Danny and Lisa - Commissioned Pencil Portrait
I am fortunate to be able to call this beautiful couple friends of mine, and this image brings back many great memories of their wonderful wedding day.
Drawing people you know brings a different set of challenges to it than drawing a stranger. Of course achieveing a likeness is always my foremost concern, and it can help when you know the subject, but there is a risk that as an artist you are also able to be less objective.
Their choice of photograph for the source image was excellent as it really captures Lisa's natural beauty and her radiance on their big day, and the kindness and pride that just shines from Danny.
When you think of portraiture, faces are what typically spring to mind. This drawing is a great example of what else can be involved and how complex a portrait can be. With silk, lace, flowers, embroidery and jewels all to be detailed, it called for numerous different techniques in the drawing. These challenges though are also what brings the image to life, and keeps me learning as an artist.
It was a joy to create this, especially knowing Danny and Lisa, and just how much love they have for one another. It is a privilege to be a small part of celebrating that with them.
Sharon - Commissioned Pencil Portrait
This portrait was a particularly poignant one to draw. Very sadly Sharon is no longer with us, and she is dearly missed by all who knew and loved her. This portrait was commissioned in her memory by a close relative, and features Sharon in her late teens whilst living abroad with her family.
I often think that the magic of portraiture is how it can capture a moment in time, and Sharon demonstrates that perfectly. In the moment that the photograph this was drawn from we see Sharon caught mid-movement, twisting around to see who has called her name, and in that instant she connects with the viewer as if we are right there with her.
A small run of fine art giclee prints were also made of this portrait so that Sharon's portrait can live with her family in their respective homes, keeping her close by wherever they may go in the world.
'The pictures arrived today. Thank you - I can't tell you how I feel about the fantastic job you've done. I met with my sister at her house and gave her her print as a housewarming surprise. She was speechless too - we had a hug and a (big) cry together as we looked at it - I'm sure you can imagine the scene. Everyone is amazed at how detailed the portrait is - much praise for your talent. I'm taking another surprise print to France in September when we're going to stay with Sharon's son, so this will be the gift that keeps on giving!
The lovely image of Sharon with the promise of her whole life ahead is so poignant but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Thank you again so much from all of us.'
A Lifetime of Laughter - Pencil Portrait
I have always felt an affinity with the older generations, and for me nothing says a life well lived like wrinkles which document the years of emotions and expressions on our faces.
This portrait has been quietly developed in the background over the last couple of years, being my go to project between commissions and when I have been demonstrating my drawing style at various events. There were times when I wondered if I had taken on too big a challenge, but patience is a virtue and very gradually she has come together and is finally ready to be shared with the world.
Drawn on cotton paper with just four pencils - a B, 2B, 3B and 4B and using an eraser to make changes as I went, it is a complex study created with the simplest of tools.
The inspiration for A Lifetime of Laughter came from a photograph by the incredible Rehahn Photography to whom I am very grateful for the use of his image.
Connie - Commissioned Pencil Portrait
Connie is the most adorable baby, and was an absolute pleasure to draw. You may know her big sister, Bess, whose portrait I drew a few years ago. Now both girls have their portraits proudly hung in their home.
The client, Connie and Bess's mum, chose to have prints made of this portrait as gifts for family which is a wonderful way to share your portrait with loved ones.
It is always exciting and a little nerve-wracking waiting to hear that the portrait has arrived safely, so I was delighted to receive this message:
'The three portraits arrived safely this morning and I wasn't prepared for the emotion I felt when I saw the original. It brought tears to my eyes and perfectly embodies my little Connie (back when she was really little!)'
Featured in Color Magazine
May 2019 issue of Color Magazine, an American publication by the coloured pencil artist Ann Kullberg, showcases my drawing The Violet Veil.
Across five pages I detail the materials used and describe my process, designed so Color readers can also draw this portrait, step by step.
I am thrilled to be the cover artist for such a respected magazine, and to have this opportunity to share my work with a global audience whom I hope will be inspired as I was by the beauty and potential of coloured pencil. Download your copy here at annkullberg.com
Seeing my artwork published is always a delight, however this feature has particular importance to me. When I was a teenager growing up in a small town in England, I had few frames of reference for what was happpening in the art world outside of my efforts at home and in school. For those of us who remember a time before the internet bombarded us with images and information, you will appreciate how hard it could be to find others who shared your interests. I happened upon a book by Ann Kullberg in my local library, and remember vividly how amazed I was by her artwork, and the joy of discovering a collection of such realistic portraits. The fact they were all in coloured pencil was beyond my comprehension, it seemed impossibly exciting and intriging. Now all these years later here I am, having had the opportunity to thank Ann directly for writing that book and for being an inspiration to my younger self, I am feeling very grateful for all that has happened and for the joy that art brings to mine and to so many others lives.
Wakhan Girl - Commissioned Coloured Pencil Portrait
Wakhan Girl is a portrait of a child who lives in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan. The client met her and her family whilst travelling in the region, and took the incredible photograph that inspired this drawing. As with my earlier artwork, Bhutan Women, this has become a visual record of traditional costume from before increasing Westernisation led to changes in the culture and communities.
The sheer complexity of this picture and the arresting expression on the young girl's face made this by far the most challenging drawing I have experienced. Commissioned portraits are wonderful for stretching me as an artist as they so often contain elements - such as all these beads she is wearing, or the embroidered thread decorating her waistcoat, that I would not ordinarily choose to draw for fun. In addition, working on the fawn coloured paper brought unexpected changes to the vibrancy of the pencil. It is the perfect choice to bring out the white of her head scarf, but meant I had to find a new way to work compared to the more familar approach with white paper.
As is the way with moving beyond your comfort zone, this drawing brings with it for me a sense of pride, greater knowledge of the potential of coloured pencil, and the desire to take all I now know forward into my future creations.
On the Drawing Board
After months of coloured pencil work it feels like a treat to be back with my trusty graphite pencils. I am gradually adding more and more wrinkles to this wonderful face, a portrait that I have been working on occasionally whilst between commissions. Thanks go to Rehahn Photography for the source image.
Interview with Hand on Art
Many thanks to Diane Griffiths of Hand on Art for this blog post, I am very flattered to have been invited to chat with her about pastels and creativity. Diane is a very skilled painter who mixes media with dramatic effects, so get yourself a cuppa and enjoy exploring her website, I am in love with her skies.
Commission in Progress
On my drawing board currently is the most technically challenging drawing I have undertaken, a commissioned A3 size coloured pencil portrait. This is just a sneak peek as the big reveal will come once the client has received the artwork. I am using Polychromos pencils by Faber Castell, along with a single white Polychromos for it’s extra creamy properties, and drawing on Stonehenge paper.
Cub Scout has Sold
Cub Scout has found a new home, thanks to visitors to the ArtAbility exhibition at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens - fantastic show which is curated by and in aid of St.Teresas' Leonard Cheshire Home near Penzance. It is an honour to have been invited to take part in this exhibition, which features works by both residents of St.Teresas and local artists, and I am delighted to be able to support the excellent work that they do. Cub Scout, you will be missed, though I hope you watch over your new owners for many years to come.