I made this sketch of a young Jessica Mitford for my sister Cass’s partner Dave who had a birthday recently – Jessica Mitford is a hero of his. Overall I’m happy with the way it turned out (especially the frame) but she does look a little like Nicole Kidman in my portrait, which was not deliberate! I recently scrapped a sketch of F Scott Fitzgerald I was doing because he looked way too much like Dick Van Dyke for my liking! I think it’s important to do your best to capture a likeness when you’re drawing a specific person, but for me, I also like to stylise my subject somewhat – I guess it’s all about achieving that balance.
I’m totally hooked on white charcoal and tinted paper at the moment. Speaking of white charcoal…does anyone know how to sharpen the General’s pencils to a nice point without them breaking? If so, please let me know! At the moment I just sharpen them to a dull point and use a sandpaper block, but you can never get a really fine point that way. This paper’s made from recycled sugar cane pulp and I really love it; lots of colours and beautiful textures. I wanted to decorate the frame and echo the design in the collaged part of the drawing. I’m really happy with the way it turned out and would like to do some more of these to sell in my shop before the year’s out.