My portrait process

Mixed media portrait of Debbie Harry, lead sinder of Blondie
Mixed media portrait of Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie

When painting or drawing, I have always been attracted to portraits. Oh yes, I really do love illustrating all sorts of things, and go into a bit of a panic if I come across something I haven’t drawn before (ever drawn a bush baby, anyone? Me neither) but human faces are a favourite. As humans, we all rely on complex social interaction and our faces and expressions play a key part of that. I also¬†enjoy portraiture because it’s so incredibly difficult. Get the petal on a tulip wrong and no one is going to notice, even the other tulips. But draw a feature on a face incorrectly and instantly, it isn’t the person you intended. Even with other animals I feel there is more room for error. I’ve painted loads of birds in my lifetime and one of the reasons I enjoy them as a subject is their cold twitchy appearance. I really do sense their faces have a robotic quality. Maybe because it’s hard to smile when you have a beak. However, even with other more expressive animals like dogs and horses (I have drawn oodles of those too!), there still is something not as challenging.

I’ve probably drawn over a thousand faces in my time, and¬†because of the variety of our fantastic species and the ability to express ourselves visually, it’s always guaranteed to be interesting.