings. Do stay blessed.

Cheemnonso

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

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.

Cheemnonso

The Bristol Baby. (Sketch)


Sunday Bristol Sketchbook – Page 1

In realism, particularly pencil shading, I’ve come to realize that a careful choice of materials really play a crucial role in finished artworks. Back when I started drawing, I solely used printing papers and HB pencils, which definitely aren’t the worst media any budding artist could begin with. Truth is, the sketches seemed appealing at the time, until questions on depth, contrast and longevity arose. As first steps to tackling these questions, I purchased a STÆDTLER graphite pencil set to deal with the issue of tones and depth, hence achieving more realism; and an acid-free Strathmore Sketchbook to make the drawings last longer on paper without smudging or fading away. This actually made the drawings improve a bit, but it just didn’t feel right to stop exploring other art materials.

After watching a couple online drawing tutorials, I came to know about this Bristol vellum surface sketchbook and how finished drawings looked breathtaking on them, so, I decided to get one for myself. While making this baby drawing on the recently acquired sketchbook, I felt jealous of the camaraderie between the tip of the graphite pencil and the surface of the paper. Each stroke of the pencil glided effortlessly on the paper like a graceful geisha skiing on winter ice. I was also happy with how the paper could capture the contrast the pencils were willing to offer. The drawing ultimately proved to be one enjoyable art piece for me, and I can’t wait to see how other dry media including charcoal and coloured pencils would fare on this sketchbook. Fingers crossed.

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