Faces in Strange Places

I know I’ve ranted about the “mixed media style” where everyone draws “girls” with ridiculous proportions and bizarre expressions. But here I’ve been, stuck in a face phase with seemingly no end in sight. It’s just been coming out of me inexplicably. I make a few marks on the page, a few drops of ink or watercolor and I see a face ready to be defined. For me, a novice in the art of representational rendering, this is comparable to when people find images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary in their bag of Fritos. It’s a bizarre, but thoroughly engrossing experience.

So. Since “Seasmoke” a few days ago, this is what I’ve been possessed by:


This was quickly sketched with black FW Daler Rowney acrylic ink and the little eyedropper in the bottle on a 9×12 sheet of warm grey Canson Mi-Tientes Pastel paper. It kind of reminds me of that puppet on PeeWee’s Playhouse with the giant jaw and orange hair.

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This is not something I would normally make. Ever. It’s kind of cutesy and I don’t do cutesy. I was using a Tuscan Red Prismacolor Art Stix on its side to catch the texture of the paper (a goldenrod colored Canson Mi-Tientes page). This technique picked up water damage ripples on the surface of my desk and transferred them to the paper like a rubbing. To my surprise, there were the top halves of two faces. I outlined what I saw with a carpenter’s pencil (knife-sharpened) dipped in ink to give me sketchy lines. Color was added with Caran d’Ache Neocolor IIs in Silver Grey, Flesh, Golden Yellow, Burnt Sienna, and White over top Indigo and Tuscan Red Prismacolor Art Stix.

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Channeled my inner Sinead O’Connor for this one. I was feeling a bit… angsty and started scribbling words over top of words with a General’s 6B charcoal pencil in what would become the forehead and jawline. The words along the cheekbone were done with carpenter’s pencil and the words in the lips and eyelid were done with Derwent Graphitint pencils in Port and Ocean Blue respectively.

I also used Liquitex Basics acrylic paint in black, applied with a palette knife to mask some of the writing a bit more. Daler Rowney FW black acrylic ink for the outlining, background wash, and some misting as seen below. Some various gesso highlights. I think that’s it.

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It’s been very freeing to do so many things outside of my usual styles, but I think I’m a little exhausted with faces. For now, it’s back to basics. I’ve rented some chick flicks and my collage stash is low, so I’ll be cutting and ripping and saving like a madwoman (and also indulging in Mr. Darcy daydreams).

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